Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Silver Creek

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OVERVIEW

Geography. The Silver Creek watershed covers much of southern Madison County. Most of the upper reaches of the watershed lie in the outer subregion of the Bluegrass physiographic region, characterized by undulating terrain, moderate to rapid surface runoff, and moderate rates of groundwater drainage. The southernmost section (around Berea) is part of the Knobs region, characterized by hilly terrain, very rapid surface runoff, and very slow groundwater drainage. In level parts of the Knobs, runoff and groundwater drainage are slow. The lower part of the watershed is in the hills of the bluegrass subregion of the Bluegrass physiographic region, characterized by hilly terrain, very rapid surface runoff, and slow groundwater drainage. Parts of the watershed lie over interbedded shales and limestones (these are 20% limestone; water conduction is poor because of the clay content of the shale). Other areas are underlain by interbedded limestones and shales (>20% limestone, allowing groundwater flow where the clay content is low enough).

Waterways. Silver Creek empties into the Kentucky River near the western corner of Madison County. Among the creeks that feed it are Terrill Branch, Brushy Fork, Hays Fork, Harts Fork, Elk Garden Branch, Taylor Fork, Bogie Branch, and Jackson Branch.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is more than 75% agricultural, about 15% rural and wooded, and about 7% residential or commercial. The surface waters of the watershed supply drinking water for the Berea College system. Thirteen businesses and organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed waters in this watershed include four that do not support some or all of their designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. One is designated threatened. Pathogens and siltation from agricultural activities, septic tanks, and municipal point sources contribute to the impairment of these streams. See tables for details.

Watershed rankings. The ranking formula provides a preliminary ranking by synthesizing a broad spectrum of watershed characteristics, current conditions, and threats. This watershed ranks in the group with a moderate need for protection and/or restoration. This rating is for the watershed on average: particular sites and particular waters within the watershed may vary widely. See tables for details.

Volunteer data. Phosphorus levels at one of the two volunteer monitoring sites on Silver Creek were elevated enough to cause potential nutrient enrichment problems (> 0.1 mg/L). See tables for details.

TABLES

Click here to view tables for this watershed, in PDF format. These tables include land-use characteristics, designated uses, stream assessments, public water supply and water withdrawal sites, permitted discharge sites, gaging and sampling sites, volunteer data, and values for the 35 indicators used in calculating watershed rankings. (You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the tables: Adobe Systems will let you download a free copy.)

MAPS                    [You may click the maps below to view them close up.]

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