Kentucky River Basin Asessment Report

Sturgeon Creek

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Geography. The Sturgeon Creek watershed covers eastern Jackson County, western Owsley County, and southern Lee County. The land is in the escarpment and plateau areas of the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field physiographic region, characterized by rolling to hilly terrain, medium to very rapid surface runoff, and slow to medium groundwater drainage. The watershed is underlain by coals, sandstones, and shales: this geology is generally conducive to productive wells, although water quality may be low for wells that draw from coal layers. Parts of the watershed lie over easily weathered clay shales that store water but allow little groundwater flow.

Waterways. Sturgeon Creek empties into the Kentucky River at Heidelberg. Among the creeks that feed it are Herd Fork, Brushy Creek, Wild Dog Creek, Granny Dismal Creek, Upper Sinking Creek, Grassy Fork, Rowlette Branch, Little Sturgeon Creek, Elk Lick, and Duck Branch.

Land and water use. Land in the watershed is three-fourths rural and wooded and about 20% agricultural. No businesses or organizations hold permits for discharges into the creeks. See tables for details.

Agency data assessment. The assessed creek segments in this watershed fully support their designated uses, based on biological and/or water-quality data. 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 Sturgeon Creek were elevated enough to cause potential nutrient enrichment problems (0.1 mg/L). Data also show elevated chromium.


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.)

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