Discussion from McGrain and Currens (1978)

Ballard County is one of the westernmost counties in Kentucky. It is part of the Mississippi Embayment area of western Kentucky. The Ohio River, which forms the northern and part of the western boundary of the county, joins the Mississippi River at Wickliffe. Mayfield Creek marks the southern boundary.

The topography of Ballard County ranges from nearly flat to moderately rolling. Floodplains along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are at elevations of 310 to 315 feet. There are no bluffs between the floodplain and the upland area in the northern part of the county, but bluffs are present along both the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from the vicinity of Barlow southward. The bluffs near Barlow are about 60 feet above the floodplain, and at Wickliffe as much as 150 feet above it. The greatest local relief is along the steep valley sides of Mayfield Creek in the south-central part of the county, where differences in elevation are as great as 180 feet.

Parts of the Ohio River floodplain have been designated as Barlow Bottoms and Oscar Bottoms. These areas, as much as 5 miles wide, are characterized by a number of north-south-oriented lakes, ponds, sloughs, and swamps, which mark the floodwater routes and channel changes of the Ohio River.

The highest part of Ballard County appears to be along the drainage divide between Massac Creek and Humphrey Branch in the eastern part of the county, where elevations in excess of 390 feet have been noted. A bench mark situated on Ky. 286, 3/4 mile west of the Ballard-McCracken County line, records an elevation of 495 feet. The lowest elevation is the Mississippi River at about 285 feet.

Elevations in various communities are Bandana, 354 feet; Barlow, 375 feet; Blandville, 467 feet; Kevil, 412 feet; La Center, 374 feet; Lovelaceville, 365 feet; Monkeys Eyebrow, 362 feet; Oscar, 355 feet; and Wickliffe, the county seat, 385 feet. Elevations in Ballard State Waterfowl Management Area in Oscar bottoms are between 310 and 320 feet.

The 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle maps that cover the county are shown, by name and by index code (Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet) on the index map.

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