The Cane Run Watershed Project also works with stakeholders to affect changes on a large scale. So far, these efforts have resulted in a change in thinking at the corporate level, as entities in the watershed have taken a more “go green” approach to land management. Projects at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexmark International, and UK’s Agriculture Experiment Station have led to a greater awareness that streamside buffers can be aesthetically pleasing. These and other large stakeholders have also cooperated to install signage near the stream, along the Legacy Trail, and near various BMP implementation projects during and after construction, resulting in an increased awareness of the stream, the watershed, and improvement projects.
Kentucky Horse Park Riparian Buffer Planting
In preparation for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Horse Park partnered with the University of Kentucky to protect water quality along Cane Run. A landscape planting along a tributary to Cane Run was created with trees, shrubs and wildflowers. This stream buffer serves as both a visual enhancement to the property as well as a water quality Best Management Practice (BMP). The plants along the creek make good use of excess nutrients in the soil and water. As the plants grow and develop, the dense system of roots will also hold the soil together and reduce erosion. By creating a vegetated buffer, the plants help to filter pollutants from surface runoff before they enter the creek. The dense canopy of trees and shrubs also provide both shade help to keep the water cool and shelter to improve aquatic habitat.
Student Watershed Education
- In July 2009, 55 Robinson Scholars toured the Cane Run watershed and spent four days learning about the watershed. To see the press release written by the students regarding the project, click here.
- The Southern Region 4-H2O Ambassador Program is currently being piloted in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. In Kentucky, one pilot location is Russell Cave Elementary in Fayette County, where many of the students live in the Cane Run Watershed. In September, 2009, all Russell Cave Elementary 5th graders attended a 2-day, 1-night 4-H2O Camp and used Cane Run as a case study. The students learned about watersheds, stormwater pollutants and watershed stewardship. Currently, the class is planning a community service project to implement in the Cane Run Watershed.
- In 2010, 32 Russell Cave Elementary 5th graders toured the Cane Run Watershed and participated in a clean-up event along Cane Run. To learn more about what they found, click here. Students also developed a brochure on watershed basics and took it to the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.
- In 2011, Bryan Station High School students enrolled in the AP Environmental Science course toured the Cane Run Watershed and explored water quality by conducting basic water sampling and stream assessments. This participation by Bryan Station High School has led to the development of additional involvement with AP Environmental Science students planned for the 2012-2013 school year.
Working with the Cane Run Watershed Council, the project has conducted two watershed festivals in the Cane Run Watershed. In 2010, the festival was at Green Acres Park, and over 300 people attended. In 2011, Castlewood Park hosted the festival, and nearly 250 people attended. These festivals featured workshops and speakers that educated attendees on what a watershed is and how everyone can take steps to improve water quality by picking up after pets, not littering, using fewer pesticides, and installing rain barrels.
Watershed Tours and Workshops
Cane Run Watershed Project staff give watershed tours and workshops for professional, academic, and student groups. Professional audiences for watershed tours have included KY Association of Conservation Districts, US EPA, NRCS, and KY Division of Water personnel, county Extension agents, the National Exotic Pest Plant Council, and university sustainability coordinators. Three agriculture best management practice and stream buffer restoration workshops have been conducted for engineers, landscape architects, county Extension agents, KY Division of Water personnel, and other watershed professionals. Additional tours have been conducted annually for UK sustainable agriculture and natural resources courses, garden clubs, and high school students.