Citizen Action Planning

Ten things you can do now that you have water quality findings!

#1        Work with other samplers in your area to better understand data and publicize efforts.

#2        Use data portal to find and compile results, create interpretive maps.

#3        Contact Kentucky River Basin Coordinator to find out if additional water quality data is available through Kentucky Division of Water or other sources.

#4        Put together a summary of findings for local leaders and community groups and take them out for a creek walk.

#5        Contact newspaper about developing a special interest story on local stream, river.

#6        If issues are identified, work with others in your community to determine potential causes.

  • If agricultural in nature, contact local NRCS or Soil Conservation District to discuss and try to find possible solutions.
  • If stormwater-related, contact city or county engineer to discuss possible measures to better manage urban runoff.
  • If septic-related, contact local health department about issues and how they can possibly be addressed.
  • If sewer-related, contact local sewer district or city manager or engineer to discuss leak detection and other methods of further investigation.

#7        Form a “Friends of _____________ Creek” group to strengthen efforts.

#8        Work with others to pursue funding donations or grants for water improvement projects.  Kentucky River Authority Watershed Grants are a great place to start! 

#9        Work with your local drinking water provider as a potential partner.  They want to protect their water source too!

#10      Use principles of Community-Based Social Marketing to deliver message and gain collaboration.  Read Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community Based Social Marketing.

KRWW encourages local watershed groups to develop Citizen Action Plans, or CAPs.

These plans serve as a tool to turn water quality data into action by providing guidance for appropriate and effective efforts to improve the water quality of a particular stream or watershed. After making an assessment of the needs of the watershed, volunteer monitors identify action that they will take to address the watershed needs.

The County Summary Reports are a first step in developing a Citizen Action Plan for your watershed of interest.  They are a useful tool for initiating local discussion about water quality status, pollutants of concern, likely sources, and ways to reduce pollutant inputs.  KRWW board members are willing to assist samplers with taking the next step in further developing citizen action plans.  

If you would like assistance with creating a County or Watershed Summary Report, or with the further development of an action plan, please contact a KRWW board member today!

County reports include a listing of likely local partners for addressing various water quality issues.  These include the following:

Farming or Agricultural Assistance - Contact your County Conservation District.
Each county in Kentucky is represented by a local conservation district, consisting of 7 elected supervisors.  The conservation districts assist farmers with creating and implementing practices to protect soil and water quality.  The districts help conserve Kentucky's resources by helping local residents match their needs with technical and financial resources.  There are various cost-sharing programs available to assist farmers in acheiving water quality goals.  Farmers are also required to develop Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plans to guide their management of farm runoff.  The associated website provides helpful information and resources, including videos with farmers who are carrying out the recommended practices.

Septic System Assistance - Contact your County Health Department. 
Each county has a health department with a dedicated "Environmentalist" staff member who oversees septic system permitting and installation and follows up on citizen complaints about septic system issues.  These individuals are also knowledgeable about septic system function and maintenance and can help ensure that a system is working properly.

Stormwater (Runoff, Flooding, Erosion) Assistance - Contact your local Stormwater Engineer or Manager.
Some towns and cities have a person or department who oversees stormwater management in the community.  In the 1990's, certain urbanized areas were required to obtain permits for managing polluted stormwater runoff that is transported through municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), from which it is often discharged untreated into local streams, rivers and lakes.  These permits include various measures for minimizing impacts of stormwater runoff.  More information is available on the University of Kentucky's Cooperative Extension webpage at and on the Kentucky Division of Water's website at

Environmental Emergencies or Citizen Concerns - Contact Kentucky's Department for Environmental Protection or Division of Water.

For environmental emergencies, such as spills of gas, oil or other substances, contact the Environmental Response Team at 502-564-2380 or 1-800-928-2380 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).  

You may also contact the Division of Water (DOW) at 502-564-3410, or the Frankfort Regional Office at 502-564-3358, and inform the operator that you wish to report a concern or complaint. Please be prepared to explain the nature of the problem and give the location of the problem, including directions to the site. You do not have to give your name; however, if you wish DOW to either contact you during the investigation or provide you with the results of the investigation, you must leave your name and contact information.