About Us

Mission: We support water quality monitoring that informs, connects, and empowers volunteers and their communities for the improvement and protection of Kentucky's water resources.

The Kentucky Watershed Watch organization was formed in 1997 to support community engagement in the state's water quality program.  It has continued to serve as a helpful outlet for those with a special interest in Kentucky's natural waterways to remain engaged in learning about water quality and ways to help preserve and protect it. 

Our statewide nonprofit organization includes hundreds of volunteers who live across Kentucky and give their time to regularly monitor water quality.  By monitoring streams where state agencies do not have the staff or funding resources to visit, their contributions help supplement our understanding of Kentucky stream health.

Kentucky Watershed Watch was formed in 1997 through a collaborative venture by the Kentucky Division of Water, the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club and Kentucky Waterways Alliance.  The volunteer water monitoring organization's mission is to "support water quality monitoring that informs, connects, and empowers volunteers and their communities for the improvement and protection of Kentucky's water resources.'"

Watershed Watch activities include:

Over the past 20 years, Watershed Watch has trained nearly 4,500 citizen scientists to collect scientifically valid data that can be used to improve waterways in Kentucky. Watershed Watch volunteers have monitored over 1,100 sites across Kentucky. Because of these volunteer efforts, many watershed advocacy groups have formed across the state that actively work to address water quality issues by securing funding from numerous different sources for on-the-ground practices to improve water quality, raising awareness about water quality issues through outreach events, and meeting with local officials to improve policies related to water quality. Millions of dollars have been invested in Kentucky’s water resources because of volunteer efforts. 

Watershed Watch Success Stories

Clarks Run, Boyle County

Watershed Watch interest in Clarks Run grew into a broader effort that received USEPA 319h funding for the development of a formal watershed plan. The CREEC organization continues to provide community education, local outreach, and coordination of community projects. Additionally, multiple grants have been awarded to CREEC, the City of Danville, and others to carry out watershed plan recommendations to improve the creek.

Clarks Run and Lees Creek, Mason County

Several projects have come about in Mason County due to sampler support and the interest of the Mason County Conservation District. An educational grant was used to provide student education about water quality in Clark's Run of the North Fork Licking River. And, Lee's Creek of the Licking River was selected as a USDA focus conservation project area, which enabled significant funding to help farmers reduce sediment and bacteria entering the streams using various conservation practices.

North Fork Kentucky River, Letcher County

Years of volunteer sampling and the presence of the local Headwaters organization enabled the 2020 completion of a watershed plan for three subwatersheds of the North Fork. This plan is now being utilized as a framework by community interests to further engage local residents in pursuing water quality improvements and recreational opportunities.

Red River, Estill/Powell/Wolfe Counties

The U.S. Forest Service and Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) helped Watershed Watch samplers, members of the Friends of Red River, and other partners to further sample the upper reaches of the Red River and develop a watershed plan.  The recommendations of this plan are now being carried out with the leadership of KWA and local partners. An annual Wild & Scenic Red RiverFest celebrates the river's status as the only nationally designated Wild and Scenic River in Kentucky and helps build awareness and enthusiasm for appreciating and protecting this special waterway.

West Hickman Creek, Fayette County

Intensive sampling by Lexington and Watershed Watch's volunteer samplers enabled a city-funded watershed plan that spurred the formation of the Hickman Creek Conservancy.  This plan used an online community feedback tool to collect management recommendations for improving water quality in West Hickman Creek. The Conservancy partners with those who are interested in cleanups, planting efforts, and streambank stabilization and restoration efforts. 

Wolf Run Watershed, Fayette County

Wolf Run is one of the first and most successful examples of volunteer-led studies and improvements to a Kentucky waterway.  The Friends of Wolf Run continues to track threats to the creek, coordinate service projects, and have some fun along the way! They have been extremely successful in garnering funding support for various stormwater improvement projects from the USEPA, Kentucky Division of Water, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and have many local partners who support their efforts.