WWKY 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.
Watershed Watch in Kentucky is a statewide citizens monitoring effort to improve and protect water quality by raising community awareness and supporting implementation of the goals of the Clean Water Act and other water quality initiatives. Watershed Watch organizations across the state host training sessions for interested volunteers, educating them on water quality issues and proper sample collection methods, coordinate three volunteer sampling events per year, and present data to volunteers at an annual conference. Science advisors assist volunteers with interpretation of their data, and coordinate additional sampling efforts or citizen action as needed.
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 monitor nearly 1,100 sites across Kentucky on an annual basis. Because of these volunteer efforts, over 50 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.