Success Stories

Over the years, Watershed Watch samplers have used the knowledge and information they have gained to lead broader water quality efforts in their respective communities. These have ranged from forming organized water-focused non-profit groups to streamside tree plantings to stream cleanups to major storm and sanitary sewer improvements, and more. Below, you will find descriptions of some of these success stories!

We want to add to this page and learn more about how our members have put their water quality knowledge to work. If you would like to add your Watershed Watch-inspired success story, click here!

friends of wolf run, Kentucky River Basin

Watershed Watch samplers have been collecting water quality data from Fayette County's Wolf Run and its tributaries since 1997. Building on their knowledge, they organized the Friends of Wolf Run organization in 2005 to better utilize their findings for improving stream conditions.

As a 501c non-profit entity, they have successfully obtained numerous grants to pursue watershed initiatives--from tree plantings, erosion control measures along streambanks. The following is a partial listing of some of their main accomplishments. This group still meets regularly and actively works with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and other partners to address water quality concerns.

  • 2005 - Kentucky River Authority Watershed Grant supports start-up costs for 501c3 organization

  • 2006, 2009 and 2010 - follow-up grants from Kentucky River Authority to carry out various water quality management projects, including encouraging best lawn care practices and restoration and preservation of vegetated stream buffers (riparian buffers)

  • 2010 - focused sources tracking sampling for bacteria to identify likely sources to waterways

  • 2011 - 2014 - USEPA 319h Nonpoint Source Grants awarded through Kentucky Division of Water to develop a detailed watershed plan and implement its recommendations. Projects included measures to better manage stormwater runoff in the watershed.

  • Present - Friends of Wolf Run continues to sample actively, meet regularly, and host various social and community service events that focus on improving their creek of interest!

Chestnut CReek, Four Rivers Basin

Four Rivers Watershed Watch volunteers have been integral to the formation and implementation of KY Division of Water's Watershed-based Plan (WBP) in the Chestnut Creek watershed.

Historical data from FRWW monitoring sites in Chestnut Creek have led to a tremendous amount of success with landowners willing to implement best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality.

In 2020, 15,000 feet of fencing, water lines, and 8 concrete pads with 300-gallon water troughs were installed to keep cattle out of Chestnut and Peter Creek. There were also two successful septic replacements and six septic pump-outs provided to homeowners in the watershed.

Kenlake marina, four rivers basin

Targeted bacterial sampling by Four Rivers Watershed Watch volunteers at Kenlake Marina and Buzzard Rock led to the two marinas installing pump-out stations for boats. Volunteers are still actively sampling several marinas.

Licking river cleanup, Licking river basin

Barth Johnson has a love affair with the Licking River and has been sponsoring tire sweeps on the Licking for several years. On August 29, 2019, Barth arranged for a tire cleanup on the Licking from Thaxton’s Canoe and Paddler’s Inn at US 27 to Butler in Pendleton County. Four canoes were provided by Thaxton’s Canoe and Paddler’s Inn for six intrepid volunteers. Barth provided the digging tools, mainly grub hoes and picks. It was a pleasant day, but water was scheduled to be released at Cave Run Lake and we had to be watchful for any rapid rise in the river. Collecting the tires proved to be lots of hard digging and dirty work. However, by the time we had reached Butler, we’d collected 46 tires, 3 bags of garbage and assorted metal junk. The tires and junk had to be pulled up a steep bank in Butler with a line attached to a truck where it was to be picked up by Pendleton County and recycled.

Barth has been sponsoring these river cleanups for several years and usually has UK students providing much of the manpower. In 2019 Barth said they had collected 585 tires and in 2020, 703 tires. While not an official project of the Licking Watershed Watch, we’ve been participants and look forward to future cruises helping to keep our river running clean.