Water Quality Projects Underway for the Dix River Watershed – The Interior Journal

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The nonprofit organization Bluegrass Greensource has awarded mini-grants for eight water quality projects for the Dix River watershed.

Grants go to nonprofit organizations and government entities in Boyle, Lincoln and Mercer counties. The money comes from the US EPA under the Clean Water Act, is administered by the Kentucky Division of Water, and distributed to local organizations.

Each year, Bluegrass Greensource designates a watershed area for mini-grants and anyone can apply. This year they are working to improve water quality in the Dix River watershed, its tributaries, the Kentucky River watershed and the Hinkston Creek watershed near Mount Sterling.

The main objective of the watershed improvement program is to reduce human and livestock faecal inputs into watercourses; strengthen stream banks to reduce erosion, sedimentation and nutrient loading in streams; and reduce other pollutants from urban and agricultural stormwater runoff.

Bluegrass Greensource Watershed Coordinator Chris Howard said, “Not only the Dix River, but many waterways in Kentucky and the United States are downright poor when it comes to high levels of nutrients, high levels pollutants; they are below standard in my opinion.

Another goal is to increase awareness of waterways and educate people to keep them clean. Grants can be used for public education, repairing buffer zones, conducting water quality tests to inform people of pollutants, among other things.

Eight projects are taking place during the year and must be completed by November. They are the following:

• Lincoln County Tax Court is carrying out a signage improvement project at Logan-Hubble Park. Signs will talk about water quality on the Dix River and other safety information. They will include a map of the river, indicating access points for boats.

• Lincoln County will also tell people about a new city sewer system. The Lincoln County Sanitation Department will encourage the community to learn about the system and its benefits.

Bluegrass Greensource has other projects this year focused on septic systems. Howard said failing septic systems are a major cause of human waste entering water supplies. They will help homeowners near the Dix River watershed to have their septic tank repaired and pumped.

• Two grants were awarded to the non-profit organization CREEC, which is Clark’s Run Environmental Education Corporation. They will conduct a year-long water quality testing project for Clark’s Run Creek, which runs through Danville.

CREEC will visit Clark’s Run four times over the next year to test the waters at different locations. They’ll send samples to a lab for analysis, then come up with a plan to figure out where the pollutants are coming from.

• The other CREEC project is to improve the signage of the creek in Danville to make its location better known. They will put up signs where Clark’s Run crosses the road. Only one sign for Clark’s Run exists in Danville; it’s on South 4th Street before the bridge over the creek. The new signs will look like him.

• The Boyle County Extension office will create a waterfront demonstration area behind its offices in a drainage area of ​​Clark’s Run. A riparian buffer is plant vegetation on either side of a watercourse that helps maintain the bank and prevent it from further eroding.

The extension office will plant trees and other vegetation, then turn it into a demonstration area where farmers and locals can see how the vegetation can help save the banks of their waterways. Howard said if there is less plant life near a stream, the water will erode the bank each time it floods.

“But if you plant on each side, 15 to 30 feet of native plants, it will maintain that stream and it will actually improve the water quality because it will filter rainwater or whatever flows through the someone’s land; it will filter it before it enters the stream,” Howard said.

• Shaker Village is running a water quality testing project for grade 8 students. Students will go out on the riverboat at Shaker’s Landing to help test the water and learn about water quality. The program is primarily funded by Kentucky Utilities, but Bluegrass Greensource helps schools fund transportation to get kids to Shaker Village.

• The Boyle County 4H Youth Program is establishing a “Stream Team” to inspire local youth to become more involved in the waterways. The program will educate young people about planting on stream banks and conduct stream clean-ups.

“In my opinion, it could use a great public effort to clean up not just the River Dix, but all of its tributaries, and just continue the public effort to make small changes in their lives to lessen the impact on the waterways. “, Howard said.

The Dix River empties into Lake Herrington, where many people get their drinking water.

“These projects that focus on testing water quality and being able to say ‘this is what’s in the water that’s flowing into Lake Herrington’, I think those projects are very important,” Howard said.

Bluegrass Greensource formed in 2001 to help Central Kentucky residents understand that small changes in behavior can have a big impact on the environment. They provide environmental education, resources, and awareness that equips Central Kentucky residents with knowledge and tools to help ensure a clean, healthy, and enjoyable environment.

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