Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Watershed Management In Kentucky

Kentucky boasts 40,409 square miles of surface water in 13 major drainage basins. Kentucky’s water serves over four million residents and countless others, as Kentucky has 849 miles of river bordering other states. With 55% of the state underlain by karst topography, watershed management in Kentucky is important both on the surface and underground.

The Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) is the primary state agency charged with protecting and managing Kentucky’s water resources. KDOW is a lead agency in Kentucky’s Clean Water Action Plan, which is in response to the President’s 1998 Clean Water Action Plan vision of watershed restoration and protection through cooperative approaches. Watershed coordinators in each basin execute the Kentucky Watershed Management Framework.


Conditions in Kentucky

The KDOW and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide information on the conditions of Kentucky’s water resources, including impaired waters and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

Resources and Programs

The concept of watershed management has become increasingly prevalent in statewide programs over the past decades. Statewide research has given insight into the dynamics of a watershed, while extension programs have taken the mystery out of watersheds by presenting information on identifying and managing the watershed in which we live. Watershed perspectives have been implemented in various courses at the University of Kentucky (UK), which will encourage a new generation of watershed management. Outreach programs through the UK College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program address a variety of water-related topics. The outreach programs are based upon the latest research findings and assist individuals in protecting their personal water supplies and the water resources of the state.

Texas A&M University has established programs designed to provide watershed management assistance. Below are some key links to information and resources available to assist you.

Extension Outreach

The UK College of Agriculture is home to the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. The Cooperative Extension Service offers a variety of programs related to watershed management, often in cooperation with the Cooperative Extension Program at Kentucky State University. Major programs focused on watershed management are described below.

Scientific Research

College and University Education

The University of Kentucky offers multiple courses that explore the theme of watershed management. These courses are offered in the following departments:

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