Summary of biological investigations relating to surface-water quality in the Kentucky River basin, Kentucky

Water-Resources Investigations Report 90-4051
By:  and 



The Kentucky River basin, an area of approximately 7,000 sq mi, is divided into five hydrologic units that drain parts of three physiographic regions. Data on aquatic biological resources were collected and reviewed to assess conditions in the major streams for which data were available. The North, Middle, and South Forks of the Kentucky River are in the Eastern Coal Field physiographic region. Streams in this region are affected by drainage from coal mines and oil and gas operations, and many support only tolerant biotic stream forms. The Kentucky River from the confluence of the three forks to the Red River, is in the Knobs physiographic region. Oil and gas production operations and point discharges from municipalities have affected many streams in this region. The Red River, a Kentucky Wild River, supported a unique flora and fauna but accelerated sedimentation has eliminated many species of mussels. The Millers Creek drainage is affected by brines discharged from oil and gas operations, and some reaches support only halophilic algae and a few fish. The Kentucky River from the Red River to the Ohio River is in the Bluegrass physiographic region. Heavy sediment loads and sewage effluent from urban centers have limited the aquatic biota in this region. Silver Creek and South Elkhorn Creek have been particularly affected and aquatic communities in these streams are dominated by organisms tolerant of low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Biological data for other streams indicate that habitat and water quality conditions are favorable for most commonly occurring aquatic organisms. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Summary of biological investigations relating to surface-water quality in the Kentucky River basin, Kentucky
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 90-4051
DOI 10.3133/wri904051
Edition -
Year Published 1990
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports [distributor],
Description iv, 63 p. :ill. ;28 cm.
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