National Water Quality Initiative

Help for Lower Gunpowder Creek

The Clean Water Act of 1972 proclaims that states assess and document the quality of their waterways every two years. Each waterway identified is required to be given a designation based on its main intended use (e.g. drinking water and recreation). Ultimately, this led to the development of watershed assessments and planning that are used to determine and manage the health of a stream, river, or lake based on its designated use.

BCCDKY and partner agencies worked to identify waterways that have been severely impacted by an excess of sediment, nutrients, and pathogens. Gunpowder Creek has been deemed an impaired waterway by the Kentucky Division of Water, meaning it no longer meets its recreational designation. Because of this, BCCDKY and many other partners have helped establish the Gunpowder Creek Watershed Initiative (GCWI) over the past eight years. The stream’s degradation has been linked to the rapid urban development of its headwaters as the county continues to grow at an expanding rate. Through the creation of the Gunpowder Creek Watershed Plan, excess sediment, nutrients, and pathogens have been identified from a number of point and non-point sources. Upstream, efforts to retrofit existing infrastructure are already underway. However, the more rural, agriculturally dominated lower reaches became the focus area for a new pilot project by the State of Kentucky, the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). The goal of the NWQI was to provide funding and technical assistance to individual landowners and agriculture producers. This voluntary act of the landowners and producers will reduce the amount of contaminants washing from their lands, improving Gunpowder Creek’s water quality and reestablishing its recreational benefits.