02-22-2012

Federal grant will help restore Lewis County stream

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT- The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission has been awarded a $342,881 federal grant to develop a sediment-focused watershed plan and stream restoration design for Kinniconick Creek in Lewis County. Northern Kentucky University Center for Applied Ecology will supply the $228,587 nonfederal match, for a total project cost of $571,468.

The commission was one of 11 communities and organizations around the state selected this year for funding for the development of watershed management plans and implementation of nonpoint source pollution controls.

Kinniconick Creek is 99 miles long, which is one mile short of achieving river status. From river mile 6 to its headwaters, the “Kinney,” as the locals call it, has been designated as an Outstanding State Resource Water for its scenic, recreational, fisheries and wildlife values. It provides habitat for one federally endangered specie and several state-listed species. Animals or plants are classified as endangered if they face extinction throughout all or a large part of their range, according to a press release from the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Despite its designation as an important waterbody, current land practices in and around the project area have led to degradation through increased sedimentation and bank erosion. Increased suspended sediments cause cloudiness in the water and make it difficult for sight-feeding fish and invertebrate species to catch food, hide from predators and reproduce. The suspended sediments also absorb energy from the sun, which inhibits plant photosynthesis and warms the water in the stream.

The goal of the Kinniconick project is to develop stream restoration conceptual design alternatives that will protect, enhance and improve the habitat and incorporate sustainable land use along the adjacent floodplain areas.

In order to reach these goals, the implementation plan will identify and quantify the nonpoint source pollution sources and cultivate landowner involvement to implement best management practices that will reduce sediment runoff.

Commissison Director Don Dott, Jr., said he hopes to use the project to demonstrate to other landowners in the watershed the value of conservation measures.