May 27, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson
RICHMOND, Ky.

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agents are trying to make implementing water quality plans as easy to understand as possible. Recently agents took a tour of a project in Madison County known as a model for stream restoration and stream bank stabilization.

Muddy Creek was listed as an impaired stream, and the project has sought to reduce stream contaminants. The Muddy Creek Project is a partnership between Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Nature Conservancy, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and others. These partners have had success in limiting livestock access to streams, installing alternative watering systems and conducting volunteer tree planting events.

Agents visited the stabilization site and interacted with the project coordinator and local landowners, and gained information for replicating such a project in their own counties.

"I wanted our agents to see the partnership effort and the actual implementation of some best management practices," said Amanda Abnee, UK Extension associate for environmental and natural resources. "I want them to see what the project has done to bring in money from a variety of sources - mostly cost-share programs - which landowners are able to apply for."

Abnee said the programs are structured in a way that is affordable for landowners and helps them limit livestock access to streams.

"One of our biggest challenges is keeping livestock out of streams," she said. "Livestock in the streams causes a lot of water pollution problems; they aren't the only source but it's a problem we can do something about."

Since 2001, landowners with more than 10 acres involved in agriculture or silviculture have been required to file and implement a water quality plan addressing best management practices. Extension agents are equipped to help landowners create a plan and show them ways to implement it.

Later this fall, the UK College of Agriculture will host Extension professionals from the southern United States during the Southern Region Extension Water Quality Conference. Participants in this conference will tour Muddy Creek and other areas.

Abnee said landowners and others who want to know more can read a UK Cooperative Extension publication entitled "Living Along a Kentucky Stream." The publication is a practical guide for landowners with streams on or near their property. It provides simple dos and don'ts for maintaining healthy streams and being a good stream steward. The publication is available online at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ip/ip73/ip73.pdf. Accompanying teaching guides have been developed for use with small groups and are available at http://www.ca.uky.edu/enri/kwam2004.htm.

For more information or to request hard copies of this publication, contact Abnee at 859-257-6094.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee Nielson  859-257-4736, ext. 267