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Kentucky River at Sunset

Kentucky River Basin

KWRI’s location in the Kentucky River Basin and the Institute’s partnership with the Kentucky River Authority has fostered a long-standing connection to the basin. From assistance with water supply management to coordinating a volunteer water sampling network, KWRI has been intimately involved in understanding water resources in the basin and helping others with related questions or concerns.

Beginning in 1998, the Kentucky River Authority contracted with KWRI to fulfill its statutory mandate to “develop and implement comprehensive plans for protecting the water of the Kentucky River basin, and to collaborate with the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet and other state agencies in coordinating Kentucky River basin water resource and water quality activities.”

Kentucky River Basin Map

To satisfy this contractual agreement, KWRI supports Kentucky River Basin Coordinator.  The Coordinator:

  • Provides ongoing technical assistance to residents of the basin

  • Assists with the Watershed Watch sampling organization

  • Coordinates KRA’s Watershed Grant Program

  • Serves as a liaison to the Kentucky Division of Water and other agencies

  • Convenes a Kentucky River Basin Team for networking among water stakeholders


  • This volunteer water sampling organization coordinates regular monitoring events throughout the Kentucky River Basin.  Volunteer samplers are trained to analyze field chemistry (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity) and collect “grab samples” to be analyzed at certified labs for E. coli, nutrients, and metals. They are also provided with guidance to assess a stream’s habitat and biological conditions. Learn more here.

  • Since 2003, the Kentucky River Authority has provided funding support for this mini-grant program to enable water quality improvement efforts throughout the basin. Check out Kentucky River Authority Watershed Grants here.

  • This group of stakeholders from across the basin includes representatives from universities, government agencies, private industry, and local grassroots organizations.  The Team meets twice each year to discuss water quality issues and provide guidance and collaborative support for water-related projects. If you are interested in joining the Kentucky River Basin Team, please email Andrea Drayer, Kentucky River Basin Coordinator, at

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