News Release: River Assessment Monitoring Project

For Immediate Release

Let us gather at the river would be an appropriate tune for high school students across western Kentucky who are participating in a regional water quality monitoring project sponsored by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet's Department for Environmental Protection on lower Cumberland and Tradewater Rivers

The agency will recruit high school science teachers and students to conduct a one time sampling of streams at 30 points in the 10 county watershed. Collected samples will then be analyzed by chemists from the Division of Environmental Services. Science students will then be asked to interpret and report the data as part of a continuing education program.

"Our goal is to introduce science students to the methods of environmental analysis." said Bill Davis, Director of the Division of Environmental Services, the laboratory arm of the Environmental Protection Department. "We hope to focus their attention on conditions in the stream and get them ready to be wise managers of their water resources once they finish school"

Invitations were sent to the high schools in the 10 county area to participate in the project. Science teachers and students from each high school selected will attend a two hour training workshop where background materials and sampling collection techniques will be covered. The training workshops will be held 3:30 pm October 15 at the UK Agricultural Research Center in Princeton, KY.

All volunteer participants will be asked to take their samples on Tuesday morning October 22nd between 8:30 and 10:00 am at their selected sites. Departmental personnel will drive to designated collection points and pick up the samples to return to the Frankfort Lab.

After the laboratory completes the analysis, the raw data will then be turned back over to the participating science students who will be asked to draw conclusions and make specific recommendations about the water quality in the river basin. Their reports will then be given to officials with the Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies for potential review and action.

"By learning the proper technique for collecting samples, analytical methods and dealing with the resulting data, students will be gaining first hand experience in making assessments of a critical natural resource." Davis said.

The Tradewater and Lower Cumberland Basins were chosen for the study to focus on mining, agricultural and urban impacts on area streams. Other river basins have been studied in the past with this program. Counties covered in the project include: Hopkins, Christian, Caldwell, Lyon, Union, Trigg, Crittenden, Webster, Todd and Logan.

The items the Lab will be testing for include: Alkalinity, Ammonia, Chlorides, Conductivity, Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Fluoride, Hardness, Iron, Manganese, Nitrates, pH, Total Phosphorus, Total Organic Carbon, and Dissolved Oxygen at selected sites.