GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 245-7
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


CURL, Douglas C., Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0107 and EVANS, Steven J., Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, University of Kentucky, 233 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0107

In 1997, the Kentucky Division of Water launched its watershed management framework. This framework was a means to coordinate and integrate stakeholder groups, including volunteers, in the protection and restoration of the waterways in Kentucky. Also in 1997, Watershed Watch in Kentucky, was initiated as a nonprofit focused on citizen monitoring and action. Since that time, Watershed Watch has trained nearly 4,500 volunteers, and currently approximately 2,000 volunteers continue to sample across the state.

Volunteers learn how to take a qualified water sample that is analyzed by professional labs. They also learn how to measure basic water-quality field data, consisting of dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and conductivity. The most common lab analysis is for E. coli (bacteria), but water samples may also be analyzed for metals, nutrients, and pesticides. The data for these results are compiled into a database that is stored at the Kentucky Geological Survey, and results are disseminated from this database through a web portal hosted by KGS.

Watershed Watch in Kentucky also encourages and trains volunteers to fully understand the implications of their findings, and to take action to improve their waterways. A hurdle for volunteers is having ready access to their sampling results and having a means to communicate those results in a scientific, yet understandable manner. The web portal provides access to the data, but visualization of results is still a challenge.

Recently, the Science Advisory Council for Watershed Watch in Kentucky developed a routine to aggregate E. coli and field results to grade small Hydrologic Unit Code 10 (HUC10) water basins or results from a sampling site for a given period. Most lay users understand a simple grading system, and this routine will generate a five-scale (A through F) grade for each qualified HUC10 basin and water sampling site. This routine has been applied to an interactive map service, which allows users to quickly view the E. coli grade for HUC 10 basins for a selected year. The algorithm for grading basins and sites was applied to an interactive map developed with Esri ArcGIS Server and the ArcGIS Javascript API.