The Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) recently took part in a celebration of the official public release of a new volunteer Water Quality Data Portal.
On board the Kentucky River Thorobred, Kentucky State University’s research and education boat, a panel of speakers talked about the importance of water quality and information sharing while touring the Kentucky River.
Speakers included a variety of scientists and state environmental leaders including KDOW Director Peter Goodmann, Jerry Weisenfluh (Interim State Geologist and Director, Kentucky Geological Survey), Jerry Graves (Director, Kentucky River Authority) and Blaine Early (Chair, Watershed Watch in Kentucky).
The panelists spoke about the importance of the Watershed Watch organization as an educational tool for the state’s citizens to learn about water health and understand the importance of watershed management.
They also discussed how the volunteer Water Quality Data Portal makes information about water health easily available and accessible for everyone.
Peter Goodmann elaborated on this theme, explaining that Watershed Watch was “created to get citizens into local streams and learn first hand about the condition of their streams, and this new tool allows them to easily find and understand water quality data.”
The KDOW is a founding member of Watershed Watch in Kentucky (WWKY), a nonprofit organization started as a statewide citizens monitoring effort to improve and protect water quality by raising community awareness, and supporting implementation of the goals of the Clean Water Act and other water quality initiatives.
Across the state, more than 900 WWKY volunteers are collecting information about the health of about 1,100 streams. In 2012, the KDOW awarded a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Pollution Implementation Grant to WWKY to support training and provide technical assistance and data management to Watershed Watch programs.
Through this grant, KDOW worked with WWKY, the Kentucky Geological Survey, and the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Kentucky to develop the new volunteer Water Quality Data Portal to maintain standardized data for entire state, and present data in a format easily understandable for volunteers and citizens.
Through the Portal, users can find water health information by searching the map, or by entering stream name, watershed or county. Results over time can be displayed in charts and graphs, or the data can be downloaded in a spreadsheet format. The new volunteer Water Quality Data Portal can be found on the web at: http://kgs.uky.edu/wwky/