Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Forestry (MF)

Document Type

Master's Thesis





First Advisor

Dr. Chris Barton


Runoff from livestock operations may contain a variety of pathogens and high levels of nutrients and other harmful contaminants, and is of particular concern in central Kentucky as watersheds are threatened by waste generated from a high concentration of equine activity. Rain gardens are a type of stormwater management tool used to capture and passively treat runoff. This project aimed to incorporate rain gardens into the horse muck storage structures at a thoroughbred facility in the Canr Run watershed in Lexington, Kentucky. Water quality data from soil water within two rain garden muck pads and two control pads, and grab samples from the stream were compared. No significant differences were observed, but trends revealed higher levels of nitrate and phosphate in rain gardens compared to controls, while total organic carbon and E. coli levels were lower in the rain gardens, suggesting that the rain gardens are trapping nutrients while reducing organic matter and killing bacteria. E. coli populations were lower in stream sample locations near rain garden muck pads compared to further downstream near controls. Management recommendations include further improvement of muck storage structures, replacing old muck pads, and changing management and housekeeping habits and attitudes towards environmental responsibility.