The total area of the Green/Tradewater River Basin is 11,500 square miles, including 410 square miles in Tennessee. More than one-fouth of Kentucky lies in the basin, including all or parts of 35 Kentucky counties. The basin contains nearly 23,600 miles of streams, including 1,580 miles in Tennessee. The Green River Basin contains over 9,230 square miles, including 410 square miles in Tennessee.
From an elevation of 1,384 feet on a ridge in Lincoln County, water flows west 385 miles down the Green River to its confluence with the Ohio River east of Henderson at an elevation of 342 feet. From an elevation of 710 feet on a ridge in Christian County, water flows north 135 miles down the Tradewater River to its confluence with the Ohio River on the Crittenden-Union County line at an elevation of 324 feet.
Residents of the Green/Tradewater Basin draw about 88 million gallons of water per day from streams and reservoirs in the basin. On average, about 7,160 million gallons per day (mgd) flow out of the Green River Basin, and 725 mgd from the Tradewater. About once every 10 years, the flow will be less than 105 mgd in the Green and zero in the Tradewater for a week. This variability in flow affects water users and stream life.
More than 2,500 miles of assessed streams in the basin do not support designated uses for: warm-water aquatic habitat (45%), fish consumption (48%), primary contact recreation (61%), and secondary contact recreation (45%). Nearly 400 miles of streams have been declared special use waters: either exceptional waters or reference reach waters.
There are seven remediation priority watersheds including 960 square miles: primary impacts are habitat alterations, siltation, pathogens, atrazine, nutrients, and low dissolved oxygen, caused by agriculture, mining, and stream and habitat modifications.
Sixteen large man-made lakes in the basin total 32,000 acres with 760 miles of shoreline.
The world-famous Mammoth Cave National Park lies within the basin.
The Pennyroyal Region of the basin is an area of intense karst, characterized by sinkholes and underground flow with few surface streams.
Lock and Dam 1 at mile 9.1 and 2 at mile 63.1 allow river transportation up to the closed Lock and Dam 3 at mile 108.5.
Map and Chart 189
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Carey, Daniel I., "Green/Tradewater River Basin in Kentucky" (2009). Kentucky Geological Survey Map and Chart. 188.