KWRRI Research Reports


Samples of water, bottom fauna, and fishes were collected from 66 stations in the Salt River and one of its principal tributaries, the Beech Fork and its tributary, the Chaplin River, Kentucky. Precipitation ranged from 38.86 inches (1969) to 58.04 inches (1970), an increase of nearly 50 percent with marked fluctuations in discharge. Intensive comparisons of phosphates, sulfates, specific conductance, total alkalinity, total hardness, and turbidity showed the streams to be relatively clean and healthy. Nearly 300 different kinds of benthic organisms and other macroinvertebrates have been collected and identified from the basin. Detailed studies of caddisflies and stream drift are under way along with the development of computer programs for diversity indices of the various organisms. Twenty-eight species of bivalve mussels and representatives of six genera of snails have been collected including the Asiatic clam Corbicula mülleri. Among the vertebrates, 60 species of fishes have been collected and identified along with 22 amphibians and 21 reptiles. Nearly 150 species of birds have been identified in the area.

An economic study of Spencer County revealed that there has been a decrease in the human population along with a general decline in the overall economic picture of the county as indicated by a retarded rate of growth in annual per capita income and a decline in total retail sales within the county over the past decade. The highway system in the county consists of largely Class 4, 5, and 6 roads which, because of the topography, are generally narrow, crooked, and hilly. However, Spencer County is almost completely encircled by interstate highways within ten miles of its borders.

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Funding Information

The work on which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Resources Research, United States Department of the Interior, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.

This study could not have been undertaken without the cooperation and financial assistance of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Water Resources Research, afforded through the Water Resources Institute of the University of Kentucky.