KWRRI Research Reports


This report covers work that is an extension of Project No. A-019-KY. A series of 25 sampling stations was established in the mainstream and tributaries of the Salt River that extend from the source of the stream in Boyle County to a few miles below the site of Taylorsville Darn in Spencer County. Sampling for water chemistry and biota was carried out semimonthly. Data on temperature, oxygen, depth, and discharge, along with analyses for cations (Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn) and anions (PO4, NO3, NO2, CO3, HCO3) have been accumulated and analyzed. Bottom fauna, fishes, and plants have been sampled at each station and relative abundance and species composition of the biota have been made.

Physical and chemical data, along with flora and fauna taken from the stream present the characteristics of a relatively healthy ecosystem. Water temperatures reflect air temperatures closely and dissolved oxygen values are near saturation. Turbidity increased with runoff, the stream flow increasing rapidly during rainy periods and falling to a minimum during dry periods. Total alkalinities ranged from 135 to 210 mg/1 as CaCO3 with ranges in pH from 6.3 to 8.2. Nitrate nitrogen ranged from 2.0 to 11.3 mg/1 and orthophosphate from 0.25 to 2.78 mg/1. Iron and manganese ranged from 0.07 to 0.46 and 0.09 to 0.39 mg/1, respectively.

A total of 74 species of algae referable to 35 families were collected and identified. Green algae (Chlorophyta) were represented by 38 species, reflecting the contention that the Salt River is a relatively clean, oligosaprobic stream. More than 200 species of vascular plants referable to 50 families have been collected from the riparian vegetation. Bottom fauna includes 98 species of insects representing 8 orders and 42 families. Prominent among these are the 23 species of chironomids that have been identified to date, The most common crustaceans are Orconectes rusticus and Lirceus lineatus along with several species of Gammarus. Molluscs include gastropods, fingernail clams, and unionids. More than 50 species of fishes have been collected and will provide data for a preliminary report to be published in the open literature.

Plans include a further inventory of the fish population and continued study of the physiochemical and biological aspects of the stream ecosystem, The study of economic aspects of the area will continue at an accelerated pace.

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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.