The efficient utilization of federal funds in improving the water quality and aquatic habitat of the region requires a mechanism for assessing and evaluating the impacts of the proposed and ongoing projects as well as some mechanism for prioritizing the allocation of additional funds. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of these projects it is important to provide a formal monitoring and assessment program based on sound scientific principles. This report provides an initial 10 year baseline assessment of the existing water quality conditions in the 40 county PRIDE region for the purpose of evaluating the impacts of the PRIDE programs in the region and the extent to which such programs are satisfying their stated objectives of cleaning up the region's rivers and streams. A general assessment of the associated environmental problems and programs in the region can be found in the companion reports: PRIDE Water Quality Assessment Report I: Problems and Programs while recommendations for additional monitoring station locations is provided in PRIDE Water Quality Assessment Report III: Existing and Proposed Monitoring Network.
Because of the spatial and cumulative impacts of multiple projects within a region, it is best that project impacts be evaluated on a composite or watershed basis. In using such an approach, it is important that an appropriate assessment scale be selected that maintains a balance between the ability to quantify the impacts of local projects and the ability to effectively monitor a larger number of sites. In consideration of both issues, the various projects within the PRIDE counties were evaluated both on a county basis and on an 8-digit watershed basis. In order to evaluate the water quality conditions in the PRIDE region, some type of assessment parameters are required. In general, such assessment parameters may be subdivided into nutrient, chemical, biological, and habitat parameters. For this study, these parameters included measurements of ammonia, total phosphorus, pH, fecal coliform, macro-invertebrates, and general aquatic habitat. A summary of the later four parameters is provided in the report PRIDE Water Quality Assessment Report II: Chemical, Biological, and Habitat Assessments. A summary of the ammonia and phosphorus parameters is provided in this report.
In an attempt to provide a historical baseline of nutrient data in the region, a data query of the EPA STORET and USGS Water Quality databases were performed for those counties within the PRIDE region. These data were augmented by samples as collected by the Kentucky Watershed Watch Program.
Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, University of Kentucky, "PRIDE Water Quality Assessment Report: IV. Nutrient Assessment" (2001). KWRRI Research Reports. 196.