Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Roundtable to center on watershed protection
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2006) - Every Kentuckian - 4.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau - lives in one and relies on it as the sole source of water. But most are not aware of its existence. "It" is a watershed, and there are 12 major watersheds in Kentucky.
Watersheds - areas in which all water running off the land drains to a specific creek, river system or body of water - are affected by pollution, erosion and development. Protecting our creeks, streams and rivers at the watershed level is the focus of a roundtable Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission building in Fort Mitchell. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m.
The roundtable is sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) and will feature presentations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Watershed protection identifies and targets the most significant threats to water quality," EPPC Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher said. "Conventional water quality initiatives are more narrowly focused, while a watershed approach manages pollution on a prioritized basis. Managing water resources on a watershed basis makes sense environmentally, financially and socially."
A 1991 EPA report, and subsequent EPA reports and handbooks, spell out essential elements and opportunities for watershed protection. In recent years, the watershed protection approach has been proposed as an opportunity to address complex water quality and water supply problems.
Benjamin H. Grumbles, the EPA’s assistant administrator for water, will give an overview of the watershed protection approach. He will also discuss current trends in watershed protection, setting priorities and goals, the role of incentives and will participate in the roundtable discussion.
"EPA appreciates Kentucky’s leadership in accelerating watershed protection and sustainability through innovation and collaboration," Grumbles said. "We’re excited about the Commonwealth’s efforts and believe they can become a national model for restoring, protecting and sustaining watersheds across America."
Other federal, state and local officials, municipalities and representatives of environmental organizations have been invited to join in the roundtable.
EPPC has entered into consent decrees in federal court with the Metropolitan Sewer District in Louisville and Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1) in northern Kentucky to address the issue of water quality impairments in combined sewer system communities. The two settlements will address more than half of the combined sewer overflows in Kentucky.
The SD1 settlement is significant because it marks the first time that all overflows have been incorporated into holistic watershed planning and implementation.