What We Do

Kentucky Waterways Alliance what we do

State Map of KWA Work

Although we have our share of problems, Kentucky has some of the cleanest and healthiest waterways left in America. At Kentucky Waterways Alliance, it’s our job to keep it that way.

Our work is an investment in the future – so our children and their children can enjoy safe water to drink, family outings on the river or lake, and experience wildlife in their natural homes. It is also an investment in a healthy economy – because keeping pollution out of our waters in the first place is much cheaper than cleaning it up later.

With a mission to protect and restore Kentucky’s waterways, our work covers a broad range of water issues. In an attempt to simplify what we do, we have classified all of our work under the following categories:

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for any clarifications.Our work is made possible by our members, supporters and partners who are all working toward the same ultimate goal – healthy waterways and healthy communities in Kentucky.


Better protections for 90% of Kentucky’s waterways. In 2001, less than 2% of Kentucky’s waters received protection from new or increased pollution from permit discharges. As a result of our work to improve Kentucky’s regulations, the EPA estimates that over 90% of the state’s waterways receive protection from unnecessary new pollutants.
Protection of the Ohio River from increased pollution and the health of the people who use the river for recreation when we fought against changes that would have legalized increased levels of bacteria – and won.

Protection of the drinking water of nearly one million Kentuckians. By advocating with the Sierra Club, we forced changes to a new permit for the massive International Coal Group mountaintop removal coal mine in Leslie County that would have allowed the filling and destroying of nearly two miles of streams. This permit challenge also stopped any new valley fill permits from burying streams for over 1 year in Kentucky!

Protection of over 60 miles of streams and 2,000 acres of Kentucky’s wetlands when we worked to almost triple the number of Outstanding National Resource Waters in the Commonwealth.

KWA has had lots of success since we became an organization in 1993.  Read about our top 20 accomplishments in our first 20 years