Horse Lick Creek is a 62-square mile watershed that covers parts of Jackson and Rockcastle counties in southeastern Kentucky. There are many species of mussels in this swiftly flowing stream. The watershed’s numerous caves and clifflines are home to a number of endangered species including bats and cave invertebrates. The healthy populations of these species make Horse Lick Creek one of the premier sites for the protection of biological diversity on the western slope of the Appalachians. Even so, sections of Horse Lick Creek have been significantly impacted over the years by mining and poor agricultural practices.
Horse Lick Creek is a special area of focus in the Rockcastle River Watershed. Much progress has been made in recent years to preserve the biological integrity of the creek, but much remains to be done to permanently protect this jewel of the Appalachians.
Photo Location: Horse Lick Creek. Credit: Jim Hays.