Much of Sinking Creek is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Laurel County. This section of Sinking Creek is designated as a Kentucky Outstanding Resource Water because of endangered species. However, the upper portion of the watershed is becoming increasingly developed with small farms and subdivisions as well as commercial and industrial sites. Consequently, in this same area of the watershed, there are about five miles of streams that are impaired and do not support habitat for aquatic life. Some of the suspected sources of the impairments include pollution from runoff of agricultural and urban areas. Unfortunately these impairments could eventually impact the downstream mussel populations and water quality.
Through the Rockcastle River Program, Kentucky Waterways Alliance is taking an active role in this watershed by working with local, state and federal agencies to raise awareness of the need for the protection of Sinking Creek. The goal is to restore impaired aquatic habitat and protect areas that are undisturbed. A citizen’s group for the protection of Sinking Creek has been formed and will play a vital role in this unique area.
Our role administering the Kentucky Aquatic Resource Fund (KARF) for the Kentucky Field Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) also plays a large part in protecting the Rockcastle River watershed – Sinking Creek in particular. Through KARF, KWA partnered with USFWS, Kentucky Chapter of TNC, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Highway Administration to fund the acquisition a large tract of land along Sinking Creek last year. A new agreement with the University of Louisville (U of L) Research Foundation will fund the U of L Stream Institute’s assessment and restoration of a degraded tributary of Sinking Creek on the protected tract, bringing yet another key partner into this effort to protect and restore this very special place.
Photo Location: Sinking Creek. Credit: Jim Hays.