It all began in Georgetown, Kentucky in April of 1991 when the first meeting was held with over 80 representatives from government, industry, community organizations and individuals from across the state to discuss issues facing Kentucky’s streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission, this meeting was the first of many where participants discussed strategies for dealing with those issues. The importance of networking and having strong lines of communication among groups working to protect streams was listed as a high priority.
In December 1992, those in attendance at another meeting moved to form a formal organization to promote networking, communication and mutual support among groups, government agencies, and businesses working on waterway issues. As a result, Kentucky Waterways Alliance was incorporated April 14, 1993 and granted non-profit status on November 2, 1993. River Network provided start-up funds with in-kind support coming from various state and local agencies. Under the corporate bylaws, an advisory council was formed to be the governing body with the executive committee responsible for the day-to-day operation of the organization.