A summit designed to gather input on how to improve the Green River Watershed will take place Thursday and Friday at Mammoth Cave National Park. The event is open to the public.
“What we are doing is gathering information for a study, so that in the future some of these take-aways from the study can actually be implemented,” said Carol Labashosky, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Louisville District. The Nature Conservancy and the Kentucky Waterways Alliance are also involved.
The study, which is being referred to as the Green River Watershed Assessment, will be used to develop a watershed plan that will help stakeholders address problems in the basin and continue to protect natural resources in the basin.
“One of the big things is water quality and we want to continue to create community education and outreach regarding [water quality],” Labashosky said.
Another concern is the species living in the watershed and how best to help them continue to prosper and survive in the river habitat, she said.
“There’s a lot of good things going on in the way the watershed is managed, but we want to make sure, for the future, that different groups collectively with the participants talk about water temperature and hydraulics,” Labashosky said.
Russell Clark with the National Park Service’s River and Trails Conservation Assistance Program will be a presenter during the summit.
“My role with the National Park Service is with a division of Rivers and Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. We basically provide technical planning assistance to local communities and non-profit organizations to help them create a greenway or blueway trail system and try to connect neighborhoods to natural resources,” he said of his organization.
Clark will present, along with Elaine Wilson, the Kentucky Adventure Tourism Director, information on the planning process for the Green River Blueway Water Trail, which is one of the projects Clark is working on this year.
“It will be a water trail that will extend from the dam at Green River Lake to the Ohio River,” he said.
The trail will involve 16 counties in southcentral Kentucky.
Clark and others will be working to identify future access points along the river for safety purposes and creating a tool to be posted on a website allowing folks who like to experience the Green River where they can gain information needed to plan an outing on the river, whether it be for a one day or multi-day trip. That information would include restaurant choices at various points along the river, as well as possible campsites, he said.
“There’s a great blue way plan that is already up on line for the Barren River on the Warren County site. We are hoping to piggyback on the longer route of the Green River for that so that will be an opportunity for folks in the region to plan an outing,” Clark said.
He also plans to provide information regarding the economic value of creating a blueway plan.
The summit is the first meeting of its kind.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to comprehensively get together face-to-face to have seminars and to have classes where we have experts in biology and hydrology to hash out some of these issues,” Labashosky said.
On the last day of the summit, those who attend will get together and go over the input they have gained, she said.
For more information, visit http://kwalliance.org/greenriversummit/
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