Affiliate of the Week: Kentucky Waterways Alliance

In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, and their commitment to wildlife.

Who We Are

Kentucky Waterways Alliance envisions healthy waterways throughout Kentucky. They strive to achieve the best protections possible from water pollution in their communities and work toward better habitat for wildlife and people. They are an advocate for healthy waterways and communities.

What We Do

KWA’s clean water regulatory advocacy work has changed Kentucky regulations and provided better regulatory protections to over 90% of Kentucky’s rivers, streams and lakes.

Many species of fish like this blackside dace, birds, turtles, and other wildlife benefit from KWA’s restoration projects which help restore habitat and improve water quality. Photo Credit: Conservation Fisheries
With a mission to protect and restore Kentucky’s waterways, KWA’s work covers a broad range of water and wildlife issues:

  • Clean Water Policy – Review water resource-related permits, advocate for more protections for water resources and less pollution, review and advocate for better regulations and policies that protect and restore waterways and ensure their enforcement
  • Restoration – Advocate to protect the best waterways and their watersheds, sponsor river cleanups, work with agencies and businesses to better understand, protect and restore aquatic species through the Kentucky Aquatic Resource Fund
  • Watershed Planning – Collaborate with communities, watershed groups, individuals, and agencies to identify areas of concern on waterways and then act to restore or protect them. This includes working on issues at the local level on farming best practices, septic system work, stormwater pollution management, and environmental education
  • Clean Water Networking – Provide the link between national, state, regional and local groups on water issues and best practices

Kentucky Waterways Alliance’s watershed planning and restoration work has had great success. They’ve been able to completely restore streams such as the one in the Town Branch Watershed (pictured above). KWA’s partnership with the Daniel Boone National Forest and the KY Division of Water has made a meaningful difference for the Red River watershed, resulting in the removal of two low water dams, restoration of a portion of the stream channel, elimination of 416 tons of sediment, and cleanup of trash along more than 75 miles of stream.

Making a National Impact

Juvenile mussels at the Center for Mollusk Conservation. Photo by Will Willis, KWA Communications Director
One of the National Wildlife Federation’s major priorities is keeping our waters healthy and clean for wildlife and people across the country. To help maximize their clean water initiatives, Kentucky Waterways Alliance works with local communities and watershed groups in each of their watershed projects.

Their work is primarily with aquatic species such as the purple cat’s paw pearlymussel, which is one of the most endangered mussel species in the world. Through KWA’s leadership in managing the Kentucky Aquatic Resources Fund, this mussel species has been successfully propagated for reintroduction in its historic range in the Ohio River basin, including places like Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, and Kentucky.

purple cat's paw mussel
Purple cat’s paw pearlymussel, which is currently only found in Killbuck Creek in Ohio. Photo Credit: USFWS
They are also working on recovery efforts for regional other wildlife including fish species such as the blackfin sucker, blackside dace, and diamond darter; mussels (ex. Kentucky creekshell, purple cat’s paw, spectacle case, orangefoot pimpleback, and ring pink); the Kentucky cave shrimp; and Rattlesnake-Master Borer moth.

Connect with KWA

Connect with Kentucky Waterways Alliance to get their latest news and keep up with developing water protection efforts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by visiting their website.