Researchers from the University of Kentucky will begin interviewing citizens, businesses and non-profits this week about Floyds Fork. This is part of a collaboration between state and federal agencies to rehabilitate the watershed.
Floyds Fork has been designated as “impaired,” which means its waterway can’t fulfill its designated functions. The state Division of Water has asked the EPA to help determine the maximum amount of pollution that can be discharged into the watershed without exceeding the state water quality standard.
Those agencies are working on developing that model, but there’s a role for citizens to play, too. Lindell Orsmbee of UK’s Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute is leading a team that will interview people who live, work or spend time in the watershed.
“We’re just going to kind of ask people ‘how do you use the watershed, how can you envision using the watershed, what are some of the challenges you think exist here, what possible solutions can you envision?’” he said.
Ormsbee adds that there’s ample room for citizen input in the process.
“Although we’ve kind of got a template, this is very much a dialogue if you will, with the community,” he said. “We see ourselves not tasked with coming in and basically telling the community what they should be considering and what they should do. We’re basically there to kind of listen to them and try to represent them.”
The team will eventually form stakeholder groups, and the community input will help the state decide how to best manage pollution in the watershed.