Explore. Connect. Protect.

Our Mission: To improve and protect water quality by raising awareness and supporting implementation of the Clean Water Act and other water quality initiatives in the Green River Basin.

River Basins in Kentucky

Kentucky is divided into 7 major river basins, including the Green River Basin.

Each river basin includes all of the land drained by many streams, creeks and springs that flow downhill into one another, eventually forming rivers. Watershed Watch in Kentucky serves the entire state, and Green River Watershed Watch (GRWW) focuses on carrying out the organization's mission specifically within the Green River Basin (in blue on map to the left).

Where We Work

The Green River Basin is the largest river basin in Kentucky with some of the most biodiverse waters in the country, including 42 species that do not occur anywhere else in the world. It has a wide-ranging landscape, covering over 11,000 square miles in 35 counties. Starting on a ridge in Lincoln County at 1,384 feet above sea level, water flows west from the Mississippian Plateau to the Western Coal Field region. A total of 385 miles of the Green River to its confluence with the Ohio River east of Henderson at an elevation of 342 feet.

The basin is often split into smaller basins, the Minor Ohio Tributaries, Upper Green, Lower Green, and Tradewater basins. The Upper Green generally has a hilly to rolling terrain. It is heavily used for agricultural purposes and also contains Bowling Green, the third most populated city in the state. It is known for Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world.

The karst landscape in the Mississippian Plateau is responsible for creating such a large cave system along with other features like sinkholes, springs, and sinking streams, which dominate the area. These are formed when slightly acidic water from rain or melting snow seeps though the soil cover into fractured and soluble bedrock, such as limestone.

On the other side of the basin, the Lower Green and Tradewater are located in the Western Coal Field region with flat to gently rolling terrain. It is used heavily for agricultural purposes and resource extraction.

Who We Are

Sampling Volunteers - GRWW is supported by over 150 active volunteers who give their time to improve our waterways through skills development, water quality monitoring, community outreach and education and water improvement efforts.

Steering Committee - A dedicated group of GRWW leaders meets regularly to coordinate our sampling events and related activities, review sampling data, discuss focused watershed area projects, explore funding opportunities, and ensure that the organization runs smoothly.

Watershed Watch in Kentucky - This statewide organization coordinates volunteer water monitoring across Kentucky. Green River Watershed Watch is one of seven basin groups that monitor streams, rivers and lakes across our state. Click HERE to learn more about our larger organization.

Partners - GRWW could not do its work without the critical support from our major partners.

What We Do

Train Samplers - We hold free training workshops as needed to train new volunteers and recertify existing volunteers. Online training has also recently been developed.

Loan Sampling Equipment - We loan test kits to trained volunteers so they can test water quality (pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature). If desired, samplers also receive supplies for assessing stream biology and habitat.

Collect Water Quality Data - Our volunteers choose a stream to monitor, or we can help you find a site. Samplers use their test kits and collect bacteria samples three times each year in May, July and September. Stream biology and habitat are studied each June.

Analyze Sampling Results - At the conclusion of each sampling year, we summarize and assess the findings and share it with our volunteer samplers through a report and presentation during the annual conference.

Provide Environmental Education - Our board members and others in the organization attend conferences, workshops and youth events to teach about water quality and what we are doing to protect and improve it.

Promote Water Quality Improvement - We provide guidance and suggestions for putting water quality findings to use through local water improvement initiatives.

Host Annual Conferences and Other Events - We coordinate an annual conference (usually in February) to present sampling results from the previous year, provide organization updates, and hear from relevant speakers.

Please consider donating to Green River Watershed Watch.

With an all volunteer staff, 100% of donated funds are used to support citizen science!

You can donate to GRWW securely online through our partnership with Kentucky Waterways Alliance.