Did you know?
- A 10-acre wetland in LaRue County has bottom sediments that are 20,000 years old.
- There are carnivorous sundew plants in a wet meadow in Pulaski County. They are not found anywhere else in Kentucky.
- Some say tupelo honey is the best honey in the world. Kentucky has large tracts of tupelo (or swamp gum) in the western forested wetlands.
Wetlands are a critical component of our Commonwealth’s water resources.
They save millions of dollars annually by trapping sediment, reducing flood damage, and abating water pollution. Their water quality and flood control functions mean less money spent on cleaning up drinking water and repairing damage to homes and businesses.
In addition to the above, wetlands provide opportunities for over a million people a year who enjoy wildlife-related recreation in Kentucky. Ducks congregate in sloughs along our border with the Mississippi River. Largemouth bass, muskies and bluegills need wetlands for food and cover. The beautiful prothonotary warbler and white fringeless orchid also call Kentucky’s wetlands home.
The wetland monitoring and assessment program is a critical tool for Kentucky to better manage and protect our wetland resources. The program’s goals are to establish a baseline in wetlands extent, condition and function, as well as characterizing trends over time. The wetland monitoring program will initially focus on assessing and establishing characteristics of its wetland resources before developing wetland-specific water quality standards and designated uses. To date, our primary efforts have been to develop a Rapid Wetland Assessment Method (KY-WRAM) and participate in the National Wetland Condition Assessments. Vegetation and amphibian indices of biotic integrity are being developed in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University.
With support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kentucky has developed a 5-year Wetland Program Plan (WPP). The plan is a voluntary document that articulates the goals of the Commonwealth’s wetland monitoring and assessment program. It lists activities consistent with the EPA’s Core Elements Framework and provides a timeframe for their implementation. More importantly, we intend to use this plan to fulfill the Division of Water’s mission to manage, protect and enhance the water resources of Kentucky for our present and future generations. Progress in following the WPP include the development of the Kentucky Wetlands Rapid Assessment Method (KY-WRAM) and the development of the Wetland Prioritization Tool.