Shedding light on local watersheds

Published 11:58 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

Inaugural event hosted at local farmers market this month


Bluegrass Greensource has partnered with the Nicholasville Farmer’s Market to host an inaugural Watershed Festival in Jessamine County Aug. 11.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nicholasville Farmer’s Market, located at 717 N. Main St., the event will feature vendors, green living talks and fresh produce.

Attendees will learn about the behaviors that affect the watersheds in the county, projects addressing watershed issues and how local residents can experience the trails and streams within the county.

“This will be our first Watershed Festival in Jessamine County, but Bluegrass Greensource has experience hosting previous Watershed Festivals such as one celebrating Cane Run in Lexington in 2017,” Bluegrass Greensource representative Kyle Hager said. “Bluegrass Greensource is heavily involved in environmental education and outreach efforts in 20 Central Kentucky counties.”

Educating residents about water quality issues is a big part of Bluegrass Greensource’s outreach. Hager said the Kentucky River Authority’s Watershed Watch Program compiled research on the impairments to various streams in Fayette County and beyond. The program works to fund initiatives which make improvements to impairments and educate residents on how they can have a positive impact on the watershed they live in.

“A watershed is simply an area where all of the precipitation in that area collects at a common outlet, like a stream or a lake,” Hager said. “Watersheds can refer to a very specific region or a much larger collection of watersheds that run into a major waterway or body of water. The water quality issues that we typically address when talking about watersheds deal with stormwater runoff and the potential for pollutants to enter our streams. This involves things like fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, cow manure etc. By reducing the chances for harmful contaminants to enter our streams, we hope to promote a healthy ecosystem for everyone, meaning that fish and plants can thrive in the streams and our children can swim and kayak without worry.”

Coincidentally the festival coincides with National Farmer’s Market Week. This new event in Jessamine County will help shed light on an issue which goes hand in hand with sustainable local farming practices. Hager said agricultural production has a huge impact on streams, including choices about when to fertilize, what pesticides are safe and also preventing manure and other runoff from entering nearby streams.

“Market-goers can expect the usual offerings they get from Nicholasville Farmer’s Market with the addition of a host of informational booths, green living talks, and other vendors,” Hager said. “While browsing the August harvest, folks can learn about over-fertilization, sustainable projects going on in Jessamine County and opportunities for recreation within the watersheds. The talks will include information about bees, microgreens and more. We hope to make it both informative and fun for everyone.”

Bringing awareness to local watersheds gives everyday residents an understanding of the consequences of their behavior, Hager said. By making residents aware of issues such as over-fertilization or picking up pet waste, the community can help make the larger effort less difficult.

“A big part of getting involved is simply being educated and aware of what is going on,” Hager said. “Coming to events like this one will certainly help.  Additionally, there are a variety of small grants available to farmers for the establishment of riparian buffer zones along streams on their property.”

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