LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Bluegrass State is often recognized for the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, its vast cave system and its magnificent forest, together boasting a biodiversity to rival any state in the nation. But none of these ecological wonders would be possible without the waters that course throughout the state. Lakes, springs and rivers have fostered growth in the Commonwealth for millennia, and water has shaped Kentucky from its initial settlements to its contemporary livelihood.
Compiling the environmental, economics, and in some instances, personal histories of water in the Commonwealth, editors Brian D. Lee and Daniel I. Carey, of the University of Kentucky, and Alice L. Jones, of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), have assembled “Water in Kentucky: Natural History, Communities, and Conservation.” This collection highlights both the legacy of the state’s waters and the management and preservation of these waters today.
Illustrated with more than 130 color images including new maps of Kentucky’s waterways and photos from Robinson Forest, this book highlights the intimate link between water and the physical, cultural and economics landscapes through essays from researchers, professionals and environmental advocates who give first-person accounts of the “how” and “why” of water degradation and reclamation. These stories deepen readers’ understanding of the problems surrounding water in Kentucky but also dispel common myths and highlight unconventional paths to success.
More than simply a collection of histories, “Water in Kentucky,” published by University Press of Kentucky, also provides suggestions for the active preservation of the state’s native waters into the future. Contributors Shaunna L. Scott and Stephanie M. McSpirit suggest ways in which disasters like the Martin County coal slurry spill of 2000 and its subsequent impacts on the local watershed can be prevented. Jack Schieffer provides ideas in response to federal regulation of urban water management. Carol Hanley and Kelly Taylor propose school and community-based science projects to bring students back into contact with their sources of water. Wuyang Hu recommends the use of market-based tools to protect and improve water quality in Kentucky.
Editor Brian D. Lee is a professor of landscape architecture at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. He uses geospatially based analyses and visualization for community decision-making processes during land-use planning, primarily at the watershed/landscape scale. His formal education includes a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Lee earned his doctoral degree from Penn State School of Forest Resources-Center for Watershed Stewardship while working as a research and teaching assistant. At UK’s Department of Landscape Architecture, he teaches upper-division undergraduate studios and lecture courses.
Hydrologist/geologist Daniel I. Carey retired from Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)at UK in 2012. During his 23 years as a KGS researcher, he studied the water in the Kentucky River basin, along with the quality of water wells, and impacts on water of mining. Carey, who holds a master’s degree from UK, led the production of strategic plans for water and wastewater development in Kentucky for the Water Resources Development Commission. He assisted the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority in the establishment of Kentucky’s Water Resources Information System and helped produce groundwater resource reports for every Kentucky county. Carey has also created maps of Kentucky’s river basins that illustrate physical characteristics, water quality, water use and recreational activities. Carey taught graduate courses in geographic information systems and environmental systems at UK. His primary interest was raising earth science awareness for Kentuckians in general and about the places where we live, work, study and play.
Alice L. Jones is a professor of geography at EKU. Her teaching, research and community service have centered on the relationship between land use and water quality, particularly the relationship of water quality and community health. Her most recent work has focused on both large and small scale watershed studies of water quality in Appalachian Kentucky.
Other UK contributors to “Water in Kentucky” are as follows:
- Carmen T. Agouridis, extension associate professor of bioenvironmental engineering and the director of the Stream and Watershed Science Graduate Certificate Program;
- Christopher D. Barton, professor of forest hydrology and watershed management and director of the Appalachian Center;
- alumnus John R. Burch Jr., who received his doctorate in history from UK;
- Tricia Coakley, manager of the microbial and metals divisions of the Environmental Research and Training Lab;
- James C. Currens, a hydrogeologist who retired in June from KGS after 37 years of service;
- Amanda Abnee Gumbert, extension water quality liaison;
- Jason Hale, registered landscape architect and adjunct instructor of landscape architecture;
- Carol Hanley, associate director of international programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;
- Wuyang Hu, professor of agricultural economics;
- Brad D. Lee, extension associate professor of plant and soil sciences;
- Zina Merkin, research specialist at the Department of Landscape Architecture;
- Jack Schieffer, assistant professor of agricultural economics;
- Shaunna L. Scott, associate professor of sociology and director of the Appalachian Studies Program;
- Jeffrey W. Stringer, extension professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations and interim chair of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources;
- Kelly Taylor, of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment;
- alumnus Corey L. Wilson, who received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UK; and
- alumna Emma Witt, who received her doctoral degree in soil sciences from UK.
University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all the state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. The press’ editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation through the UK Libraries.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
— Mack McCormick and Amanda Lee, University of Kentucky Ag News
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