About Our Watersheds

There are six main watersheds in the Louisville and Jefferson County Area. They include Beargrass, Floyds Fork, Pond Creek, Mill Creek, Harrods Creek and Goose Creek. Each of these watersheds includes smaller sub-basins that eventually drain into the larger watershed basins and then into the Ohio River.

A watershed is simply a geographic area defined by boundaries, which sit at higher elevations that eventually drain into a single outlet, such as a stream or creek. Water falling in any part of the watershed eventually finds its way through drainage swales, storm sewers, ditches and into a tributary or major stream that flows out of the watershed.

Louisville and Jefferson County's watersheds have distinct characteristics that set them apart from one another. For instance, the Beargrass Creek Watershed has three main sub-basins, which encompass rural, suburban and urban areas. Storm runoff can be swift in the upper reaches of the watershed where changes in elevation are steep and severe, and much slower in the lower elevations where elevations change gradually and much of the creek is channeled through the urban center of the city.

With the geographic differences in each watershed come a wide array of water quality issues and problems. It is MSD's goal to focus designated teams to work within each watershed to learn its characteristics, study its problems, interchange ideas and solutions with its residents, and develop projects that will address the most serious issues first within the framework of the budget.

We will look at the most recent accomplishments in each watershed but, more importantly, we will look at future goals and plans for each area.

Citizen Involvement is Key to Success

Successful watershed management is dependent on the participation of those people who live, work and play in that particular area. No one knows the characteristics and problems better than those who spend their time in the neighborhoods and business districts of the watershed.

To ensure their participation, each MSD watershed area team works with neighborhood group representatives, business owners, environmental activists, builders and elected officials.

MSD team members and other water quality experts review water quality issues in the field and meet with these groups to determine future goals, possible solutions and associated costs. Public participation is critical in light of the fact that most funding solutions will come from the customers themselves.