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Kentucky Reservoir

Ecological health rating

The ecological health of Kentucky Reservoir scored at the upper end of the fair range in 2011. Kentucky rated good all other years except 1995 and 2009, when the rating was also at the upper end of the fair range.

TVA monitors four locations on Kentucky Reservoir—the deep, still water near the dam, called the forebay; the middle part of the reservoir; the Big Sandy embayment; and the riverlike area at the extreme upper end of the reservoir, called the inflow—usually on a two-year cycle.

Kentucky Reservoir Ecological Health Ratings, 1994-2011

rating chart

Click chart for raw data.  

 

The table below shows the ratings for individual ecological health indicators at Kentucky in 2011. These ratings are briefly explained in the paragraphs that follow.

Ecological Health Indicators at
Kentucky Reservoir, 2011

Monitoring locations

Dissolved oxygen

Chlorophyll

Fish

Bottom life

Sediment

Forebay
Mid-reservoir
Big Sandy embayment
Inflow      

Dissolved oxygen

Dissolved oxygen rated fair at the forebay and mid-reservoir, and poor at the Big Sandy embayment location. Dissolved oxygen ratings were reduced at all three locations because concentrations were low along the reservoir bottom during June and/or July.  A larger portion of the reservoir bottom was exposed to low concentrations in the Big Sandy embayment, resulting in a lower rating. This indicator rated good at the mid-reservoir all other years, but ratings have varied between good and fair at the forebay and good, fair, and poor at the embayment location, generally in response to reservoir flow conditions.  

Chlorophyll

As in previous years, average summer chlorophyll concentrations were relatively high at the forebay and Big Sandy embayment monitoring locations, rating poor. Concentrations at the mid-reservoir location were slightly elevated, resulting in a fair rating.  Chlorophyll has rated good at the mid-reservoir location all other years except 2001 and 2009, when the indicator also received a fair rating.  

Fish

The fish community rated good at the three monitoring locations in the main body of the reservoir, and “high fair” at the Big Sandy embayment location. Ratings for the fish community have varied between fair and good at all locations, with more frequent “high fair” or good ratings in recent years.

Bottom life

Monitoring results for bottom life were generally similar to previous years. The forebay and mid-reservoir locations rated good, the inflow rated “high fair”, and the Big Sandy embayment rated poor.  The embayment received a lower score because of the higher proportion of tolerant organisms and lower overall diversity; a likely result of the poor dissolved oxygen conditions that developed at this location.

Sediment

Sediment quality rated fair at the three locations sampled. Low levels of PCBs were detected in samples from each location, and arsenic was slightly elevated in the Big Sandy Embayment sample. Sediment quality has rated good in Kentucky Reservoir all other years except 1999 and 2001, when it also rated fair at the Big Sandy embayment due to elevated concentrations of arsenic.

 

See definitions of ecological health indicators and monitoring locations.

 

Fish consumption advisories

Kentucky Reservoir - TVA maintains a program to examine contaminants in fish fillets from TVA reservoirs and their major tributary streams on a rotational basis.  The data collected from this program is distributed to the state officials who are responsible for placing or removing fish tissue consumption advisories on those bodies of water. For information on advisories currently in effect for Kentucky Reservoir, visit the Kentucky Departments of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Environmental Protection, Health Services’ web page. http://fw.ky.gov/fishadvisory.asp?lid=900&NavPath=C101 

 

map to apalachia

Kentucky Reservoir is located on the Tennessee River in western Kentucky and Tennessee.

 

More about Kentucky

Sport fishing ratings

Spring sportfish survey results

General information

To see monitoring results for other TVA reservoirs, choose from the list below.

 

 

 

           
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