The past year has been marked by success and major strides forward for Headwaters and watershed improvement in Letcher County. In reviewing 2018, the following are events and programs to highlight:
- Garth Adams served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Program Coordinator for the first half of the year. Garth’s work largely included facilitating watershed education programming at Letcher County Central High School and assisting with watershed planning efforts. Garth’s term of service with Headwaters ended in August but his contributions to the organization made a lasting impact.
- Watershed planning efforts for the North Fork tributaries of Crafts Colly, Sandlick, and Dry Fork continued throughout the year. These efforts included water-quality monitoring and erosion assessments, laying the groundwork for improved watershed health in these streams and the North Fork of the Kentucky River.
- In the Spring, Headwaters hosted a stream cleanup. Around 30 community members spent the day with one another, removing litter from the banks of the North Fork. By the end of the cleanup several truckloads of waste were properly disposed of.
- Headwaters partnered with University of Kentucky Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Science to lead community members in tap water sampling. Following the culmination of water sampling, Headwaters was invited to present results and project takeaways at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Annual Meeting in Davis, California.
- In July, Headwaters partnered with Cowan Community Center to hold a week-long watershed camp for youth called Headwaters on the Creek. Roughly 30 campers attended all five days of camp which were filled with macroinvertebrate identification, water-quality lessons, water cycle demonstrations, guest instructors, and field trips to the Pine Mountain Settlement School and local swimming pool.
- For the last several months of the year Headwaters has been an active member in the newly-established Friends of Whitesburg Coalition. This group of community partners works together in downtown revitalization efforts. The role of Headwaters has been to connect stewardship of the North Fork of the Kentucky to downtown improvement efforts. Significant focus has been placed on improved usage of the Tanglewood Walking Trail which runs along the North Fork, near to downtown Whitesburg.
- With increased capacity throughout the year, Headwaters representatives were able to attend state-wide and regional events. The presence of Headwaters at such meetings and conferences, has led to important and much-needed representation of Letcher County and southeastern Kentucky.
- As has been the case since the formation of our organization, members of Headwaters participated in Kentucky River Watershed Watch water sampling. This important water sampling effort has led to longitudinal water-quality data which allows the analysis of water quality overtime. Sampling completed in the 2018 events contributed to further water-quality data.
- With the close of the year and looking forward to the coming year, the Headwaters Board of Directors went through a strategic planning process and developed a thorough organizational plan for the years ahead. Funding from the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice supported this planning effort and the early stages of strategic plan implementation.
- Finally, Headwaters adopted a NEW LOGO this year!
Our organization is grateful for all the participants and partners who made this year possible. Headwaters is looking forward to continuing this work in the coming year.