The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
Page 18 [contents] ||   ||  ||  vol. 41. iss. 2, June 2006
totaling over 31 miles.

After the sump dive Jason made a short cut-around dive and then a third dive where he crawled underwater out of the main Spring Acre entrance.

Subterranean Watershed Watch:
Springtime Water Quality Monitoring in the Rockcastle Area With Subsequent Fine Dining and Winery Tour

by Hilary Lambert (BGG & KEEP).

Saturday, April 29 was the first 2006 sampling event for Subterranean Watershed Watch volunteers in the Rockcastle County area. Over a dozen cavers, mostly Greater Cincinnati Grotto and Rockcastle Karst Conservancy members, have now taken the half-day training required to become a water quality sampler for the statewide Watershed Watch network. With three sampling events each spring and summer, the resulting data is providing a picture of above and below-ground water quality across Kentucky, supplementing the sampling carried out by the Kentucky Division of Water.

(Water Samplers: Dalene Smith and Deb Bledsoe)

Up from five sites a few years back, the Rockcastle County caver-samplers now cover seventeen sites, checking for dissolved oxygen and pH levels, fecal coliform (poop) levels, and other measures of water quality at a variety of cave streams and springs in the Great Salpetre area.

This year’s spring sampling was marred – thankfully, without serious injury – when an SUV full of caver-samplers went off the road to Goochland Cave and rolled downhill. Gotta watch that new-laid gravel on the edges of narrow, steep Rockcastle roads – there’s nothing holding it up.

Your intrepid reporter tagged around after Deb Bledsoe and Dalene Smith. Deb was teaching Dalene the art and science of scientific sampling procedures, so that Dalene could carry out regular monitoring on Lake Linville and the Renfro Creek tributaries leading to it. Lake Linville is that funky little reservoir that you cross on I-75 just north of the Exit 59/Great Salpetre (Cave) Preserve exit. It is a local water supply – and it has some serious pollution problems.

Deb Bledsoe’s organization A-SPI (Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest) and other groups, agencies and consulting companies are working to develop a state-approved cleanup plan for the lake, but first the situation requires monitoring to determine the extent and causes of the problem.  Right, this is not exactly cave/karst water sampling, but it’s part of the water quality situation in Rockcastle County.

All the cave and surface water samplers met at the Exit 59 Shell station at 11:30 am, where they handed in their samples to the Upper Cumberland Watershed Watch runner and signed their chain of custody forms. He then dashed the samples off to the lab for analysis, and the results will be available online at

Page 18 [contents] ||   ||  ||