Monitoring Hydrologic Response to Thinning in a Headwater Wetland at the Frances Palk State Nature Preserve

Grants and Contracts Details


The Frances Johnson Palk State Nature Preserve in Pulaski County, KY contains several acid seep wetlands in the heads of small ephemeral streams. This habitat contains occurrences of three rare plants which are critically imperiled in Kentucky. This site contains one of the best populations known in Kentucky for one of these organisms, which is also considered globally rare and is a “Candidate Species” for listing by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. For another species this is only the second known location in the state. In addition, this site also harbors the only Kentucky population of a rare invertebrate. When the Kentucky State Nature Preserve Commission’s (KSNPC) threatened and endangered species list is revised, one or more of these species will likely be a state endangered species and thus considered data sensitive at this time. Concern about the site has arisen recently due to a perceived “drying” of the wetlands, which could have adverse effects on the sensitive species that reside within. In an effort to better understand the hydrology of these systems and to determine if the wetlands are becoming drier, we initiated a characterization study in 2009 with the following objectives: 1) determine the influence of landscape position, geomorphology and land-use on wetland hydroperiod, 2) determine the origin of water within the seeps, and establish pathways for net water transformations (+ and -) in the system, 3) characterize channel formation below seeps and establish whether the channels influence seep hydrology (i.e. draining), and 4) determine if enhancement or restoration activities are needed to maintain/restore the hydrologic character of these sites.
Effective start/end date9/1/135/15/14


  • KY Energy and Environment Cabinet: $2,000.00


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