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Water in KentuckyNatural History, Communities, and Conservation$
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Brian D. Lee, Daniel I. Carey, and Alice L. Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813168685

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813168685.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

Where Five Rivers Meet

Where Five Rivers Meet

The Far Western Waters of Kentucky

(p.103) Chapter Eleven Where Five Rivers Meet
Water in Kentucky

Susan P. Hendricks

University Press of Kentucky

The convergence of five river systems in far western Kentucky significantly influenced the progress of human settlement and activity over the past several thousand years in the area now known as the Jackson Purchase. The geological history of the Jackson Purchase set the stage for the development of unique land- and waterscapes with natural histories very different from the rest of Kentucky. The Ohio, the Mississippi, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee Rivers define the present boundaries of the Purchase area, and the smaller Clarks River provides the major drainage through its midsection. Major geological, hydrological, and human historical events including the New Madrid earthquakes, Civil War, floods, water-borne diseases, the ever-changing focus of agriculture and industry, and 20th century dam building, including construction of two major hydroelectric reservoirs (Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley) all affected peoples’ choices of where to live and how to use the land and water resources of the region.Today, western Kentuckians are actively engaged in preserving the quality of the region’s water resources because of the recreational, agricultural, industrial, transportation, and ecological services they provide.

Keywords:   water resources, water quality, presettlement, European settlement, western Kentucky, Jackson Purchase, New Madrid earthquakes, floods, hydroelectric dams, brailing, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Tennessee River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, Cumberland River, Clarks River

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