An Overview of

Beargrass Creek

The Beargrass Creek Watershed is a diverse watershed in terms of geographic area and land usage. The entire area covers approximately 61 square miles and is divided by three major sub-basins — the Muddy Fork, the Middle Fork and the South Fork.

All three sub-basins begin in suburban areas that were developed — and continue to develop — since the early 1960s. The tributaries then flow through many older neighborhoods, such as the Highlands, Germantown, Phoenix Hill and Butchertown before they come together and flow into the Ohio River just above the downtown Louisville area.  Big Rock in Cherokee Park — one of Louisville’s most familiar landmarks — sits at the edge of  the Middle Fork of Beargrass Creek. 

The Beargrass Creek Watershed represents a sampling of

practically every water quality problem that can be imagined, including: combined and sanitary sewer overflows; septic tank seepage; urban stormwater run-off (non-point source pollution from streets, lawns and parking lots); erosion and sedimentation problems; and flood management. The entire watershed, including the piped sections in the City of Louisville, receives stormwater and wastewater flow from residential, commercial and industrial customers. Approximately three miles of the open sections of the creek were piped or channelized from the 1930s to the 1960s.

From the MSD annual report.

For more information about how to get involved with MSD to help improve local waterways, visit