Project Green: Green River going green with help of environmental group

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WHAS11.com

Posted on July 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 3:48 PM

(WHAS11) - This Project Green focuses on none other than the Green River. The scenic Green River flows through Mammoth Cave National Park and covers more than 1300 square miles.

Technically you could say the river is brown in color, but all around is lush green, but more importantly, it's what's underwater that's vitally important.

"It's one of the most biologically diverse rivers that we have in the state and actually one of the most biologically diverse that we have in the country. In Kentucky there are more than 100 species of freshwater mussels and more than 70 of those occur right here in the Green," says Terry Cook, the State Director of the Nature Conservancy of Kentucky.

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Those mussels play a very important role in the ecosystem of the Green River and Kentucky as a whole. They act as natural filtration for the water, doing the same thing that cities pay big bucks for with water purification plants.

The world's largest non-profit environmental group moved into the bluegrass state 10 years ago to work with the green and landowners around the river. One of their many projects is helping stop soil erosion.

A big part of that are cows, which can dirty the water when they stop in for a drink.

"What we try to do is help create alternative water sources for them to improve conditions along the river, give them some options and financial systems to develop those options," says Cook.

All to protect a naturally occuring waterfall in Kentucky.

The nature conservancy works on other green projects in Kentucky like controlled burns of forests to help encourage tree growth.

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