Coldstream Supplemental Environmental Project

Project background

The Consent Decree includes two Supplemental Environmental Projects that were negotiated between the EPA and LFUCG in lieu of additional fines being paid to the EPA. One of these, entitled the Coldstream Park Stream Corridor Restoration and Preservation Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) requires LFUCG to spend a minimum of $1 million on stream improvements and greenway creation along the main stem of Cane Run within Coldstream Park, located adjacent to McGrathiana Parkway off of Citation Boulevard in north Lexington. 

The project is not a compliance project, as LFUCG could choose to pay a $1.25 million fine in lieu of completing the project. However, instead of the citizens of Fayette County paying more fines to the federal government, this SEP was developed and included as part of the Consent Decree settlement because stakeholders wanted positive actions taken on a degraded stream corridor within the Urban Service Area. Prior to this site's selection as part of the Consent Decree negotiation, a greenway concept plan had been developed by LFUCG's Division of Planning, and the University of Kentucky had granted the land to LFUCG as part of the Coldstream Research Campus' masterplan. The primary project goals include stream bank stabilization, habitat restoration, and greenway creation. This site represented the best location available in Fayette County for a project of its type that was wholly owned by, and easily accessible to, LFUCG. The EPA agreed this was a worthy project acceptable as a substitution for the fine and the SEP was included in the Consent Decree as Appendix J-1. 

Project site

Project site


The project site has a long history and has undergone significant changes over the years. The project site sits within the original boundaries of the famous McGrathiana Farm, on which Aristides, the first winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1875, was born and bred. The foundation of one of the old tenant houses, which once stood on the farm, sits alongside Cane Run and is a site of archaeological significance. The farm was purchased in the 1950s by the University of Kentucky for use as an agricultural experimentation facility. In the mid-1990s, the site was subdivided, and the stream corridor was granted to LFUCG for a public park, while other areas were incorporated into the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Park, a world-class office research park.

The SEP project site runs from Citation Boulevard downstream toward I-75 for about 4,200 linear feet and ends just upstream of the Cane Run Sanitary Sewer Pump Station. A portion of the Legacy Trail runs adjacent to this section of the stream, as does a 36" diameter gravity sanitary sewer line. A vegetated buffer was established in 1999 along the stream corridor by the efforts of Reforest the Bluegrass volunteers. 

Project implementation

Environmental Quality & Public Works oversees the management of this project. Through LFUCG's professional services procurement process, a design team led by CDP Engineers was selected in 2012 to investigate the site conditions and propose a design concept to the EPA for approval. The design concept was approved by the EPA in November of 2015. The EPA has also determined that construction be completed by Sept. 12, 2018. LFUCG awarded the construction contract to EcoGro in early 2017, and construction was completed in May 2018. Educational signs were placed along the length of the project, adjacent to the Legacy Trail, during the summer of 2018.  The SEP Completion Report was submitted to the EPA in late 2018, and the project’s completion was approved in April 2021.  2019 was the first year of the five-year post-construction monitoring and reporting period. 

Related links

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This project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action under the Clean Water Act, United States et al. v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, brought on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.