Plan for Monitoring Success of Mississippi’s Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Author(s): Hicks, M.; Stocks, S.; Wright, J.

A multi-agency task force forum, The State Nutrient Strategy Work Group, was formed in 2009 for the purpose of developing a consistent approach among Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin states to reduce nutrient loadings from streams and rivers draining into the Gulf of Mexico. As part of this forum, a nutrient reduction strategy for the Delta region in northwestern Mississippi was developed. One of twelve critical elements identified in the nutrient reduction strategy was to implement "Monitoring Programs" for the purpose of documenting nutrient concentration and load reductions, lag times, and watershed system responses. To address this element, two project areas were identified: Harris Bayou watershed, Coahoma County, MS, and Porter Bayou watershed, Sunflower County, MS. Project areas were chosen based on areas where there has been historically high nutrient concentrations and where land-owners are willing to participate in this effort. These two watersheds are also located in a focus area watershed of the Mississippi River Basin Initiative. Efforts have begun to implement various Best Management Practices (BMPs) in four catchments, two in each of Harris and Porter Bayous, for the purpose of improving water quality by reducing nutrient loading to streams affecting downstream aquatic ecosystems. In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (F.A.R.M.) began implementation of a monitoring strategy at two stations in Porter Bayou watershed and four stations in Harris Bayou watershed. The strategy involves monitoring before and after BMPs have been implemented, as well as using a paired basin approach for data analysis of changes due to the BMP project. Data collection activities at each site include base and storm flow sampling for flow, total nitrogen and other nitrogen species, total phosphorus, suspended sediment, and other physical and chemical water quality indicators of ecosystem health, including response indicators such as benthic macroinvertebrate community assemblages and chlorophyll-a concentrations.

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Technical Sessions

Session I Sedimentation
Session II Weather/Climate
Session III Coastal Resources
Session IV Surface Water Management
Session V Wetlands
Session VI Education
Session VII Management/Planning
Session VIII Wetlands
Session IX Delta Groundwater
Session X Nutrients
Session XI Delta Water Resources
Session XII Ports

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