Nutrient Modeling of the Big Sunflower Watershed

Author(s): Moran, M.; Young, A.; Diaz-Ramirez, J.

The Mississippi Delta region is filled with fertile farmland formed from rich sediment deposits of the Mississippi River. The Big Sunflower Watershed comprises a large majority (221,270 acres) of the fertile Mississippi Delta region. Approximately 75% of the Big Sunflower Watershed is used for agricultural purposes. The heavy agricultural activity increases the impairment of water bodies due to excess nutrient loads. The excess nutrient loads increases the occurrence of hypoxia and harmful algal blooms. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a cost-effective way of reducing the non-point source nutrient loads in water bodies. Hydrologic models are to be used to estimate nutrient loads under existing conditions, then estimate the conditions following the implementation of Best Management Practices. Through the use of Better Assessment Science Integrating point & Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) and Hydrological Simulation Program—FORTRAN (HSPF) the nutrient loads in the Big Sunflower Watershed can be effectively modeled. Better Assessment Science Integrating point & Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) is a multi-purpose environmental analysis system that integrates a geographical information system (GIS), national watershed data, and environmental assessment tools into one package. Built into BASINS is the Hydrological Simulation Program—FORTRAN. HSPF simulates the hydrologic and associated water quality processes on pervious and impervious land surfaces and in streams and well-mixed water bodies [USGS]. These tools will be used to conduct a nutrient management study on three sub watersheds within the Big Sunflower Watershed (two sub watersheds of Porters Bayou and one of Harris Bayou). After applying the hydrologic models to the existing conditions, the models will be used to predict nutrient loads after the implementation of BMPs. The Best Management Practices being used are input management, edge of field practices, and constructed wetlands. The nutrient study on these areas will test and validate the hydrologic tools, BASINS/HSPF, for nutrient load predictions in watersheds.

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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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