Environmental Mitigation at the Camp Shelby Training Site, MS

Author(s): Rasmussen, M.; Orsi, T.; Dye, T.; Patrick, D.; Floyd, I.; Buck, J.; Carter, G.; Newcomb, A.

Located in Perry County, MS, the Camp Shelby Training Site (CSTS) faces the challenge of meeting the ever increasing demands of military training to ensure combat readiness while adhering to numerous federal and state environmental laws and regulations. On occasion, training requirements result in unavoidable construction and/or operations within or around environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands. As an example, construction of the Sonny Montgomery Multi Purpose Range Complex-Heavy (MPRC-H) adversely affected wetlands within its boundaries and resulted in the creation of the Cypress Creek Mitigation Site (CCMS) in the eastern part of the training site. The CCMS is located within the Cypress Creek Watershed that drains into Black Creek. Of the total 246.5 acres, the CCMS consists of 164.7 wetland acres and 81.8 acres of uplands. The CCMS was initially surveyed in 1999 and permitted by the US Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District in 2000.

Physiographically, the CCMS consists of three provinces. The Upland pine flat is characterized by very well drained, non-hydric, fine loamy sand with 55% FACU species, such as the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). The slope province within the mitigation site is a well drained sandy loam that begins to exhibit stripping in the lower (6-8 inches) portion of the soil profile. This mixed pine-blackgum-oak forest contains 38% FAC and 15% FACU species. Wetland soils at CCMS are a hydric stripped matrix sandy loam that grades into a silty clay loam near a Cypress Creek tributary that traverses the site. This Cyrilla-Cliftonia-Nyssy bottomland is comprised of 39% OBL and 30% FACW species.

Restoration actions at the CCMS have consisted of removing roads and/or fire lanes that might impede water flow into the wetlands, controlled burning to remove unwanted species from both the wetland and upland areas, and removal of pine plantations in certain sections to allow native hydrophytic vegetation to recover or repopulate areas of historical wetland. After two controlled burns, the buckwheat (Cliftonia monophylla) and swamp titi (Cyrilla racemiflora) heavy shrub layer is beginning to thin allowing bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) saplings to emerge as well as numerous forbs and herbs that had been previously shaded out. At least one more controlled burn is needed for the understory to open completely. More recently, girdling has been considered as an alternative to downing large Pinus palustris individuals; the approach would reduce soil water demand, decrease overstory density, and create snag habitat for species that require it for nesting.

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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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