Monitoring Success of Mississippi's Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategies—Steele Bayou

Author(s): Stocks, S.; Hicks, M.

The Steele Bayou watershed (SBW) in the lower Mississippi Delta of northwestern Mississippi has been subjected to altered land and water resources for decades. Poor stream health in the SBW has been documented by several short-term studies, and the watershed is listed on the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters with causes of impairment being pesticides, organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and siltation. In the SBW, like many other areas in the Delta, there have been and continue to be numerous large and small scale efforts by land owners and State and Federal entities to reduce sediment and nutrient loadings. It is estimated that more than $15 million has been spent in the SBW for various conservation practices, not factoring in unknown private dollars by landowners. It is also estimated that combined Federal, State and private efforts have resulted in up to 50 percent of the Steele Bayou watershed being treated with various conservation practices.

An intensive monitoring network was implemented in 2008 through a multi-agency partnership. This monitoring network was designed to evaluate conditions at three nested scales: edge-of-field, in-stream, and outlet of the watershed. Data collected from the network will help define characteristics of a wide range of physical and chemical properties of water quality and will quantify the changes over time that result from the implementation of conservation measures. Preliminary evaluation of historical data compared to current data from the SBW suggests decreases in both sediment and nutrients. In addition to comparison of data between historical and current values, the current monitoring design will allow for a detailed analysis of loads and trends over time, at edge of field and at several locations along the main stem channel.

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Technical Sessions

1 Best Management Practices #1
2 Delta Water Assessment
3 Flood Assessment & Mgmt.
4 Wetlands
5 Watershed Mgmt. #1
6 Non-Point Source Assessment
7 Modeling
8 Water Quality
9 Best Mgt. Practices #2
10 Delta Water Conservation
11 Sedimentation
12 Storm Water
13 Watershed Mgt. #2
14 Public Water Systems
15 Surface Water Assessment & Evaluation

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