Design and Construction of Quarry Capture Prevention BMPs on the Buttahatchie River

Author(s): Maurer, B.

Alluvial deposits (Holocen) have made the harvest of sand and gravel profitable in the Buttahatchie River watershed. Historically, excavations in and adjacent to the river have altered the location and stability of the channel. Many inactive, pre-regulation quarries are still found concentrated along the lower 20 km of the main channel. Construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Watershed, of which the Buttahatchie River is a tributary, and the resultant head-cutting, have further exacerbated the process of "quarry capture", whereby the river channel changes course into a quarry.

With partners from Mississippi State University, and with support from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy has undertaken a project to develop and implement stabilization BMPs to prevent further quarry capture on the Buttahatchie River. Utilizing LiDAR mapping of the area and modeling of flow patterns, this project will identify points vulnerable to quarry capture, and design and construct appropriate stabilization techniques. Techniques are expected to be both specific to the individual characteristics of each site, and exportable to vulnerable channels in other watersheds.

Construction on the first stabilization project will be completed in the winter of 2013 in Monroe County, Mississippi, and will stabilize 1300 feet of river bank to prevent the river from changing course into several inactive gravel quarries adjacent to the river. This presentation will detail the project design, the selection of BMPs, the construction, and the outcome of the project. The BMPs will include bendway weirs, locked logs, and customized planting installed under very difficult conditions.

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