Pecan Bayou: A Pilot-Scale Comprehensive Conservation Watershed Proposal

Author(s): Janes, L.; Bowling, T.; Pennington, D.

Over the last 30 years, withdrawals from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVA) have exceeded the aquifers natural ability to recharge resulting in a significant decline in the groundwater table in the Mississippi Delta. In an effort to decrease the overdraft of the MRVA, the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District (YMD) has proposed implementing the Pecan Bayou Comprehensive Conservation Watershed to develop new water sources for irrigation water supply coupled with utilization of available conservation and management practices. Pecan Bayou is also a pilot planning component of a feasibility study with the USACE to import water into the Quiver River to enhance aquatic habitat and provide surface water for irrigation. This project has the potential to convert approximately 3000-5000 acres from groundwater to surface water irrigation and potentially offset the calculated overdraft within the project footprint. The project would consist of a re-lift station on the Quiver River to import approximately twenty-five (25) cubic feet per second (cfs) of surface water into the system for irrigation purposes. Imported surface water will be distributed through a network of improved natural channels and constructed zero-grade, lateral ditches. Weirs and water control structures will be constructed to divert and retain water in the system. The excavated channels and water control structures will not only provide water distribution and storage but also provide runoff recovery, improved drainage, and water retention. YMD also plans to implement available conservation practices, per landowner approval, to maximize the benefits of the system. YMD envisions the Pecan Bayou Comprehensive Conservation Watershed becoming a pilot-watershed to act as a blue-print for managing the natural resources of the Mississippi Delta.
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