Restoring Canebrakes to Enhance Water Quality Along the Upper Pearl River

Author(s): Jolley, R. ;  Neal, D.;  Baldwin, B.;  Ervin, G.

Large stands of rivercane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl.], called canebrakes, initially covered millions of acres in the southeast US, playing a pivotal role in the hydrology, landscape ecology, and the cultural history of the First Nations of the Southeast. Because canebrakes are composed of very dense stands of rivercane, they act as ideal riparian buffers, dispersing overland flow, increasing soil porosity, and stabilizing streambanks. Unfortunately, large canebrakes have all but disappeared from the landscape due to overgrazing, agriculture, and altered fire regimes. In an effort to enhance water quality and wildlife habitat along the upper reaches of the Pearl River, a rivercane restoration project was initiated in June 2008. Over 1,000 rivercane seedlings were planted at eleven locations along a half-mile stretch of the Pearl River on land belonging to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI). Planting sites were selected as those susceptible to erosion (outer bends) and deposition (inner bends) in order to monitor the effect of canebrake establishment on stream bank stabilization. An additional nine sites were chosen along this same stretch for comparison (three sites with established rivercane and six without). Sediment markers were installed to monitor sediment depths within and outside of planting areas. Additional sediment markers were also inserted horizontally into eroding banks to monitor bank-sloughing along planted areas. Preliminary data indicate low survivorship in plantings at elevations susceptible to extended periods of inundation (<3 m above normal flow). Both planted and unplanted banks show moderate rates of erosion. Due to slow initial growth, rivercane seedlings may require several years to form effective riparian buffers.


Technical Presentations

  • Delta Water Quality
  • Delta Water and Agriculture
  • Wetlands
  • Water Quality
  • Sediments
  • Non-Point
  • Management and Sustainability
  • Wood Treatment
  • Modeling
  • Soil and Water Treatment


Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

The primary goal of the workshop is to create a dynamic learning experience that examines the role of stormwater management in the built environment. The workshop will focus on integrating ecologically sound water management approaches into site design. After the workshop, attendees will be familiar with the following concepts and technical issues:

  • Knowledge of the stormwater treatment chain
  • Knowledge of the impact of land use codes on stormwater management
  • Application of a design process that mitigates the effects of stormwater on-site
  • Knowledge of the relationship between land use codes and design for innovative stormwater management


For information contact:
Jessie Schmidt
Box 9680
Mississippi State, MS 39762