The Effects of Land Use on Streams Along the Natchez Trace Parkway Using Rapid Bioassessment Protocols

Author(s): Earleywine, B. ;  Dibble, E.

Stream quality is commonly assessed using the Environmental Protection Agency’s rapid bioassessment protocols for the habitat, fishes, and benthic macroinvertebrates. These assessments are useful to evaluate impacts that land use may have on streams. We conducted bioassessments in eighteen streams, identified land uses, and compared water quality parameters of forty-four streams along the Natchez Trace Parkway. We measured for potential land use effects by sampling water quality metrics (April 2008-February 2009), benthic macroinvertebrate and habitat assessment protocols (June 2008), and fish protocols (February 2009) to demonstrate differences across six subregional watersheds. The three dominant land uses were deciduous forest, pasture/hay, and evergreen forest respectively. Deciduous forest was most abundant in the Upper Cumberland, Lower Cumberland, and Tennessee watersheds while evergreen forest covered more area in the Mississippi, Pearl, and Tombigbee watersheds. Habitat assessment scores averaged highest in the deciduous forest-dominant watersheds and lowest in the blackwater stream watersheds dominated by evergreen forests. The Pearl watershed, comprised mostly of evergreen forest land, had the lowest average dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, conductivity, pH, and nitrate. Turbidity and total suspended solids decreased as latitude increased. Fecal E.coli colony estimates were highest in Mississippi and Upper Cumberland watersheds. Latitudinal differences were also observed in the macroinvertebrate assemblages. Tennessee, Lower Cumberland, and Upper Cumberland watersheds had more shredders and were the only watersheds with Plecoptera. Relationships between fish and macroinvertebrate integrities are discussed for each stream and watershed.


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