Headwater Hydrologic Functions in the Upper Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi

Author(s): Choi, B. ;  Ezell, A.;  Dewey, J.

Headwater streams are often considered to be contributors of nonpoint source sediment in forested watershed areas and are a key component of overall hydrologic processes because they comprise more than 60-80% of stream networks and watershed land areas. However, the relationship between silvicultural practices in the uppermost portions of headwater systems characterized by ephemeral-flow areas and their downstream linkages is poorly understood. In Mississippi’s forestry best management practices (BMPs) manual, streamside management zones (SMZs) have specific guidelines for perennial and intermittent streams, but ephemeral streams are rarely considered in forest resources management. This study is being conducted in Webster County, Mississippi to (1) examine the influence of ephemeral-flow portions of headwaters on downstream hydrology and water quality, and (2) evaluate silvicultural BMPs effectiveness of ephemeral streams in protecting downstream water quality. Specific objectives of this study are to test effects of four levels of harvest in ephemeral-flow areas on (1) in-stream water quality and total suspended sediment (TSS), (2) surface erosion and deposition in pre- and post-harvest conditions, and (3) the responses in subsurface hydrology. This study is installed as a randomized complete block (RCB) design consisting of three replicates of four treatment watersheds (No BMP, BMP1, BMP2, No harvest) representing a range of potential BMPs for ephemeral-flow portions of headwater streams. Results consisting of one year of pre-treatment data and two years of post treatment data will be presented. This study will increase our understanding of effectiveness of the headwater BMPs in mitigating timber harvesting impacts on water quality in riparian areas as well as providing information on the relationship between hydrological connections between perennial and ephemeral streams, and overall water quality.


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