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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Preliminary Assessment of the Water Quality, Biological Habitat, and Bioticcommunities of the Yalobusha River Watershed

Authors
item Cooper, Charles
item Moore, Matt - UNIV. OF MISSISSIPPI
item Gillespie, W - UNIV. OF MISSISSIPPI
item Testa, Sam
item Shields Jr, Fletcher
item Smiley, Peter

Submitted to: Agricultural Research Service Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Changes to stream and river systems are a common byproduct of human presence. In many areas of the United States, stream and river systems have been extensively modified, and physical and biological habitat has been adversely impacted. Often, long-term problems appear which could not be predicted. These problems affect not only the natural wildlife in the area, but also the human inhabitants nearby through flooding or erosion. This study involved collecting information on water quality, wildlife communities, and physical characteristics of a large river system which is experiencing widespread flooding and erosion to assist involved water management groups in solving these problems. This paper details the measurements and other information gathered to be provided to these management groups to aid them with the decision making process.

Technical Abstract: The Yalobusha River Watershed upstream of Grenada Reservoir became a Demonstration Erosion Control (DEC) watershed project as a result of 1997 Congressional legislation. The Agricultural Research Service is conducting baseline studies in watershed water quality and environmental conditions. This report presents preliminary data on physical and chemical water quality, pesticides and metals, invertebrates, fish and habitat. The large debris plug west of Calhoun City, Mississippi has altered habitat upstream. Complete removal of the plug would result in major reductions in channel habitat volume and area. Discharge and fish species describe a low velocity, riverine lake habitat upstream of the jam and a riverine environment downstream. Phosphorus, nitrogen and suspended solid concentrations were not excessive. Dissolved oxygen concentrations were seldom low enough for concern. pH was slightly acidic, typical of water draining from acid soil. Coliforms were typical of natural waters, reflecting seasonal concentration of wildlife near water. Several current use and residual pesticides were found in water and fish tissue in low concentrations as would be expected in a mixed cover agricultural watershed. Habitat varied from stable to disturbed. Preliminary data from invertebrates and fish also varied from site to site but showed that they should serve as good indicators of watershed condition and reflect watershed improvement. A stream contour map, cross-sectional information and discharge above and below the debris plug are available for decision-making purposes. Preliminary findings revealed the Yalobusha River and tributaries to have fair water quality. Habitat varied with stream stability and drainage history.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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