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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE PROCESSES THAT IMPACT THE QUALITY AND MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

Title: Watershed management for erosion and sedimentation control Case Study: Goodwin Creek, Panola County, MS

Authors
item DABNEY, SETH
item Shields Jr, Fletcher
item BINGNER, RONALD
item KUHNLE, ROGER
item RIGBY, JAMES

Submitted to: Advances in Soil Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2012
Publication Date: May 23, 2012
Citation: Dabney, S.M., Shields Jr, F.D., Bingner, R.L., Kuhnle, R.A., Rigby Jr, J.R. 2012. Watershed management for erosion and sedimentation control Case Study: Goodwin Creek, Panola County, MS. IN: Advances in Soil Science. 19:539-556.

Interpretive Summary: The Goodwin Creek watershed is located in northern Mississippi. This manuscript combines a regional history of land management changes from the time of European settlement to present with a summary of research results obtained during the past 30 years. Conversion of forests to cropland caused a serious upland erosion problem. Excessive sedimentation of channels led to frequent flooding of floodplains. Channel straightening and dam construction to reduce flooding resulted in a channel system with increased sediment transport capacity. Improved conservation and reforestation of the uplands decreased the sediment load. The imbalance between channels with large sediment transport capacity and small sediment loads from the uplands created the situation found today where stream bank erosion of floodplains is the dominant source of sediment exported from the watershed. The Goodwin Creek experience demonstrates that piecemeal application of accepted best management practices can have unanticipated long term consequences and illustrates the challenges inherent in attempting to assess the impact of conservation practices at a watershed scale.

Technical Abstract: The Goodwin Creek watershed is located within the loessal hills of northern Mississippi, a region of high erosion risk and elevated watershed sediment yields. This manuscript combines a regional history of land management and conservation issues from the time of European settlement to present with a summary of research results obtained during the past 30 years. Goodwin provides an instructive case study of the dynamism of land use, hydrologic, geomorphologic, and water quality characteristics that change over time. Conversion of forests to cropland caused a serious upland erosion problem. Excessive sedimentation of channels led to frequent flooding of floodplains. Channel straightening and dam construction to reduce flooding resulted in a channel system with increased sediment transport capacity. Improved conservation and reforestation of the uplands decreased the sediment load. The imbalance between channels with large sediment transport capacity and small sediment loads from the uplands created the situation found today where stream bank erosion of floodplains is the dominant source of sediment exported from the watershed. The Goodwin Creek experience demonstrates how piecemeal application of accepted best management practices can have unanticipated long term consequences and illustrates the challenges inherent in attempting to assess the impact of conservation practices at a watershed scale.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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