Submitted to: Laboratory Publication
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/13/2004
Publication Date: 2/19/2004
Citation: LIZOTTE JR, R.E., COOPER, C.M., MIKELL, JR., A.T., MOORE, M.T., KNIGHT, S.S., HILL JR, J.T. WATER QUALITY OF NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI HILL LAND STREAMS IN THE DEMONSTRATION EROSION CONTROL (DEC) PROJECT DURING CALENDAR-YEAR 2002, WITH EMPHASIS ON CHLOROPHYLL. NATIONAL SEDIMENTATION LABORATORY RESEARCH REPORT NO. 40. DECEMBER 2003. 86 PAGES. Interpretive Summary: Water quality was monitored once every month or every two weeks in seven rivers and streams in north Mississippi during 2002. This research is part of the demonstration erosion control (DEC) project aimed at controlling flooding, decreasing soil erosion and improving the environment in rivers and streams in north Mississippi. Changes in water quality coincided with seasonal changes, changes in water levels, storms, and fertilizer applications. River and stream water quality showed the stability of these water bodies during 2002. These results will help farmers, scientists, and pollution control personnel to have a better understanding of water quality conditions in rivers and streams in north Mississippi.
Technical Abstract: As part of the Demonstration Erosion Control (DEC) Project in the Yazoo Basin, the Water Quality and Ecological Processes Research Unit at the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory was requested by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, to characterize current water quality. The DEC project in the Yazoo Basin is a cooperative interagency project, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The projects' primary goals are aimed at flood control, reducing erosion and channel instability with additional goals including demonstration of innovative management techniques, total watershed planning and water quality and environmental enhancement. Currently, on-going consistent water quality characterization is performed in seven hill land stream watersheds as part of a larger database including habitat, animal and plant diversity. Results provide a constant evaluation of DEC water quality conditions and long-term changes. Physical, chemical and biological water quality measures aid in assessing ecosystem health across trophic levels from primary producers (plants and algae) to predatory animals such as fish. Water samples from each watershed were routinely collected either on a two-week or monthly schedule. Physical, chemical and biological water parameters measured were pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, salinity, turbidity, alkalinity, hardness, depth to water, depth of water, total, suspended and dissolved solids, filtered orthophosphate, total phosphorus, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, total nitrogen, chlorophyll a, b, c, and total chlorophyll, fecal coliforms, and enterococci. Analyses were performed according to standard water quality methods. Water quality changes were driven by flow conditions and seasonal changes. Fluctuations in temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and salinity were associated with seasonal changes and low-flow conditions. Changes in pH were often associated with storm events and fluctuations in chlorophyll a concentrations. Solids, specifically suspended solids concentrations, exhibited fluctuations primarily with significant storm events (1" or more of rainfall). Fluctuations in nutrient concentrations were commonly associated with application processes and ensuing nutrient runoff after rainfall events. Observed changes in microbial counts during 2002 were due primarily to warmer seasonal temperatures as well as storm events.