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Mississippi Delta MSEA Volume 1 Issue 1, Page 3
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Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 3
Premier Issue
Fall 1995

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MSEA Reporter Archive

Where is the Mississippi Delta MSEA project being conducted?

Thighman and Beasley Lakes near Indianola in Sunflower County and Deep Hollow Lake near Greenwood in Leflore county are the three oxbow lake sites selected for this project by a site selection subcommittee. The BMP subcommittee selected Thighman Lake and its watershed to serve as the control primarily because of its larger size and the influence of catfish pond drainage into the lake. Crop production is conventional cotton, rice, and soybeans and will remain so throughout the project.

Beasley Lake watershed was selected to receive nominal BMP treatment. The soils here have more slope than the other two watersheds. Crop production is primarily cotton and soybeans with a small acreage in corn. Center pivot irrigation is substantial and riparian zones are extensive.

Deep Hollow Lake watershed will receive the maximum BMP effort in the project, primarily because of its small size and only one landowner and one operator. Crop production is roughly half cotton and half soybeans.

What is the current status of the Mississippi Delta MSEA?

Field headquarters has been established at Thighman Lake and consists of an office/lab building, two storage buildings, a combination walk-in refrigerator/freezer for sample storage only, an automated weather station, and two carport covers which serve as equipment shelters. The office telephone number is (601) 265-5197 for both voice and fax communication. The weather station telephone number is (601)-265-5251 and is accessible only via computer modem with special software.

Mr. Frank Gwin, Jr. serves as the project coordinator and can be reached at (601) 459-5364 (mobile) or at the field headquarters. He is responsible for day-to-day operations and serves as liaison between farmers and researchers.

Identification signs for the MSEA watersheds and headquarters have been installed. ARS has been identified as one of the three research agencies to contact for further information. Provision for identifying the USGS and MWRRI as the other two research agencies in the project has been provided.

Installation of automated water quality sensing stations in the MSEA lakes [3 stations/lake (upper end, lower end, middle)] is complete. Currently, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity are sampled every hour and downloaded every two weeks. Other measurement parameters such as total dissolved solids and redox may be added in the future. Water samples are also collected every two weeks at each site and analyzed for suspended, dissolved, and total solids, ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate. Secchi visibility and lake depth are also measured at this time. An automated water sampler will be added to each station in the near future.

Preliminary fisheries sampling has been conducted on each lake and will continue into the fall. Early results indicate that the lakes are severely impacted by high sediment concentrations. Sampling of other aquatic fauna (snakes, frogs, turtles, etc.) was initiated in July. Sampling of benthic invertebrates (sediment dwellers) is underway.

Well installations for shallow groundwater sampling at 8 sites (3 wells per site at 5?, 10?, and 15?) at Beasley Lake watershed have been completed and their exact locations (via GPS) have been recorded. An additional 3 well sites in other subwatersheds of Beasley Lake have also been identified and well installation awaits completion of crop harvest. Minor problems getting to the well sites have occurred whenever the farmer/landowner is operating his center pivot irrigation systems. Well installations at one site at Thighman Lake watershed have also been completed and additional sites have been identified. Well sites at Deep Hollow Lake watershed await identification and installation. As the project progresses, other well depths will be added as needed.

Lake ranges (100-meter) have been established at Deep Hollow and Beasley Lakes. Lake sediment cores have been collected from Deep Hollow Lake and are currently undergoing analysis for metals and selected residual and current-use pesticides. Plans include cesium and/or radiocarbon dating as well as cores from Beasley and Thighman Lakes.

Two runoff gauging stations have been partially completed at Beasley Lake watershed, one each in what are tentatively termed subwatersheds A and B. Additional stations are planned for other subwatersheds. Sites of two runoff gauging stations at Thighman Lake have been identified, one on the inflow at the northern end of the lake and the other on the west side of the lake. At Deep Hollow Lake, two runoff gauging stations have also been identified and await construction and instrument installation.

Soil (1.5 m3) has been collected from Thighman Lake watershed for use in laboratory studies of the role of Delta soil cracking in agrichemical transport.

Detailed farm plans for Deep Hollow and Beasley Lake watersheds have been completed. The plans identify the specific BMPs to be implemented and provide a field-by-field cost analysis. The plans also outline a timetable for all farming operations. In September, meetings with the landowners and/or farmers/operators of Deep Hollow and Beasley Lake watersheds were held to discuss the details of the farm plans and agreements were put in place. A similar meeting is planned with regard to Thighman Lake watershed.

The farm plan for Deep Hollow Lake watershed calls for winter wheat cover crop in 1995 and all no-till cotton and soybeans beginning in 1996. Weed control will be accomplished using "on-the-cutting-edge" weed sensor technology. Grass filter strips (15? width) along with slotted-board risers and slotted-inlet pipes will be used at critical locations. The Model Farm Program of the MSWCC is funding BMP costs for at least the first two years.

The farm plan for Beasley Lake watershed primarily involves the installation of new and/or replacement of existing grade stabilization and water control structures including slotted-board risers, slotted-inlet pipes, overfall pipes, and culverts. Numerous grass filter strips will be established along major drainages into the lake and conservation tillage will be used in selected fields. Advantage will be taken of the existing large riparian zones around the lake. The DWF and USFWS have donated all of the pipes. Significant funding for the BMPs comes from CFSA with the balance of funds from ARS and USGS. Contracts have been let to begin BMP installation.

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MSEA Reporter Archive