Mississippi Coastal Nutrient Reduction Strategies Implementation Projects

The Rotten Bayou watershed project was developed to implement the Mississippi Coastal Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This strategy used the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Coastal Template and leveraged on work done in the Delta with the Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The Coastal Nutrient Reduction Strategy was developed through local workshops with coastal stakeholder input. Various issues related to livestock, forestry, urban stormwater, and atmospheric deposition were included in the strategy. As part of the Federal Government’s efforts to recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NRCS introduced the Gulf of Mexico Initiative (GoMI), an innovative water- and wildlife-conservation effort along the Gulf Coast. GoMI was developed in close collaboration with local, state, and federal partners. It is a new approach to better target conservation activities in the Gulf Coast region to improve the health of the Coast’s rivers, wetlands, and estuaries that are integral to jobs and the economy in the Gulf. Because MDEQ had already developed and begun implementation of the Coastal Nutrient Reduction Strategy in Rotten Bayou watershed, NRCS targeted it for their GoMI Project.

The Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the Soil and Water Conservation District, and NRCS, have been working with local landowners in the Rotten Bayou watershed to install agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). Implemented BMPs in the watershed include: 1) pasture and hay planting; 2) nutrient management; 3) Pond (alternative water source); 4) critical area planting; 5) water and sediment control structures; and 6) fencing. To develop a watershed implementation plan for this project, the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain is working with local residents to form three teams: a watershed team, a technical team, and an education team. These teams will provide input to the plan. A kickoff watershed-team meeting was held on October 10, 2012. Also as part of this project, the Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University is working with the City of Diamondhead to develop Low Impact Development Urban BMPs for reducing stormwater NPS pollution.

The Rotten Bayou watershed team has continued to meet to make progress on the project. A Rotten Bayou watershed steering committee meeting was held Thursday, March 21, 2013, and a technical advisory team meeting was held on Friday, March 22, 2013. On Tuesday, August 13, 2013, a Rotten Bayou watershed partnership meeting was held. It was the first meeting, where the Education and Outreach Team joined the Steering Committee and the Technical Advisory Team. A Field Day for farmers and landowners was held on November 7, 2013, to showcase some of the BMPs installed in the Rotten Bayou watershed through the 319 Project. The desired outcome of this project is to improve water quality in the Rotten Bayou watershed.

For additional information concerning these projects, please contact Coen Perrott, MDEQ Basin Management Branch, at (601) 961-5374.