The Buttahatchie River and its tributaries make up one of the highest quality aquatic systems in Mississippi. Home to rare and endangered fish and mussels, a resource for anglers and swimming and a desirable location for riverfront acreage, the river has been affected by sand and gravel mining since the mid-1950s.
The Conservancy is continuing work along the river just north of Columbus to stabilize banks near the quarries to keep the river channel from flowing through the mining pits. The goals are to improve water quality, reduce erosion and sediment, and maintain a specific stream channel with habitat for native plants and animals.
Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the next phase of work on the Buttahatchie is expected to begin in fall 2012. The work will also be relevant to other Mississippi waterways including the Pascagoula River watershed.
Conservancy scientists will review topographic information and aerial photos, meet with local watershed experts including those from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and area extension services, and run hydrologic models to determine current conditions and appropriate methods for restoration. Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented to stabilize the riverbanks, preventing the river channel from joining the adjacent quarry and preventing future erosion.
This project will build on the success of other work along the river, including a streambank stabilization demonstration site where eight BMPs were installed on a section of the Buttahatchie to demonstrate habitat-oriented techniques.
For more information on our current work, please visit our Facebook page (The Mississippi Nature Conservancy) or contact our Jackson office, 601-713-3355 to speak with our freshwater hydrologist.July 30, 2012