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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians


Choctaw Tribe Assesses Soil Erosion and Siltation -
Proposes Water Quality BestManagement Practices

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is proposing to develop a Water Quality Best Management Practices (BMPs) plan to address the problems of soil erosion and siltation resulting from various silviculture, construction, and resource extraction activities on the Choctaw reservation. Forestry, construction, and mining activities add to soil losses Source assessments indicate that land uses are the major pollution problem on tribal lands. In particular, three land uses account for most critical areas. They are

  • silviculture, especially harvesting and reforesting activities without appropriate residue or groundcover management;
  • construction, especially for highways, bridges, and roads (sometimes in connection with forestry or mining activities) but also for housing, industrial, and
  • commercial development; and
  • resource extraction and development, especially surface mining, or topping pits.

Thus, soil losses to erosion in some upland (hilly) areas may be as high as 40 to 50 tons per acre per year. In some places the land is devoid of adequate tree, brush, or grass cover; in others, skid rails, fire lands, and roads have created gullies that cause annual soil losses in excess of 100 tons per acre per year. Siltation resulting from these identified nonpoint sources is the primary pollutant of tribal waters.

Pollution prevention

The following activities -- a mixture of pollution prevention, source controls, structural and nonstructural remedies (such as ordinances)-- are proposed in the BMP plan for tribal lands:

  • Develop a nonpoint source (best management practices) plan to address erosion and siltation problems that affect water quality on the Choctaw reservation.
  • Hold meetings with stakeholders to discuss and implement pollution prevention activities and this plan. These stakeholders will serve the tribal chief in an advisory capacity to help prevent nonpoint sources of pollution on the Choctaw reservation and to implement and enforce tribal ordinances.
  • Conduct monitoring activities to identify discharge points, drainage patterns, direction of flow, water quality at surface water bodies affected by discharges, locations of significant materials exposed to stormwater, and structural control measures to control erosion and siltation.
  • Formulate and pass tribal ordinances, adopt erosion and sediment controls for disturbed areas, and enforce selected BMPs.
  • Evaluate the success of pollution prevention activities to include the following activities:

  • Annual site compliance evaluation to be conducted by qualified personnel to evaluate the effectiveness of BMPs.
  • Revise the BMP plan as needed.
  • Implement a pilot project demonstrating the effective use of BMPs selected and comparing this site to a project where no pollution prevention activity is implemented.

The tribe will also evaluate its current environmental management plans for consistency, and determine which, if any, provisions should be strengthened and incorporated in the Pollution Prevention Plan.

CONTACT: Bernadette Hudnell
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians EPA Program
(601) 656-5251


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