Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories
Tennessee: Wades Branch
Pasture and Hay Planting Improve Wades Branch Water Quality
Waterbody ImprovedRunoff from pasture grazing cattle resulted in excess sediment entering and degrading a 7.2-mile segment of Wades Branch. This led to the listing of the segment as impaired in 1998 and subsequent years for siltation and habitat alteration. In 2002 and 2003, best management practices (BMPs), including pasture and hay planting, reduced sediment loads and resulted in the removal of Wades Branch from the 2004 303(d) list of impaired waters.
Wades Branch is located in the Stones River Watershed in Rutherford County, Ecoregion 71i. The 7.2-mile impaired segment, which runs from Stones River to the Dunaway Chapel Road Fork, was added to Tennessee's 2002
A siltation and habitat alteration total maximum daily load (TMDL) was completed for Wades Branch, by Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation, and approved by EPA in 2002.
In 2000, 24 acres were renovated by replanting hay and pasture grasses within the watershed (Figure 1 below). In 2003, 21 acres of pasture lands along Wades Branch were renovated. The re-introduction of native plant species and more adaptable species not only helps to eliminate soil erosion and improve water quality, it also improves grazing livestock nutrition.
Using EPA's rapid bioassessment protocol III (RBPIII), state biologists calculated a biological reconnaissance score (biorecon) for the Branch, which is used as a measure of compliance with water quality standards for the beneficial use of fish and aquatic life support. Biorecon is one tool used to recognize stream impairment as judged by species richness measures, emphasizing the presence or absence of indicator organisms without regard to relative abundance. The biorecon index is scored on a scale from 1 to 15. A score of less than 5 is regarded as very poor. A score of more than 10 is considered good. The principal metrics used are the total macroinvertebrate families (or genera), the number of families (or genera) of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies (EPT), and the number of pollution intolerant families (or genera) found in a stream. The biorecon results for Wades Branch indicated 11 EPT families (pollution sensitive species), 8 pollutant intolerant species, and 26 total families. Using this scoring system for biorecons, this stream segment scored a 15. The stream segment got a habitat score of 125, which is better than the established habitat goal for this region. The stream segment has improved greatly since last assessed and consequently resulted in the removal of this 7.2-mile segment of Wades Branch from the 2004 303(d) list of impaired waters.
Partners and FundingThe Rutherford County Soil Conservation District implemented the BMPs using $1,807.41 provided through cost-share from section 319 grant pool projects. In addition, the Tennessee Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF) provided $2,000 in funding.
|Location and Type of BMPs Implemented in the Wades Branch Watershed (2000-2003).|
|ID||COUNTY||HUC||STREAM||PRACTICE NAME||NRCS CODE||FY|
|5772||Rutherford||5130203||Wades Branch||Pasture/Hay Planting||512||2000|
|570||Rutherford||5130203||Wades Branch||Pasture/Hay Planting||512||2003|
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