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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Tribal Section 319 Projects: Missouri

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Water Quality Best Management Practices Plan:

Bernadette Hudnell
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
P.O. Box 6013, Choctaw Branch
Philadelphia, MS 39350

Choctaw Tribe Addresses Soil Erosion

The Mississippi Choctaw trust lands consist of eight individual communities in eight counties of east-central Mississippi and encompass more than 24,000 acres. Land ownership in these eight communities is like a checkerboard, adjoined and fragmented by non-Indian lands. The tribe is currently acquiring additional land parcels as they become available to consolidate the Choctaw ownership pattern to facilitate access and management capabilities and the delivery of services to its members. The Choctaw population is more than 8,100. Siltation resulting from various silviculture, construction, and resource extraction activities has been identified as the primary nonpoint source pollutant affecting water quality on the Choctaw lands. Soil losses to erosion in some upland (hilly) areas might 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 trails, fire lanes, and roads have created gullies that cause annual soil losses in excess of 100 tons per acre per year.

To address these problems, the Choctaw Tribe has developed a Water Quality Best Management Practices Plan for tribal lands. A Natural Resource Conservation Committee will oversee the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) to address erosion and siltation problems. Various BMPs will be used, including the use of both vegetative and structural measures during construction in residential areas to control erosion and sedimentation.

The plan also calls for the development and passing of tribal ordinances adopting erosion and sediment controls for disturbed areas and enforcement of selected BMPs. There are plans to hold meetings with stakeholders to discuss and implement the plan.

Monitoring activities will be conducted to identify discharge points, drainage patterns, direction of flow, water quality at surface water bodies affected by discharges, locations of significant materials exposed to storm water, and structural measures to control erosion and siltation. The data will also indicate the effect that recent changes in construction management activities have on water quality in the watershed.

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