Role of land use and BMPs in reducing the effect of extreme magnitude events on sediment and pollutant transport in the SE US Coastal Plain and Mississippi Alluvial Valley

EPA Grant Number: R835186
Title: Role of land use and BMPs in reducing the effect of extreme magnitude events on sediment and pollutant transport in the SE US Coastal Plain and Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Investigators: Hatten, Jeffery A
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2017
Project Amount: $363,258
RFA: Extreme Event Impacts on Air Quality and Water Quality with a Changing Global Climate (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Water and Watersheds , Climate Change , Air , Water


Suspended sediment is a major non-point source pollutant of surface waters. Best management practices (BMPs) and current landuse decisions may not be sufficient to protect water quality in a changing climate, as a result of a loss of efficiency at reducing suspended sediment at high storm intensities. Climate change is expected to increase the magnitude of storm events across the Southeast United States, potentially resulting in impacts to water quality in this region. Interactions among BMPs, land management, land use change, and water quality as storm events change in magnitude are unknown. It is important to understand the efficiency of BMPs and land-use decisions in affecting water quality so that policy makers can make informed, proactive decisions with regard to future water quality policies.


The overall objective of this research is to understand the role of BMPs and land use decisions on water quality in the face of climate change. We hypothesize that the efficiency of BMPs at reducing sediment and pollutant yield will decrease with increasing storm magnitude; however in large multi-use watersheds any reduction in suspended sediment as a result of conservation practices may be annulled by landuse change. Two objectives have been developed to guide this research: Objective #I. Determine the capacity ofBMPs to reduce large event caused delivery of sediment in lakes with small watersheds in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MA V). Objective #2. Determine the role that BMP development and landuse decisions have had on event associated sedimentation rates in a lake with a large watershed.


We will examine overall and event caused sedimentation rates in I) oxbow lakes in the MA V (small watersheds) where BMPs have been implemented and shown to reduce sedimentation rates in lakes and 2) Ross Barnett Reservoir a large multi-use watershed of the Upper Pearl River, MS. We will correlate sedimentation rates with climatic history to determine watershed response pre- and post-BMP and/or historical land use. In the large watershed we will combine the sedimentation record with historical and current water quality data to determine historical levels of total suspended solids, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. We will combine these efforts with geochemical analyses to determine the source of sediment being discharged into these depositional areas - allowing us to diagnose BMPs and landuse decisions.

Expected Results:

We will determine the overall efficiency of BMPs and effects of landuse on suspended sediment over a wide range of climatic conditions and as a result of predicted change to climate for the MA V and MS Coastal Plain. In this proposal we will also test an approach that will be useful across many regions to assess the response of water quality in managed or developed watersheds with regard to climate change.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, pollution prevention, hydrology, agriculture, forestry, sediment, sedimentation, best management practices, Southeast, EPA Region 4

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • Final Report