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Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center - Mississippi
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Watershed Restoration & Protection Studies (319 Monitoring) - Lake Washington
Lake Washington is located in Washington County, Mississippi, approximately 20 miles south of the city of Greenville and drains into Washington Bayou, which flows into Steele Bayou. The lake is an oxbow formed by an abandoned meander of the Mississippi River. About half of the land use in the watershed is agriculture, with its major crops being cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice. Although the watershed is relatively rural, there has been an increase in housing development around the lake edge over the last 5 years. Water quality in Lake Washington has gradually declined over the last 30 years. In 1991, results of a study showed that Lake Washington was experiencing nutrient enrichment as a result of high phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in the lake. In that same year, a Section 319 project was initiated in the Lake Washington watershed to demonstrate and assess best management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient concentrations in Lake Washington. Results of a follow-up study in 1996 showed that Lake Washington was continuing to experience nutrient enrichment as a result of high phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in the lake. The Yazoo Basin Team identified Lake Washington as a priority area for watershed restoration, and as a result, the Lake Washington Watershed Implementation Team was formed. The team developed a Watershed Implementation Plan with the goal of improving water quality of Lake Washington, in which reduction of sediment and nutrient loads were considered high priorities. The plan calls for reduction of sediment loading by 55 percent and associated organic matter loading by about 50 percent through implementation and maintenance of various best management practices. In coordination with water-quality improvement efforts, water-quality monitoring data are being collected to document characteristics of suspended-sediment and nutrient characteristics of Lake Washington and loads in runoff entering Lake Washington before and during the life of the project.
Lake Washington study area map showing location of two monitoring sites.
Photo 1. Lake Washington Tributary Number 2 near Marathon, MS.
Photo 2. Lake Washington tributary at Stein Road, near Chatham, MS.
Monitoring efforts include collection by USGS Mississippi Water Science Center staff of nutrient, sediment, and flow at two major tributaries of Lake Washington and collection by MDEQ of nutrients and chlorophyll a at two main lake sites. In addition, multi-parameter water-quality sondes will be deployed on two lake piers to collect continuous readings of temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity.
1. Lake Washington Tributary Number 2 near Marathon, MS
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