A project of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain
The Tchoutacabouffa River Watershed is located in Harrison County , west Jackson County and southeast Stone County in south Mississippi . The watershed includes a fast-growing business corridor along Interstate 10. It also includes a rural landscape that is quickly converting into a more suburban landscape with residential homes and weekend getaways along the river. The watershed also includes significant acreage within the DeSoto National Forest.
The entire watershed (map shown above) includes several sub-basins: Bayou Castopia, Railroad Creek-Hurricane Creek, Tchoutacabouffa River and Bayou Billie, Tchoutacabouffa River and Cypress Creek, Tuxachanie Creek and Bigfoot Creek, Tuxachanie Creek and Hester Creek, Tuxachanie Creek and Hog Creek.
Lower river – primary area targeted for action (map shown below)
Within the Tchoutacabouffa River Watershed, we have identified the primary area for action as the lower Tchoutacabouffa River and lower Tuxachanie Creek. The project Partnership Action Area includes the following hydrologic units:
I. Tchoutacabouffa River/Bayou Billie watershed covers @39 sq. miles and is 10.56 miles long. Hydrologic Unit Code: 031700090602
II. Tuxachanie Creek/Hester Creek watershed covers @39 sq. miles and is 8.87 miles long. Hydrologic Unit Code: 031700090605
III. Tuxachanie Creek/Hog Branch watershed covers @17 sq. miles and is 7.22 miles long. Hydrologic Unit Code: 031700090606
IV. Tchoutacabouffa River/Cypress Creek watershed covers @ 38 sq. miles and is 11.98 miles long. Hydrologic Unit Code: 031700090607
The Land Trust’s efforts to build a partnership for the lower Tchoutacabouffa River began with two roundtable discussions in March and June of 2007 held at the homes of Judy and Sandy Steckler and David and Candace Wheeler. We learned much from the participants and are very appreciative of their time to meet and discuss the best ways to shape the direction of our watershed partnership.
First watershed forum.
The Watershed Action Plan is a living document for watershed planning with particular focus on private sector participation in the process. We want to provide context and a brief overview of the ecological, cultural and scenic significance of the Tchoutacabouffa River Watershed. It is a record of our planning efforts and an accounting of actions identified to address watershed concerns. The hope of participants is to foster better stewardship of the natural resources of the watershed.
Forum participants were asked, “What characteristics of the Tchoutacabouffa do you want to protect?” They responded with consensus:
- Aesthetic values of running bodies of water
- Safe and clean for canoeing and swimming
- White sandbars
- Clean, clear water tinted with tannins
- Beauty – lush tree canopy and native vegetation along the river banks
- Industry-free river banks
Forum participants are extremely concerned about increased flooding along the river and about increased boat traffic (both faster and larger boats). They are also concerned about the impacts of increased development: impervious surface, bulk heading and wetland loss. From the impacts of storm debris and tree loss to the increased threats of flooding and shallowing streams, participants clearly want to see their watershed restored and protected. They want to be better educated about watershed issues: they are particularly interested to learn more about the impacts that their actions have on the watershed. They want neighbors and policy-makers to be better informed about the consequences and financial costs of wetland loss, hardened shorelines and impervious surface. They would like to see more monitoring of the watershed, particularly tracking flood levels, wetland loss and linear feet bulk headed along the river. They would like to see land use planning at the watershed scale and increased enforcement of wetland laws and water safety/boating laws.
There is a great need to educate the local citizenry about streamside management and the impacts that neighbors’ choices have on the river and neighboring properties. There is a need for better public policy as the population grows.
Tchoutacabouffa Watershed Partnership Steering Committee Members
- Cynthia Ramseur, coordinator
- Judy Steckler, Land Trust for Mississippi Coastal Plain
- Anita Arguelles
- Danielle Brewer
- Dr. Larry Drawdy
- Patti and Jay Golden
- Virginia and Joe Lococo
- Judy and Sandy Steckler
- Candace and David Wheeler
- Elmer William