Section 319
               NONPOINT SOURCE  PROGRAM SUCCESS  STORY
 Livestock Management Improves Dissolved Oxygen in Big Sandy

WatPrhnHv Imnrnx/pH   Polluted runoff from pasture-grazing cattle caused abnormally high
VVdlWI UUUy impiuveu   pathogen |evelsand low dissolved oxygen concentrations in Big
 Sandy River. These problems led to the state placing a 7.3-mile river segment on its 303(d) list for
 impairments in both 2002 and 2004. Using section 319 funding, farmers installed a number of best
 management practices (BMPs) on pasturelands adjoining the river's impaired segments, including
 foundations to support cattle in heavy-use areas, grade stabilization structures, pasture and hay plant-
 ing, critical area planting, livestock watering pipelines, and alternative watering structures. The BMPs
 resulted in water quality improvements in the 7.3-mile segment and its removal from the state's 2006
 303(d) list for dissolved oxygen impairments.
 Problem
 The 7.3-mile river segment is in Carroll County
 where Big Sandy River becomes Maple
 Creek. The Big Sandy River is in the Kentucky
 Lake watershed in northwestern Tennessee
 in Ecoregion 65e, a predominantly forested
 watershed. Pastures, cropland, and hay fields
 cover approximately 22 percent of the area.
 The designated use classifications for Big
 Sandy River include fish and aquatic life, irriga-
 tion, livestock watering and wildlife, and recre-
 ation. Another designated use classification of
 Big  Sandy River is as industrial water supply.

 The 7.3-mile segment was listed as impaired
 on the 2004 303(d) list for low in-stream
 dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations due to
 pasture grazing. Monitoring along Big Sandy
 River from 1999 to 2001 showed that the
 segment was not meeting criteria to support
 its most stringent designated use classifica-
 tion—recreation. It showed maximum E. co/i
 individual sample values that were in violation
 of the state-established criteria protective of
 the  recreation designated use classification,
 a maximum individual sample of 941 cfu/100
 ml  (Figure 1). In addition, fecal coliform values
 above the state-established criterion of 1,000
 cfu/100 ml were observed at multiple sam-
 pling stations.
A TMDL study for pathogen loads in the
Kentucky Lake watershed was established by
the Tennessee Department of Environment and
Conservation and approved by EPA in 2005.
The study allocated a 44.8 percent reduction in
pathogen loading into the Maple Creek branch
of Big Sandy River.
Project Highlights
Using a combination of 319 funding and
state funds obtained through the Agricultural
Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF), the local
Soil and Water Conservation District offices in
Carroll and Henderson counties worked with
local landowners to promote and install man-
agement practices and structures that would
both reduce pathogen runoff into Big Sandy
River and improve the landowners' operations
(Figure 2). The Chickasaw-Shiloh Resource
Conservation  & Development Program (RC&D)
and the Hatchie River Watershed Association
provided additional technical assistance and
support. The BMPs installed included (1)
foundations to support cattle and soil in heavy-
use areas, (2)  grade stabilization structures to
prevent stream bank failure, (3) pasture seed-
ing and riparian zone planting along critical
areas, and (4)  the installation of pipelines and

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other alternative water structures, including
wells and ponds, designed to keep livestock
out of streams.

The foundations and support for heavy-live-
stock-use areas (places where cattle gather for
watering and feeding) were designed to reduce
soil erosion caused by livestock usage. Critical
stream bank areas were also protected. These
water quality control measures also provide
livestock health benefits and improve area
aesthetics.

Local agriculture  agency partners (from both
USDA-RC&D and ARCF) advised landowners
on the technical design and specifications of
BMPs and provided oversight and expertise
during the installation process. Landowners
participated voluntarily, providing partial labor
and funds for the BMPs. The BMPs were
installed in the 2003-2005 period, and they
continue to help meet the load reduction allo-
cations in the 2005 TMDL.
Results
In the most recent Rapid Bioassessment
Protocol III sampling of the 7.3-mile segment
of Big Sandy River, state biologists found 12
EPT (pollutant-sensitive) genera and 47 total

Figure 1. E. co//values from 1998 to 2006.
genera of benthic macroinvertebrates. The
Tennessee Stream Condition Index (TSCI)
was used to compare subregions with a total
possible score of 42. The TSCI Index score for
the 7.3-mile segment was 40, which is in the
"very good" range and much better than  the
regional goal of 32. In addition, a diurnal (daily)
DO study was done in 2002 at mile 36.4. DO
levels stayed above 7 mg/L, which is above
the minimum standard of 5 mg/L, even during
low-flow periods. The DO data, along with the
high biological integrity scores, indicated that
the stream is meeting water quality standards,
and therefore the segment was delisted in
the 2006 cycle for DO. However, the segment
remains listed for/:, co//.
Partners and Funding
Big Sandy River has benefited from $461,566
of Clean Water Act section 319 funding. The
Tennessee State ARCF also provided $10,016.
Key partners in this effort include the Carroll
County and Henderson Soil Conservation
Districts, Chickasaw-Shiloh RC& D, and the
Hatchie River Watershed Association. Agents
of these generous partners provided techni-
cal expertise and labor. Landowners in the
Kentucky Lake watershed  contributed in-kind
labor hours and some funding.
2400'
2200'
2000'
1800'
1600'
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E 140Q.
o
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u
1000.
800'
600'
400'
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o.

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•


• 941cfu/100ml_ State Maximum Individual

•
• B
•
•x"
J&~.4....- "•• .-'^i- • -•
Sampling Sites
»BSAND012.5BN
• BSAND015.3BN
. BSAND029.7CR
XBSAND036.4CR
• BSAND045.2CR
• BSAND052.9HE

998 1999 2001 2002 2004 2005 2006
Sampling Dates
     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
     Off ice of Water
     Washington, DC

     EPA841-F-07-001N
     August 2007
For additional information contact:
Sam Marshall
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
615-837-5306
Sa m. Marsha II @state.tn. us

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