Section 319
Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Helps Restore Stream
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                               Stream channelization and non-irrigated crop production on
                               Tennessee's Crooked Creek caused erosion and physical
substrate habitat alterations. The Tennessee Department of Environment and  Conservation
(TDEC) added a 4.7-mile segment of Crooked Creek to the  state's Clean Water Act (CWA)
section 303(d) list of impaired waters in 2002. Local farmers implemented agricultural best
management practices (BMPs) including sediment control  basins, an underground outlet and
critical area plantings to improve drainage and reduce sediment. As a result, water quality
improved, prompting TDEC to  remove the creek from the state's list of impaired waters in 2008.
The Crooked Creek watershed is just north of
Huntingdon, Tennessee, in Carroll County. It flows
from the confluence of Guins Creek and empties
into the South Fork Obion River (Figure 1). The creek
is in a highly agricultural area where soil loss is pri-
marily caused by overgrazing and farming practices
on cropland.

In 2002 TDEC added a 4.7-mile segment of Crooked
Creek to Tennessee's CWA section 303(d) list for
not supporting its designated uses of fish and
aquatic life, irrigation, livestock watering and
wildlife, and recreation. In the past, landowners had
channelized Crooked Creek to help control flood-
ing and to accommodate row crops in agricultural
fields. Those actions caused  accelerated erosion
and degradation of the entire watershed. Erosion
also occurred on non-irrigated, conventionally tilled
fields of strawberries, corn, soybeans, milo and
cotton crops.
Project Highlights
Using money from both the CWA section 319
program and Tennessee's Agricultural Resources
Conservation Fund (ARCF), local farmers installed
agricultural BMPs, including no-till farming practic-
es and cover crops, which help to stabilize soil and
reduce erosion. Farmers installed four water and
sediment control basins—one in the upper reaches
of the watershed (installed in 2004 and funded
by section 319 dollars) and three more along the
4.7-mile creek segment (installed 2006-2008 and
funded by ARCF dollars). Those control basins trap
loose sediment and reduce erosion from Crooked
                                               Crooked Creek Segment TN08010203011-1000 in Carroll County, Tennessee
                                                            in the Crooked Creek Subwatershed

                                                                                A BMPs
                                                                               — Crooked Creek, TN08010203011-1000
Water and Sediment Control Basin
Underground Drain/Outlet
Water and Sediment Control Basin
Water and Sediment Control Basin
Water and Sediment Control Basin
Critical Area Planting
Pasture/Hayland Planting
Size of Practice
1 basin
780 feet
2 basins
1 basin
1 basin
3 acres
29.5 acres
                                              TN Dept of Agriculture
                                                 1.25 2.5
                                                            5 Miles
Crooked Creek, TN08010203011-1000 is delisted for
Nonirrigation Crop Production, Channelization (Sources).
Cause was Physical Substrate Habitat Alterations.
Location: from mouth at South Fork Obion River to the
confluence of Guins Creek-4.7 miles.
                                             Figure 1. Crooked Creekflows into the South Fork Obion River in
                                             western Tennessee. Landowners installed numerous BMPs in the
                                             watershed to control erosion.

Creek's exposed and eroded streambanks. The
sediment basins also improve downstream water
quality and prevent crop damage by slowing down
and retaining runoff (Figure 2). One water and sedi-
ment control basin  includes an underground outlet
pipe, which is installed underground and works in
conjunction with the basin to drain excess runoff
slowly through the soil, preventing erosion during
heavy rainstorm events.
Figure 2. Water and sediment control basins such as
this one prevent bank and gully erosion on farmland.
The runoff water is temporarily stored behind the
berm, eliminating its erosive capabilities further
down slope. The ponded water slowly flows out
through an inlet  riser pipe (center) to an underground
tile drainage network.

In  2008 farmers in the upper reaches of the
Crooked Creek watershed installed 3 acres of
critical  area planting and 29.5 acres of pasture and
hayland planting with native forage. Establishing
native forage reduces soil erosion, improves water
quality and  helps maintain livestock health.
Implementing BMPs successfully reduced ero-
sion and improved water quality.  In 2006 TDEC
performed a biological reconnaissance (biorecon)
survey on Crooked Creek. A biorecon survey is a
tool used to evaluate stream impairments as deter-
mined by species richness measures, emphasizing
the presence or absence of indicator organisms
without regard to relative abundance. The biorecon
survey score is used as a measure of compliance
with water quality standards for the beneficial use
offish and aquatic life. The  principal metrics used
are the total macroinvertebrate families (or genera);
the number of families (or genera) of mayflies,
stoneflies, and caddisflies (collectively referred to
as EPT—short for the order names Ephemeroptera,
Plecoptera and Trichoptera); and  the number of
pollution-intolerant families (or genera) found in a
stream. The biorecon survey is scored on a scale
from 1 to 15—a score of less than 5 is regarded as
very poor, while a score of more than 10 is consid-
ered good.

The biorecon documented 4 EPT families, 3 intoler-
ant, and 21 total families, which resulted in the
biorecon score of 13 out of 15 and a habitat score
of 155 out of 200. The increased  biorecon score
with the habitat score in 2006 indicate that the
headwaters of Crooked Creek are fully restored.
From the data, TDEC determined that Crooked
Creek now meets its designated  uses and removed
the 4.7-mile creek segment from the CWA section
303(d) list of impaired waters in 2008.
Partners and Funding
Projects in Crooked Creek received funding from
the CWA section 319 program ($3,884 plus addi-
tional matching funds of $1,295) and the Tennessee
ARCF ($23,139 plus matching funds of $10,358).
Key partners include the Carroll County Soil
Conservation District (which helped to implement
BMPs) and local landowners (who contributed the
majority of the in-kind match for the BMPs).
     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
     Office of Water
     Washington, DC

     February 2011
For additional information contact:
Sam Marshall
Tennessee Department of Agriculture • 615-837-5306