2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Stream Channel Erosion on Joe's Creek, Mississippi: Implications of Anthropogenic Activity of Mississippi's Watersheds

ASHER Jr, James Dillion, Geography and Geology, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5051, dillionasher@gmail.com

Joe's Creek is located within the DeSoto National Forest and Camp Shelby Military Training Site in Perry County, Mississippi. By way of Cypress Creek it is a secondary tributary of Black Creek, Mississippi's only National Scenic River lying immediately to the south. The area is characterized by low rolling hills, extensive pine forest, and isolated forest wetlands typical of the southern Mississippi Pine Belt.

Over the last fifty years Joe's Creek has experienced extensive channel erosion that has rapidly translated upstream from its confluence with Cypress Creek. Damage to the original stream channel is evident in leaning and fallen vegetation, a soft, sandy channel bed and hanging tributaries, all terminating at an upstream knickpoint. Historical aerial photography chronicles the evolution of Joe's Creek and anthropogenic activities centered around commercial logging within the drainage basin. Field observations demonstrate the extent of damage to the main channel and smaller tributaries, the nature of local soils and alluvial deposits now exposed along the eroded stream banks, and the condition of the surrounding woodland environments in terms of vegetation prior to and after the removal of mature timber.

Increased human activity within the military training areas, road construction, and commercial logging continue to influence stream gradient changes throughout the Camp Shelby area. These changes have translated through numerous smaller tributaries feeding Black Creek, a major recreational waterway to the south of Camp Shelby. Streams within Camp Shelby and the DeSoto National Forest are of particular importance because of the rich variety of wetland environments, the special designation of Black Creek as a scenic river, and the presence of several federally protected species common to the area. Understanding the primary factors contributing to erosional stream damage in southern Mississippi will improve ongoing efforts to limit the subsequent environmental impacts associated with land use and development.