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Reducing Sedimentation & Nutrient Runoff into South Reelfoot Creek Through MRBI

Obion County farmer Jerry Cunningham farms 207 acres in the South Reelfoot Creek Watershed. He has both row crop and livestock with several acres of cropland bordering Kilham and Reelfoot Creeks.

Cunningham contacted the Obion County NRCS field office staff to get assistance on two in-field erosion spots and several smaller spots that were along creek banks. After discussing his conservation concerns, he decided to install 2 grade stabilization structures to address in-field erosion as well as sowing 10.8 acres of filter strips along the Kilham and Reelfoot Creeks to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into the creeks.

Jerry Cunningham Before PhotoJerry Cunningham After Photo“It was commendable for Mr. Cunningham to be agreeable to sowing grass filter strips in his crop fields especially considering the increased commodity prices. At a time when many farmers are looking to gain more cropable ground, he made reducing erosion and improving water quality his priority,” stated Matthew Denton, NRCS District Conservationist.

Jerry Cunningham During ConstructionOne grade stabilization structure was designed as a wet pool structure and a heavy use access ramp with access control fencing were installed to assist with his livestock water quantity and quality issue.

“Converting cropland along the creeks on this farm to grass will improve water quality in both Kilham and Reelfoot Creek in the South Reelfoot Creek Watershed,” stated Leon Tillman, Soil Conservationist in Union County.

In 2011, conservation practices were installed on 471 acres in Obion County through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative. Conservation practices installed on those 471 acres included nine grade stabilization structures, seven water and sediment control basins, four heavy use access ramps, 2,342 feet of pipeline, 7.9 acres of critical area planting and 10.8 acres of filter strips.

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