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The Effects of Backwater Flooding on Aquatic Health in the Yazoo Backwater Area from Low Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations
Proceedings of the 2020 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2020 Authors: Johnson B.S.


Dissolved Oxygen (DO) has long served as one of the primary indicators of aquatic health in aquatic ecosystems. The EPA has defined adequate concentrations of DO for fish to be greater than 5.0 mg/L for warm water streams. A water quality monitoring program was initiated in 2004 in the Yazoo Backwater Area (YBA) by the Vicksburg District which extended through 2019. The program documented the reduction in DO in the lower Steele Bayou and Big Sunflower Basins for prolonged periods during backwater flood events. For the first few weeks of a typical backwater flood, diffusion becomes the principal mechanism for oxygen transfer into the water column at the surface. This DO transfer condition compounded with the increase Sediment Oxygen Demand (SOD) exerted on the unmixed water closer to the bottom allows for severe DO depletion. Because of this, limited fish species diversity has been observed in the YBA.

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