Public Notice: Cypress Creek – near Oakland, TN

The West Tennessee River Basin Authority and the Memphis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to address problems in the Cypress Creek watershed in Fayette County, TN. We are seeking public input to define the problems, identify concerns and develop solutions to address the needs of the watershed. Although water resource problems are common in the area, this study will focus on Cypress Creek watershed.

TITLE: Cypress Creek, near Oakland, TN

PURPOSE: Cypress Creek and its tributaries have been channelized along with most streams and rivers in West Tennessee, causing significant changes in the ecosystem. Historically, project area streams were slow moving, meandering channels with dynamic habitat complexes, stable stream beds, and stable vegetated banks that provided fish and wildlife habitat. Channelization of natural waterways generally causes impacts such as increasing the stream gradient, erosion and bank instability along with lowering of the channel. All of these effects may cause significant changes to the ecology of the stream. Currently, Cypress Creek has long straight stretches of channel with heavy flows during precipitation, little or no surface flow in dry periods, and limited floodplain to mitigate flood events. Severe erosion is causing sloughing of streambanks, lowering of the creek bed, problems with culverts that pass under roads, and sand and sediment deposition. Floodplain and bottomland hardwood forest habitat, which are important for birds and mammals have also declined due to bank instability, erosion and bank sloughing. Wildlife habitat in Cypress Creek is poor and fish movement is limited. Collapsed road crossings have interrupted traffic flow in the area and required emergency repairs.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Opportunities to stabilize the streambanks and restore habitat for a variety of species are being studied.

No specific plans have been developed for addressing the problems in the Cypress Creek watershed; however, some practices have been used successfully in other area streams and are being investigated for application in the project area. Possible actions include construction of weirs to stabilize the streambed and banks, reestablishment of stream meanders, and restoration of bottomland hardwood forest. Weirs to stabilize the streambed and banks will likely be necessary regardless of other actions. Weirs are rock structures placed in the bottom of the stream channel to prevent the streambed from eroding. They usually rise about one third of the way up the bank. Bench cuts to stabilize some stream sections and increase floodplain habitat are

also being investigated. The streambanks in some areas may be reshaped to stabilize them and improve habitat.

NEXT STEPS: The US Army Corps of Engineers and the West Tennessee River Basin Authority will use the information gathered from the public, other state, local and federal agencies, field surveys, and published information to develop geographically specific alternatives, and evaluate them to determine which alternative will provide the best solution to the problems in Cypress Creek. The draft report will be made available to the public for review in 2015.

AUTHORITY: The United States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure adopted a resolution on March 7, 1996, which provides the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to undertake the study.

Memphis Metro Area

The Secretary of the Army review the report of the Chief of Engineers on the Wolf River and Tributaries, Tennessee and Mississippi, published as House Document Numbered 76, Eighty-fifth Congress, and other pertinent reports, to determine whether any modifications of the recommendations contained therein are advisable at this time, with particular reference to the need for improvements for flood control, environmental restoration, water quality, and related purposes associated with storm water runoff and management in the metropolitan Memphis, Tennessee area and tributary basins including Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette Counties, Tennessee, and DeSoto and Marshall Counties, Mississippi. This area includes the Hatchie River, Loosahatchie River, Wolf River, Nonconnah Creek, Horn Lake Creek, and Coldwater River Basins. The review shall evaluate the effectiveness of existing Federal and non-Federal improvements, and determine the need for additional improvements to prevent flooding from storm water, to restore environmental resources, and to improve the quality of water entering the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

COMMENTS OR REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you have comments, concerns or questions about this project please contact us at the address below. If you would just like to receive updates as the project moves forward, send us a note with your email address and we will add you to the list for future mailings. You can also find project information at: http://www.mvm.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/MemphisMetro.aspx. Please send us your comments by November 24, 2014.

ATTN: Andrea Carpenter
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
167 North Main Street, Room B-202 Memphis, Tennessee 38103-1894
Phone: (901) 544-0817
Email: Andrea.L.Carpenter@usace.army.mil

ATTN: David Salyers
West Tennessee River Basin Authority 3628 East End Drive Humboldt, TN 38343
Phone: (731) 784-8173

Email: David.Salyers@tn.gov