Determining Cost-Effectiveness of Best Management Practices in Sustainable Watershed Management: A Decision-Making Tool for Restoring Bullrun Creek

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2004: $9,910.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Federal Funds: $8,000.00
Grant Recipient: University of Tennessee
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Joanne Logan
University of Tennessee

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, rye, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - rotational, manure management, pasture renovation, preventive practices, watering systems
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: decision support system, display, focus group, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, grass waterways, habitat enhancement, indicators, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wildlife
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The Bullrun Creek Watershed is a long, narrow tract in northeastern Tennessee, and has been identified by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as impaired. The major contributor of pollution is runoff from degraded pastures, which has resulted in sedimentation and siltation, habitat alteration, and the presence of pathogens in the creek (TDEC, 2002). Concerns over the deteriorating water quality invoked the formation of the Bullrun Creek Restoration Initiative (BCRI), a proactive group of stakeholders interested in restoring the water quality of Bullrun Creek through the introduction of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Methods used in this study will determine water quality based on physical, biological and chemical data of the Bullrun Creek. Water quality, land use, and geographic data will be cataloged using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which will assist in the location and prioritization of target BMP sites. The goal is to utilize the illustrative data to develop appropriate BMPs for each target site, while maintaining economic feasibility. Effective watershed management regimes mandate cost-effective, goal-oriented and environmentally appropriate constructs to ensure realization of increased water quality. Using SWAT analysis, BMP analysis and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service cost list, the most effective BMP scenarios will be presented to the BCRI. This will aid the BCRI in the adoption of a watershed management plan, which can be supported to achieve the total pollution reduction goal for Bullrun Creek.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Water Quality Sampling in Bullrun Creek

    Water samples from eight target sites in the watershed will be collected and analyzed quarterly and following storm events in order to assess spatial and temporal trends for the entire watershed, and to assess the viability of existing restoration efforts.

    BMP Effectiveness in Bullrun Watershed

    Reductions in Sediment, Nitrogren, and Phosphorus Loadings from Land-use changes resulting from current BMP implementation in Bullrun Watershed will be modeled using IPSI (Integrated Pollution Source Identification). This will help us identify the BMPs that result in the greatest reductions of loading potentials.

    Scenarios of BMP Implementation across the Bullrun Watershed

    Evaluation and selection of varying BMP scenarios will be chosen for practicality, efficacy, cost-efficiency and overall optimality.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.