Location: Running Reelfoot Bayou is the main outlet of Reelfoot Lake. It flows south from the lake for nearly 20 miles and into the Obion River in northwest Tennessee in Lake, Obion, and Dyer Counties.
Description: The original project provides flood control around Reelfoot Lake. This project will analyze methods that restore aquatic and floodplain habitat that is complimentary to the flood control project.
Issues: Channel degradation, lack of riparian and floodplain habitat, loss of bottomland hardwood forests. Downstream flooding is also occurring because the channel has lost capacity.
Importance: This project would restore aquatic and floodplain habitat along a 20-mile corridor from Reelfoot Lake and Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge to the Obion River. The National Park Service lists Reelfoot Lake as a Threatened National Natural Landmark. There are two National Wildlife Refuges adjacent to the proposed study area. The lake is home to a large wintering population of bald eagles and is a significant stopover for many species of waterfowl along the Mississippi Flyway.
Risk: Running Reelfoot Bayou will continue to degrade and habitat will not improve without a project. Downstream flooding will also continue and may increase.
Consequence: If a project were not implemented, the nation would miss the opportunity to improve the ecosystem in a unique corridor connecting the Mississippi River to Reelfoot Lake. Flood damages to agricultural cropland will also continue.
Activities for FY 21: Initiate the study and sign the Feasibility Study Cost Sharing Agreement and begin coordination with other federal agencies and stakeholders.
Project Sponsor: West Tennessee River Basin Authority (WTRBA).
Congressional Interest: Senate Blackburn and Hagerty (TN). House: Kustoff (TN-08)