5 Impacts of Livestock on Watershed Health

Poor grazing system management can negatively impact sensitive riparian areas and the health of the watershed as a whole. Here are 5 impacts livestock can have on the watershed.

  1. Soil compaction from trampling reduces the infiltration of rain water and spring runoff into the ground, which results in increased erosion and flooding.
  2. Trampling and overgrazing of willows and other bank stabilizing vegetation damages sensitive riparian area plants, reduces the overall amount of vegetation, and changes the types of plants found in the area.
  3. An excess of livestock feces contaminating the water and soil leads to reduced water quality, increased nutrient overload causing algae blooms, and increased potential for the presence of E. coli.
  4. Trampling can increase exposed soil in riparian areas resulting in erosion of banks and sedimentation of the water.
  5. Introduction or spread of invasive weeds, which results in a loss of biodiversity. Biodiversity loss can change physical aspects of watersheds such as surface hydrology and regeneration of ground water.

Stay tuned for our next post: 5 Ways to Keep Your Watershed and Livestock Healthy