OFF-STREAM WATER SOURCES FOR GRAZING CATTLE AS A STREAM BANK STABILIZATION AND WATER QUALITY BMP
Transactions of the ASAE , 40 , 1997

Sheffield, R.E., Mostaghimi, S., Vaughan, D. H., Collins Jr., E.R., Allen, V.G.

A multi-disciplinary study was conducted to evaluate effectiveness of providing cattle with an off-stream water source (i.e., water trough) in reducing stream bank erosion and fostering water quality improvements. This study was conducted on two commercial cow-calf operations in southwest Virginia which used rotational stocking. When given the choice, cattle were observed to drink from a water trough 92% of the time, compared to the time which they spent drinking from the stream. Stream bank erosion was reduced by 77% due to installation of the alternative water source. Concentrations of total suspended solids, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus reduced by 90, 54, and 81%, respectively when an alternative water source was provided. Similar reductions were observed in concentrations of fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus. Concentrations of dissolved nutrients such as nitrate and orthophosphorus, however, were adversely affected by installation of the BMP. The study results clearly indicate that off-stream water sources for grazing cattle are effective BMPs for reducing the loss of sediment and sediment-bound pollutants to adjacent streams without resorting to stream bank fencing.