THE EFFECTS OF STREAM FENCING AND WATER TROUGHS ON CATTLE MOVEMENT PATTERNS AND STREAM WATER QUALITY
Georgia Water Resources Conference , 2003

Matthews, M.K., Cabrera, M.L., Franklin, D.H., Radcliffe, D.E., Andrae, J.G., Calvert II, V.H., Hatcher, K.J.

Information about cattle impact on streams is limited in the southeastern United States. This study is being conducted to determine the effects of stream fencing and use of water troughs on stream water quality in the Georgia Piedmont. Base flow and storm flow samples are taken and analyzed for N, P, E. coli, total sediments, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Global Positioning System collars are used to track cattle and determine the amount of time spent within the stream riparian area. Results from the first year of the study showed that the amount of time cattle spent in riparian areas (over 10%) was positively correlated with daily maximum air temperature (r 2 = 0.92). Additional results reveal that the concentration of E. coli in base flow samples was higher in unfenced than in fenced streams, and also showed a positive relationship with the time cattle spent in riparian areas. Maximum dissolved reactive P concentrations in storm flow were higher in unfenced than in fenced streams. Removing water troughs from the pasture resulted in an immediate increase in the amount of time cattle spent near the streams.