Equestrian-Related Water Quality Best Management Practices
City of San Juan Capistrano, CA , 2004
Although horse wastes (manure, urine and soiled bedding) are organic, biodegradable materials, many of their physical, biological and chemical properties (such as sediment, phosphorous, nutrients, and bacteria) can be detrimental to water quality and can adversely affect human health and aquatic life in water bodies. Many of the nutrients ingested by horses return to the environment in feces and urine. When carried by runoff to streams and lakes, excessive amounts of these same nutrients can stimulate unwanted algae blooms in creeks and streams, causing a decrease in dissolved oxygen in water, which stifles aquatic life. Some activities, such as heavy grazing or pasture use, remove the soil’s vegetative cover and can expose the soil surface. Exposed soil is easily transported by runoff to streams and creeks, and excessive sediment can fill pools, smother aquatic habitats, and cover food supplies. Bacteria, such as fecal coliform, are present in horse manure. As previously discussed, the Regional Boards have listed fecal coliform as a pollutant of concern because it is an indicator of potential viruses and pathogens that cause swimmer-associated sickness in water bodies. Chemicals used during horse grooming and shelter/living area maintenance may cause adverse health effects to humans and are toxic to aquatic life. This publication discusses runoff BMPs, erosion control BMPs, bacteria/nutrient transportation prevention BMPs, and general housekeeping BMPs.