Managing Grazing in Stream Corridors
Minnesota Department of Agriculture , 2007
Stream corridors are an integral part of many grazing systems in southeastern Minnesota. Commonly, those areas within stream corridors are used for pasture because of the high risk for crop damage due to flooding and because there is a steady supply of water for livestock. The information in this publication is presented primarily for the region of southeast Minnesota, but it could easily apply to the entire region known as the Driftless Area, Major Land Resource Area 105. In addition to southeast Minnesota this area includes southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. This area has many cold water streams, those that are fed by groundwater springs. Some of the concepts presented in this publication apply to other parts of the country, but you must make adjustments when applying them in areas that diff er geologically. The results of a recently completed EPA Section 319 project indicate that there are significant positive environmental changes in streams when livestock grazing in the riparian corridor is converted from a continuous grazing form of management to that of managed rotational grazing. Th e most benefi cial changes include the change in the composition, health and vigor of the plant community on the streambanks and adjacent area, as well as the stabilization of the streambanks and subsequent improvement in the physical structure of the stream channel itself. This publication is intended to provide practical information for farmers who manage livestock in pastures that contain flowing water riparian areas. The information will help with planning a successful shift from continuous grazing to one of managed rotational grazing. It includes planning criteria, options, and situations to avoid. Much of this information is based upon the experience of the author in planning grazing systems in riparian areas in southeast Minnesota.