Management, Impact and Economics of Beef Cattle Grazing in Mountain Riparian Ecosystems

Final Report for SW97-010

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1997: $105,400.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $134,065.00
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Patrick A. Momont
Univ. of ID, Dept. of Animal & Vet. Sci.
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Project Information

Abstract:

[Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables and figures that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact Western SARE at 435-797-2257 or wsare@ext.usu.edu.]

The first year of a two-year replicated study investigating the effects of cattle grazing in a mountain meadow on the riparian ecosystem was completed. Cattle grazing and “riparian health” issues are currently at the forefront of public and rancher concerns in the Northwest. A ballot initiative in Oregon proposed that cattle be fenced out of all riparian areas located in critical habitat stream segments. In southwest Idaho, the current BLM Resource Management Plan proposes a 35 percent reduction in AUMs that would eliminate cattle grazing in those allotments after July 15 to reduce the impacts of cattle grazing on riparian areas. Research findings and the demonstrative value of this study are timely and extremely important to ranchers, as well as recreationalists, environmentalists and agency personnel. The critical need for this type of project is evidenced by the number of stakeholders that have become cooperators.

Site construction, forage evaluation, riparian, transitional zone and upland bioassessment, water quality analysis, cattle performance and behavior, site mapping, economic analyses, and field days have been completed. The treatments consisted of grazing with turnout of cattle into the riparian pastures occurring on two separate dates (early turnout early July and mid-August in 1998 and 1999). Each year treatments were replicated 3 times for a total of 9 pastures that provided visual across-fence comparisons (three pastures each of early turnout, late turnout, and no cattle grazing control). The project was designed to evaluate the economic impacts of cattle grazing management on ranches in the Pacific Northwest.

Cattle behavior and distribution, cow/calf performance, forage utilization, riparian bioassessments, and greenline data were recorded and are in the processing phase. Initial observations indicate that cattle grazing occurring at the separate turnout dates effected the riparian ecosystems differently. Wet and soft riparian soil structures appeared more susceptible to cattle grazing during the early turnout period, however cattle appeared to spend less time in the actual riparian area than the late turnout period. Implementation of early summer grazing of riparian areas into a grazing management system has proved to be very effective in altering the distribution and vegetation utilization patterns of cattle grazing a riparian area and its adjacent uplands along the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains. During early summer, when forage quantity and composition are not limiting and ambient air temperatures are low, livestock distribution patterns are more evenly distributed and vegetation utilization patterns are more uniform. During late summer, ambient air temperatures increase, forage DM increases, livestock distance from the stream decreases, and fecal deposits within 1 m of the stream increase. These factors, in turn, may lead to increased riparian area vegetation utilization and woody browse, and increased bank trampling. As long as early use does not cause problems due to wet saturated soils, early summer grazing of riparian areas may be less detrimental to riparian areas due to improved livestock distribution and more uniform vegetation use.

Dissemination of information through field days, popular press articles, and stakeholder meetings has been ongoing and requests for summary information are numerous. This project has provided an excellent basis for creating an expanding level of public interest, educational platforms, and producer involvement.

Project Objectives:

1. Integrate cattle grazing methods and physical factors of mountain riparian ecosystems into a ranching model that demonstrates sustainable natural resource use.

2. Conduct range and riparian monitoring and bioassessments of mountain riparian ecosystems to determine the impacts of livestock grazing.

3. Determine economic implications of alternative grazing management to improve the ecological condition of riparian areas.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Tim Delcurto
  • Mike McInnis
  • Jim McIver
  • Neil R. Rimbey
  • John Tanaka

Research

Research results and discussion:

Objective 1. Integrate cattle grazing methods and physical factors of mountain riparian ecosystems into a ranching model that demonstrates sustainable natural resource use.

In 1996 and 1997 our research team took an interdisciplinary approach in examining how off-stream water and salting affected the distribution of cattle in the mountainous regions of the West. The findings and methods in that study have been peer reviewed by both academia and agency professionals. The ensuing feedback and commentary have been a key component in refining our further examination of cattle distribution. A diverse team of researchers with various backgrounds along with two new graduate students carried out the second phase of the grazing project under the SARE funding.

Our focus for this two-year study was the examination of seasonal grazing on riparian pastures. We were looking to see if the timing of grazing could be used as a management tool to enhance riparian health, while simultaneously benefiting ranching as a way of life in the West. To accomplish this, scientists and graduate students from Oregon State University and University of Idaho’s Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service and the Pacific Northwest Research Station (USDA, Forest Service) organized to take an interdisciplinary approach to this perplexing and contentious issue.

Using Oregon State University’s Hall Ranch in Union, Oregon, our team developed and implemented a study design that simulates a Western ranching operation. A randomized three-block design of nine pastures was created, with each pasture containing a riparian habitat and its associated stream segment. We elected to analyze early spring and late summer grazing periods. In each period, three of the nine pastures were grazed for 28 days at moderate stocking levels. The three remaining pastures were used as ungrazed controls. A number of environmental and animal characteristics were measured before and after each grazing period to assess any change in riparian health and/or beef production attributed to our management practices.

The Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center’s Hall Ranch of Oregon State University serves as the study site. The Hall Ranch is located in the Cathrine Creek drainage northeast of Union, Oregon, which is spawning habitat for migrating salmon. A salmon-rearing stream (Milk Creek) runs lengthwise through the demonstration/research site and drains into Cathrine Creek. This study site ranges in elevation from 4100 to 4900 feet. Soils originate from two dominant parent materials: 1) silt-sized volcanic ash originating from Mount Mazama eruptions and 2) basalt. Vegetation groups are grand fir (abies grandis) forest on the north slopes, mixed conifer forest, wet meadow, and riparian. Dominant plant species are grand fir, douglas fir (Psudotsuga menziesii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), ocean spray (Holodisus discolor), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), pine grass (Calamagrostis rubescens), elk sedge (Cares geyeri), and Kentucky bluegrass (poa pratensis). Fall and spring environments typically are cool and moist, while summers are hot and dry. Precipitation averages 66 centimeters annually with 60% occurring during the winter period. Snow is common and may be continuous in winter with accumulations in excess of one meter possible. Temperatures commonly range from -18°C (winter) to 38°C (summer).

During each grazing period, 8 days of intensive observations were conducted to continuously monitor cattle distribution cycles and foraging behavior. This was attained through hourly field recordings on each animal’s location within each pasture and was accompanied by data gathered from continual feeding recorders (vibracorders) worn by the animals. In order to estimate any changes in cattle production, each animal was weighed and body condition scored before and after each grazing period. With these data and collected forage quality samples, we can observe the linkages between changing production levels, cattle distribution, and seasonal forage availability.

The researchers found that as the grazing season progressed along with increased daytime temperatures and decreased forage quality, the average livestock distance from the stream decreased (Figure 2). The cattle grazing riparian areas later in the summer spent a greater portion of the day loafing near the stream accompanied with a greater number of fecal deposits within 1 meter of the stream (a measure of livestock concentration or density). Under certain conditions this could result in riparian area degradation due to increased utilization of riparian forages, bank trampling and greater woody vegetation use.

On the positive side, results from this study indicate that early summer grazing of riparian areas has decreased impacts on riparian areas due to improved livestock distribution and less time loafing near the stream. The increase in distribution is most likely due to lower daytime temperatures (Figure 3) along with higher moisture content of the early season forage (Table 1).

Implementation of early summer grazing of riparian areas into a grazing management system has proved to be very effective in altering the duration, distribution, and vegetation utilization patterns of cattle grazing a riparian area and its adjacent uplands along the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains (Figures 4 and 5). During early summer, when forage quantity and composition are not limiting and ambient air temperatures are low, livestock distribution patterns are more evenly distributed and vegetation utilization patterns are more uniform (Table 2). During late summer, ambient air temperatures increase, forage DM increases, livestock distance from the stream decreases, and fecal deposits within 1 m of the stream increase (Table 3). These factors, in turn, may lead to increased riparian area vegetation utilization and woody browse, and increased bank trampling. As long as early use does not cause problems due to wet saturated soils, early summer grazing of riparian areas may be less detrimental to riparian areas due to improved livestock distribution and more uniform vegetation use.

Based on these observations, managers may make better management decisions using factors like off-stream water sources, herding of cattle during the heat of the day, and providing alternative shade sources for cattle during the late summer grazing period. These actions may achieve more uniform cattle distribution and vegetation utilization patterns. While these are potential management alternatives, management must remain aware of the forces in a particular system that are driving livestock distribution patterns and implement decisions accordingly. Factors such as shade, time of day, time of year, location and availability of water, temperature, vegetation types, and forage quality and quantity, or a combination of these factors, influence livestock distribution patterns and subsequent vegetation utilization patterns.

Rangelands and riparian areas are dynamic systems and are constantly changing, thus making management decisions a daily activity. This variability necessitates the need for adaptive management aimed at meeting environmental goals, while still achieving ranch or management economic goals. Continued, focused research is needed in order to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics and interactions of these variable and ever changing riparian systems.
This research group expects to combine these results with previous studies to design compatible grazing systems that will allow sustained use of these important natural resources.

Technical publications are included in the appendices of this report along with other citations and reprints which are available upon request.

Objective 2. Conduct range and riparian monitoring and bioassessments of mountain riparian ecosystems to determine the impacts of livestock grazing.

Environmental assessment of alternative grazing periods included greenline, geomorphology, and macroinvertebrate variables, analyzed separately and in an integrated fashion. Data collection was undertaken between June and September 1998 and 1999.

Researchers have employed a series of new techniques for improved stream assessment and monitoring. We have made an effort to capture the system dynamics that are naturally inherent in our study design, so that we may speak more confidently about our observations. Our graduate students have tailored their programs of study to match our project needs and reviewed numerous literature in this field. They have applied new advancements in stream monitoring and water quality analysis to our study. Some of this year’s initial raw data have even been presented to a number of university specialists in various fields by our graduates, so they can skillfully convey its information in their final analysis. These improvements, along with others, will allow us to gain a better understanding of how cattle impact surface water quality and influence changes in aquatic populations.

Greenline vegetation is defined as the first perennial vegetation above the stable low water line of a stream or water body. The composition, distribution, amount, and ecological condition of greenline vegetation influences sediment capture, erosion, streambank stability, water quality, and habitat for aquatic and riparian organisms. Removal of greenline vegetation or mechanical bank damage reduces the structural stability of the stream channel. The purpose of this study was to compare the impacts of early season (June-July) and late season (August-September) grazing on greenline vegetation and stream bank stability.

Streambank stability and cover was measured following protocol of EPA (1993). Streambank stability (“stable” and “unstable”), and streambank cover (“covered” and “uncovered”) was measured to the nearest 0.5 m along each side of Milk Creek within each treatment pasture before and after each grazing period. “Unstable” banks were further partitioned into four categories: (a) “breakdown” if there were obvious blocks of banks broken away and lying in the creek adjacent to bank breakage; (b) “slumping” if the bank had obviously slipped down; (c) “fracture” if a crack was visible on the bank indicating the block was about to slump or break off into the stream; and (d) “vertical and eroding” if the bank angle was steeper than 80 degrees from the horizontal. When none of these conditions were observed, the bank was classified as “stable.”

Streambanks were also classified as “covered” or “uncovered.” A “covered” streambank showed any of the following conditions: (a) perennial vegetation ground cover was greater that 50%; (b) roots of vegetation covered more than 50% of the bank; (c) at least 50% of the bank surface was protected by rocks of cobble-size or larger; and (d) at least 50% of the bank surface was protected by logs four inches in diameter or larger. When none of these criteria were met the bank was classified “uncovered.”

Data from the late-season grazing period (August-September) are being compiled and summarized. Data from early-season (June-July) grazing are summarized below. The proportion of greenline impacted by livestock (defined as the presence of hoof prints) following early-season grazing was 33.6%, 20.9% and 33.4%, for blocks 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Cattle-impacted greenline was further grouped into four classes (Table 4).

Greenline vegetation cover and bank stability classes were combined to form the following groups: (1) “non-erosional” was considered to be “covered” and “stable”; (2) “vulnerable” was either “uncovered” and “stable” or “covered” and “unstable”; and (3) an “erosional” category was assigned to “uncovered” and “unstable” greenline. Tables 5 and 6 show the proportion of each category before and after early-season grazing.

For the third consecutive year the extent to which different cattle management systems influence moth species diversity and abundance was conducted. Moths are an important component of biodiversity in most terrestrial systems – they are one of the most abundant groups of herbivores of various species of plants, serve as an important food source for many vertebrate predators, and perform some pollination services. Over 375 species of moths within the treatment units at the Hall ranch study site have been collected, which makes up over 60% of the total species in the Blue Mountain area. Significant effects for a number of species in terms of habitat (upland vs. riparian) and season (May through September) have been detected but no systematic patterns of treatment effect (late vs. early turnout of cattle) were determined.

During the field season of 1998, the fitness of individual caddis fly pupae (Glossosoma) was studied to determine the effects of season, habitat and cattle grazing treatment. This species of caddis fly is an algae grazer and is a relatively sensitive indicator of changes in water quality, being typically found in fairly pristine stream systems. Weight of individual caddis flies is reflective of its fitness, and in female will influence egg production. Results so far indicate a strong difference in habitat for caddis fly pupal weight, with sunny stream segments being more favorable. Cattle grazing practices did not effect pupal weights.

Bioassessment: Stream bank cover and stability

Inappropriate cattle management can contribute to declines in riparian community stability by removing protective vegetation and increasing bank instability through trampling. The purpose of this portion of the study is to compare grazing treatment effects on greenline vegetation and bank stability.

Measurements of streambank cover and stability followed protocol of Platts et al. (1983) as modified by Bauer and Burton (1993). Streambank cover (rated either “covered” or “uncovered”) and stream bank stability (rated either “stable” or “unstable”) was measured by pacing each side of Milk Creek and recording the appropriate cover and stability class within plots defined lengthwise as a step (0.5 m) taken parallel to the stream. Plot width was defined as the vegetative greenline located below the bankful level but above the scour line (Bauer and Burton 1993). Number of plots of the various cover/stability classes were tallied and converted to m/100 m of streambank. Additionally, each plot was examined for the presence of hoof prints. When one or more was found, the plot was recorded as “cattle present.” Measurements were taken within each treatment before and after cattle grazing.

Streambanks were considered covered if they contained any of the following features: perennial vegetation ground cover greater than 50%; roots of deeply rooted vegetation such as shrubs or sedges covered more than 50% of the bank; at least 50% of the bank surface protected by rocks of cobble size or larger; and at least 50% of the bank surface protected by logs of four inches diameter or larger (Bauer and Burton 1993). Otherwise banks were rated “uncovered.” Banks within each plot were rated “stable” unless they exhibited any of these features: blocks of bank broken away and lying adjacent to the bank breakage; bank sloughed into stream channel; bank cracked and about to move into stream. Otherwise, banks were rated “unstable.” Observed plots will be grouped into four classes: covered/stable; covered/unstable; uncovered/stable; and uncovered/unstable.

Objective 3. Determine economic implications of alternative grazing management to improve the ecological condition of riparian areas.

The graduate student at Oregon State University is completing his Master’s thesis to evaluate the economic benefits and costs associated with the seasonal use of riparian pastures and off-stream water and salting. This student is developing a method to evaluate these two grazing “Best Management Practices” at the ranch level. He has met with local farm and resource agencies to discuss our study, and has found that both ranchers and agency personnel are seeking economic information upon which to base ranching decisions in light of increasing public pressure for agricultural conservation measures. His goal is to provide a readily available, comprehensible publication that ranch managers and government agencies can look to for information upon which to base their management strategies.

In the Classroom

This project has provided a unique opportunity for our graduate students. The students assigned to this study were able to utilize their summer fieldwork in class reports, presentations, and analytical exercises. This increased exposure of our project to other trained academics and professionals has refined a number of our data collection and analytic techniques. Through discussion and critique, our study has not only improved its procedures, but it has also enriched the classroom experience of graduates studying at both the University of Idaho and Oregon State University. Our attention to environmental assessment has benefited the most through this broadened peer exposure.

Presentations

Work on the project was presented at Oregon State University’s 1999 Annual Graduate Student Conference. The Graduate Student Association of Oregon State sponsors a university-wide conference, showcasing the diverse research of OSU graduate students. Jeff Sharp presented our work in a special session of the program titled “It Takes a Village to Raise a Fish,” which highlighted multidisciplinary research addressing issues of Oregon’s declining anadromous fish populations. Our findings on the economic feasibility of our project was presented at the Society for Range Management 2000 Annual Meeting in Boise, Idaho.

Refined Photographic Documentation

We have greatly improved upon the photo documentation of our grazing management. Over a hundred photos were systematically taken to record before and after conditions of each grazed pasture. Many of the images illustrate a dramatic difference in forage composition before and after each grazing period. The digitized images will be useful in future media presentations of this project.

Improved Sampling and Data Collection Methods

Early presentation and discussion of our environmental assessment methods to our peers in the classroom and one-on-one has prompted us to refine our sampling and data collection procedures. We expanded our water quality sampling methods to include a procedure that will examine the variability of our fecal coliform collection practices. We also employed the use of a digital velocity meter to more accurately calculate estimated stream flow. A detailed analysis of our water quality data was conducted, however initial analysis suggests that grazing cattle along riparian corridors early in the season has less of a net effect on water quality. The difference between seasons is slight and varies with each parameter analyzed and year measured. Further analysis of the data is warranted. Table 7 provides a simple synopsis of how each grazing season influenced each water quality parameter.

In order to understand how temperature influences our cattle’s distribution, we employed the use of continuous recording temperature loggers into our data collection procedures. We utilized four temperature loggers; one in the riparian area, one in the open meadow, one in the upland trees, and one placed directly into the creek. The recorded data will be used to illustrate how cattle distribute themselves from the stream with a rise and fall in ambient air temperature.

Integration of Modeling and Data Analysis

In recent years our group has focused our research on methods to improve cattle distribution in riparian pastures. A mathematical programming model has been developed by one of our students that will integrate our work over the past four years. A bio-economic model will simultaneously analyze the long-term economic feasibility of seasonal grazing and off-stream water development in the riparian zone. The model will be asked to choose the most appropriate management strategy under various natural and economic conditions.

Research conclusions:

The project has generated wide enthusiasm among numerous clientele groups that have concerns over cattle grazing in riparian areas. The money provided by SARE/ACE has led to other funding sources and a commitment by the universities in Oregon and Idaho to continue this effort. A “snowball” effect has occurred, with commodity groups and individuals becoming involved after they recognized the benefits of this cooperative project. With new stakeholder groups participating, the pathways for disseminating information from this study have increased.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:

Three field days have occurred at the site, with approximately 190 ranchers, allied industry representatives, recreationalists, university faculty, and agency personnel attending. The field days occurred as cattle were grazing and data were being collected. Comments from the participants were highly favorable in regard to the project. After the tour, requests for more detailed information from the study were requested. Results have been presented in state and local popular press, both in AP releases and more in-depth articles requested by newspapers and magazines. Three sustainable grazing/range monitoring workshops were held to initiate rancher and agency personnel into a working coalition. Classroom presentations and field demonstrations were conducted on riparian management practices and setting up monitoring sites. Results from the study were used to conduct four winter beef schools in Idaho and for public land meetings. An Idaho state congressional staff educational program was conducted to update representatives and senators on the project and explain its application to public policy decision making.

EXTENSION AND TEACHING USE OF STUDY AREA AND OTHER RELATED ACTIVITIES

“Science Findings: If you build it they will come” US Forest Service Award, Premier Forest Service Research Project. Recognition for excellence in research for USFS involvement in the ACE/SARE project.

“Greenline and aquatic biodiversity effects of an offstream cattle management study” Journal of Range Management (In progress)

“Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering,” Study site served as training ground for two high school student in the Oregon’s Saturday Academy jobs program.

Study site served as outdoor laboratory for Eastern Oregon University “PEERS” program, an NSF funded operation that introduces project oriented science learning to teachers of all grade levels.

Presentation at the Western Coordinating Committee 55 – Range Economics and Policy and Western Coordinating Committee 40 – Rangeland Ecology annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado in September. (30 people)

Presentation at Oregon Watershed Resources Research Institute symposium on Eastern Oregon Watershed Issues. (30 people and videotaped for future classes)

Tanaka, J.A., N.R. Rimbey, and A.M. Stillings. 1999. Economics of Grazing Management in Riparian Areas. In: Draft Proceedings, Grazing Land Economics and Policy – A Symposium. Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management and American Forage and Grassland Council, Omaha, Nebraska.

September 29, 1998: Tom Brannon (WSU Extension) toured study area with a group of about 35 ranchers and tribal members. Reported on our greenline study.

October 17, 1998: Toured the study area and explained our study to my rangeland resources (RNG 341) course (28 students).

Hosted Oregon Limousin Association annual meeting. Toured EOARC Union Station and Hall Ranch May 10. At Hall Ranch, discussed riparian research and management strategies for better distribution.

Attended the Riparian Conference in Corvallis May 27. Updated people on Hall Ranch research activities.

Presented overview of EOARC Union Station to the EOU Peers Education Program on June 17 and 19. Discussed Riparian Grazing Projects currently underway on the Hall Ranch.

Speaker/participant at the Range Field Day at the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range June 24. Presented paper on “Alternative Management of Beef Cattle for Economic Sustainability.”

Hosted the EOU Summer Agriculture Institute at the Hall Ranch August 6. Presented Overview of EOARC Research and Beef Cattle Production on Forested Rangelands.

Hosted Western Region Committee 104 Range Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management meetings in La Grande August 7 to 9. Reviewed research in the western United States and discussed potential for greater cooperative and coordinated research efforts.

Hosted Riparian Field Day at the Hall Ranch focusing on Riparian Grazing and Impacts in Mountain Meadows on August 21.

Attended and Committee member for Amy Stillings Defense held in La Grande September 25.

Presented two guest lectures October 7 and 9th in Corvallis for Animal Sciences 215 Beef and Dairy Industries Course. Lectures focused on Oregon’s Beef Cattle Industry and Challenges that threaten the Future.

Attended Annual Meetings of the Society of Range Management held in Guadalajara February 9 to 13th.

Attended and member of Marni Dickards Masters Defense held March 13th.

Hosted a Northeastern Oregon Advisory Group meeting relative to Oregon State University’s present and future program in NE Oregon.

Invited speaker at the Malheur Watershed Coalition at Ontario on March 19th. Presented lecture on EOARC Union Station Research and Riparian Management.

Host NE Oregon Advisory Group meeting and review final proposal for OSU in NE Oregon.

Invited speaker at the Umatilla County Steer Futurity Field Day at C&B Feedlot in Hermiston April 22. Present lecture on EOARC Union Station Research Programs.

Invited speaker at the Wallowa Resources Meeting in Enterprise on April 23. Present lecture on EOARC Union Station Research focusing on Natural Resource Issues.

Attend and participate in a workshop on permittee monitoring on USDA Forest Service Allotments. Meeting to be held in Imnaha on April 29th.

Hosted Union County Crops Tour at the Hall Ranch on June 23rd. Discussed riparian grazing strategies and results of recent research.

Union Station Field Day at the Hall Ranch focused on Sustainable Beef Cattle Production Systems on Forested Rangelands (September 2). Several of the speakers and topics derived information from SARE funded projects.

Hosted tour of Hall Ranch for the Covile Indian Tribe and Permittees’ of the Reservation.

Discussed riparian grazing systems and sustainable production concepts (September 29).
Invited lecture at the Malheur County Cattlemen’s’ Meeting in Jordan Valley November 12, 1998. Discussed riparian grazing research projects and sustainable grazing practices.

Invited lecture in Northern Alberta. Lecture focused on the Environmental Challenges Facing the Western US Beef Cattle Industry (November 16).

Publications

Dickard, M.L., T. DelCurto, P.A. Momont, N.R. Rimbey, J.A. Tanaka and M.L. McInnis. 1998. Riparian Ecosystems and Sustainable Grazing Management Strategies. J. Anim. Sci. (Submitted).

Dickard, M.L., P.A. Momont, T. DelCurto, N.R. Rimbey, J.A. Tanaka and M.L. McInnis. 1998. Offstream water and salting as management strategies for improved cattle distribution and riparian health. J. Range Mgt. (submitted).

Dickard, M.L., P.A. Momont, T. DelCurto, N.R. Rimbey, M.L. McInnis, J.A. Tanaka, A. Stillings, and C.W. Hunt. 1998. Offstream water and salting as management strategies for improved cattle distribution and riparian health. Univ. of Idaho CES and AES Annual Conf. Information Exchange Session.

Dickard, M.L., P.A. Momont, T. DelCurto, N.R. Rimbey, M.L. McInnis, J.A. Tanaka, A. Stillings, and C.W. Hunt. 1998. Offstream water and salting as management strategies for improved cattle distribution and riparian health. Society of Range Management.

Dickard, M.L., P.A. Momont, T. DelCurto, N.R. Rimbey, M.L. McInnis, J.A. Tanaka, A. Stillings, and C.W. Hunt. 1998. Offstream water and salting as management strategies for improved cattle distribution and riparian health. Society of Range Management.

Momont, P.A. 1998. Cattle grazing dispersion methods and riparian ecosystems. Western Region Sustainable Agric. Res. and Education, Final Results, ACE # 95 – 102.

“The use of offstream water and salt to improve livestock distribution and performance of cattle.” Oregon State University, Union Station Field Day: The impact of livestock grazing on forested rangelands. Union, Oregon. September 2, 1998.

“Cattle dispersion methods in mountain riparian areas” Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center Field Day, Union , Oregon. August 21, 1997.

“Cattle grazing behavior on rangelands,” SW Idaho Winter Beef Schools (5 presentations), Cambridge, Council, Marsing, Mountain Home and Emmett, January 13 - 15, 1998.

“Offstream water and salting as management strategies for improved cattle distribution and riparian health,” Idaho Congressional Staff Session, Boise, May 19, 1998.

McInnis, M.L. and J. McIver. 2000. Influence of off-stream water and salt on riparian pastures. J. Range Management. In press.

McInnis, M. and J. McIver. 2000. Off-stream water and salt reduce stream bank damage in grazed riparian pastures. In: Range Field Day Annual Report 2000. Oregon State Univ. Ag. Exp. Sta. Spec. Rep. 1018, Corvallis, OR.

McInnis, M.L. and J.D. McIver. 2000. Ecological assessment of a dispersed cattle grazing strategy. Abstracts of Papers, Society for Range Manage., Boise, ID

McInnis, M.L. and J.D. McIver. 2000. Ecological assessment of a dispersed cattle grazing strategy. Poster, Farming for Ranching and Profit, Western Section, SARE, March 2000, Portland, OR.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Farmer Adoption

Before management practices that affect livestock production and environmental sustainability are incorporated into ranch systems, the economic analysis can now be assessed to determine feasibility. As additional factors are incorporated into the economic and decision-making model this project will make greater impact and contributions to the livestock industry and the other resource users involved. Extension programs are in place to demonstrate the results of the project and requests for detailed information from the project are numerous. Comments from the clientele groups indicate that multi-disciplinary projects like this are critical to continued wise use of our natural resources.

Changes in Practice:

Requests for this type of information indicate that ranchers as well as agency personnel are extremely interested in incorporating results from this study into their resource management plans. Producers have indicated that they will begin to incorporate information from this project into their grazing management practices. Other ranchers have stated they feel justification for practices that they have already implemented. Funding is available for watershed programs on private and public lands and this information creates the framework to model where improvements will be beneficial and cost effective. Those ranchers with water systems already in place are using this information to validate their investments.

Operational Recommendations:

Off stream water and salt and late-season grazing have beneficial impacts on riparian habitat by reducing streambank trampling. However, fecal deposits and forage utilization near the stream were higher with late-season grazing.

Farmer Comments:

Ranchers have indicated that this is the type of project we should have been doing all along. They appreciate the group effort and rancher involvement. The combination of research and extension working together with various interest groups will avoid problems when it comes time to incorporate results into ranch management plans. Additional rancher comments (quotes) were included in press articles, which were sent with previous progress reports.

Producer Involvement:

Number of farmers or ranchers in attendance at:

Workshops 210
Conferences 300
Field Days 210
Other events (specify) 830
(Advisory Group Planning Meetings, school functions, training sessions, beef schools, related presentations)

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

New Hypotheses

Cattle grazing behavior in mountain riparian areas can be modified to the benefit of stream habitat in economically viable management practices.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.