Sustainable Grazing Management in Riparian and Wetland Pasture

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2016: $15,237.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Grant Recipient: Coos Soil and Water Conservation District
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Caley Sowers
Coos Soil and Water Conservation District

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: general hay and forage crops, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational, housing, stocking rate, watering systems, winter forage, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, decision support system, demonstration, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wetlands, wildlife, carbon sequestration
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The Coos Soil and Water Conservation District is pursuing funding to host a training course designed to
    expand the proficiency of local natural resources professionals pertaining to sustainable wetland and riparian grazing; with coursework specific to our Coquille Watershed, but applicable to many operations in the Pacific Northwest, especially along the Oregon coast. The intent of this course/training is to facilitate the application of the principles and practices of riparian-compatible livestock grazing by establishing a foundation of understanding of the natural biological processes and controls in regards to ameliorating impacts on the landscape, and the multiple benefits which riparian habitat and wetlands provide. The target audience is our local natural resources professionals, including: OSU Extension Service faculty, watershed councils, Coquille Tribe, SWCDs, NRCS; state and federal agency personnel from the BLM, USFWS, ODF&W; and local agricultural producers. Participants of the training will visit an actual local grazing operation, and will work in teams to put together grazing management plans designed to achieve selected riparian objectives. The livestock operations visited for the field portions of the course will have riparian and wetland resources typical of our region. Attendees will develop riparian resource objectives based on fishery and water quality goals as well as applicability within the landscape, and design grazing management strategies that are both practical for the producer and foster sustainable conditions. Collaborative planning, problem solving, communication, understanding of multiple-use ideologies and the need for focused monitoring and adaptive management will all be emphasized, along with success through operator commitment.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. By improving the understanding of tools, concepts, thought processes, and principles of sustainable wetland and riparian grazing, natural resources professionals will be better able to work with principles of sustainable wetland and riparian grazing, natural resources professionals will be better able to work with other individuals, groups, and agencies to develop, teach, and implement successful grazing management strategies.

    Objective 2. To develop two demonstrational areas on actual livestock operations which will model on-the-ground best management practices for both livestock and wildlife use of riparian areas.

    Objective 3. To instill a foundational understanding of the ecological services which healthy riparian zones and wetland areas provide, and best management practices necessary to sustainably use these areas for livestock grazing.

    Objective 4. To provide a hands-on learning experience in which participants of the course will be given an actual livestock operation situation, and using a collaborative adaptive management approach, design grazing management alternatives to achieve riparian objectives.

    Objective 5. To create a forum in which natural resources professionals; state and federal agency personnel; and local agricultural producers can explore the various influencing factors surrounding sustainability of grazing in sensitive riparian and wetland areas.

    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.