Confirmation of Riparian Friendly Grazing Project Results and Development of Achievable, Site Specific Reference Conditions for Grazed Riparian Areas

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $93,184.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $12,726.00
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Kenneth Tate
University of California Davis

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine, sheep


  • Animal Production: mineral supplements, range improvement, grazing - rotational, watering systems
  • Crop Production: continuous cropping
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, indicators, riverbank protection, wetlands, wildlife
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems


    Our objective was to identify grazing management to enhance riparian health on meadow streams. We collaborated with 35 ranchers and numerous agencies to survey grazing management and stream macroinvertebrates across grazed and non-grazed meadow streams in California. Results illustrate that active implementation of simple livestock distribution tools, such as herding and salting away from streams, is associated with increased riparian health. Negative riparian impacts attributable to livestock grazing can be overcome with technically simple techniques. Our results also show that stream characteristics such as substrate size must be considered when establishing aquatic habitat based riparian health targets in grazed systems.

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1: Confirm the potential for site-specific grazing management practices to enhance important riparian health metrics, clearly documenting the potential for sustainable riparian grazing.
    Objective 2: Develop a protocol to establish achievable, site-specific expectations for riparian health, which provides grazing managers with riparian health targets.

    Objective 3: Extend the riparian grazing management recommendations developed from this work to private and public land grazing managers, as well as to regulatory and natural resources agencies.

    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.