Water quality in fenced and unfenced stream reaches flowing through grazed pastures in the Southern Piedmont
Matthews, Monte Kent
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Although it is known that cattle can have a negative impact on streams, information on this issue is lacking in the southeastern USA. This study was conducted to determine the long-term effects of stream fencing on stream water quality. Baseflow and storm flow samples were taken from fenced and unfenced reaches of two S. Piedmont streams. Samples were analyzed for DRP, TP, E. coli, and TSS. Global Positioning System collars were used to track cattle and determine the amount of time spent within the stream. Results show that cattle can spend up to 28% of their time within the riparian area each day. E. coli loads were a significant baseflow contribution from both unfenced reaches (p-value 0.057). Although DRP, TP, and TSS loads were significant storm flow contributions to both fenced and unfenced stream reaches, only one unfenced reach was significantly larger in pollutants than the fenced reach (p<0.05).