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Grazing Management for Healthy Riparian Areas PowerPoint Presentation
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Grazing Management for Healthy Riparian Areas

Grazing Management for Healthy Riparian Areas

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Grazing Management for Healthy Riparian Areas

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  1. Grazing Management for Healthy Riparian Areas Authors: Gene Surber, MSU Extension Natural Resources Specialist Bob Ehrhart, Research Specialist, RWRP, Univ. of Montana

  2. Introduction • Addresses principles and techniques for grazing your riparian areas • Each ranch operation is unique

  3. General Principles for Grazing Livestock in Riparian Areas • Taylor your grazing approach • Incorporate into overall plan • Select a season of use • Limit livestock time • Influence livestock time • Ensure adequate vegetation cover • Provide adequate regrowth time & rest • Take an active management role

  4. 1. Taylor your grazing approach • No “cookbook” solutions • Specific riparian objectives • Inventory • Monitoring program

  5. 2. Incorporate into overall plan • Don’t neglect the majority of the ranch • Consider impact of actions on riparian areas • What you do in riparian areas my affect your uplands – vice versa

  6. 3. Select a season of use • No one season is “best” • Dependent upon • Physical characteristics • Condition • Plant stage development • Weather • Types of animals

  7. 4. Limit livestock time • Cow/Calf pairs spend a disproportionate amount of time near the creek • Reduce time in riparian pastures

  8. 5. Influence livestock distribution • Encourage cattle to move away from the stream • Season of use • Off-stream water

  9. 6. Ensure adequate vegetation cover • How much • Type • “Adequate” – depends upon • Location • Spring runoff • Wildlife use

  10. 7. Provide adequate regrowth time & rest • Plants need rest for: • Growth • Seed development • Storage of carbohydrates

  11. 8. Active management role • On-the-ground observation • Flexibility to changing conditions

  12. Variety of techniques • Appropriate season of use for grazing riparian areas • Reducing intensity of use – distribution of livestock

  13. Determining Season of Use • The predicted response of different plant species; • The grazing impact on plant communities; and • The percent of soil moisture on the site.

  14. Early season (spring) grazing • Livestock attracted to uplands • Cool temperatures • Wet soils – may discourage use • Coarse-textured, fine-grained soils

  15. Hot-season (mid-summer) • Closely monitor – limited duration • Encourage livestock to move out • Provide opportunity for regrowth • Warm season species

  16. Late Season (fall) grazing • Herbaceous versus tree or shrub • Cool season plant communities • Off-stream water available

  17. Winter Use • Large pasture • Drainages colder than uplands • Frozen soil – to reduce compaction

  18. Techniques: reduce intensity • Influence distribution • Alternate water

  19. Influence livestock distribution • Troughs dug into hillsides – covered with dirt • Stable access points to water

  20. Influence livestock distribution • Side bars • Gravel • Simple bridge

  21. Influence livestock distribution • Placement of salt and minerals • Improve upland forage

  22. Influence livestock distribution • Extended plant rest • Riding

  23. Influence livestock distribution • Drift fences or other obstacles

  24. Influence livestock distribution • Turn-in location • Small pastures • Closer management control

  25. Influence livestock distribution • Fencing • Restoration • Protect streambanks • Rehabilitation

  26. Influence livestock distribution • Permanent fencing • No fence options • Water gaps