Streams, ponds, and lake banks are all susceptible to the same types of damage from livestock. Sediment from eroded banks due to hoof traffic entering waterways covers fish spawning gravels, smothers eggs, clogs fish gills, and changes water temperatures and degrades overall water quality.
Streams, ponds, and lakes are also susceptible to an over accumulation of certain nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, that can be found in livestock manure and soil from eroded banks. These high levels of certain nutrients can cause excessive aquatic plant ground and algae blooms. As aquatic plants and algae decay, they consume oxygen, resulting in decreased oxygen levels in the waterway. Reduced oxygen levels can increase fatalities in fish and other aquatic organisms.
Livestock manure also contain bacteria and viruses, which in high quantities can contaminate drinking water, shellfish growing areas, and public use areas for swimming and fishing.
One option to employ to restrict livestock from water bodies, but still allow access to this water as a drinking source, is to install nose pumps. Nose pumps provide on-demand drinking water for livestock, while at the same time, allow you fence livestock off from the waterbody to protect water quality and habitat.
There is no rental fee associated with the nose pump, but a $50 refundable deposit is required. To reserve the nose pump or for more information, contact your area’s farm program specialist. If you try the nose pump and decide this system is right for you, PCD’s Farm Team may be able to work with you to secure funding for your purchase of this new equipment.