One of the bigger challenges for every farmer is assuring that adequate safe water is available for livestock. However, the risks to the environment are significant if livestock are left to linger in our streams and there is additional harm if livestock reach streams by trampling across the buffer zones.

Buffer zones around streams are called riparian buffers. They are the trees, brushes and vegetation that lines a stream bank. This riparian zone protects the bank from erosion and supplies protections from runoff. It also creates a habitat for other animals.

To keep from damaging their own land and stream water quality, landowners have been instituting measure to limit livestock access to streams. Fencing off livestock access means that landowners need to find other sources of water.

Potential solutions include wells, springs, ponds and even the stream itself with water fed into troughs using pumps or gravity feeds.

The benefits of livestock irrigation programs include a reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation. This helps to prevent the smothering of aquatic organisms and keeps the stream itself from eroding There is also a reduction of contamination and nutrient pollution from animal waste entering the water. A healthy stream protects the diversity of life in the stream itself and protects the water downstream from contamination.

The other reported benefits to livestock is that a healthier water source improves productivity in both cattle weight (beef operations) or milk production (dairy operations). There is also a reported decrease in cattle disease.

Walls Lumber and Hardware specializes in water installation projects. We can assist you in finding a cost beneficial path for protecting the streams on your property while supplying fresh water to your livestock.