Cattle & Critters

Livestock that are allowed unrestricted access to water bodies can cause erosion by consuming bank-stabilizing vegetation, trampling stream banks and lake shores, and depositing manure that can contaminate the water. Here are some options to help reduce livestock’s negative impacts:

  • Install a fence to keep animals from unrestricted access to water and riparian vegetation.
  • Install a water gap or off-source watering device such as a nose pump to provide drinking water.
  • Lure livestock away from water by placing salt blocks far from the water.
  • Store manure in properly designed pits or stacking sites to reduce nutrient rich run-off that can contaminate groundwater and lakes.
  • If you must graze livestock in a riparian area, follow a well developed, site specific management plan that limits time of year and duration of grazing.
  • Take an active role in management by checking the condition of fences and vegetation at least once a year.
Poor grazing practices. Photo courtesy Whitefish Lake Institute
Good grazing practices. Photo courtesy Flathead Conservation District