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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cattle grazing has varying impacts on stream-channel erosion in oak woodlands


We conducted a 5-year study on the impact of grazing on stream-channel bare ground and erosion, and a 3-year study of cattle-trail erosion on intermittent stream channels draining grazed oak-woodland watersheds. While the concentration of cattle along stream banks during the dry season resulted in a significant increase in bare ground, we were unable to detect stream-bank erosion resulting from any of the grazing treatments applied. However, we did find that cattle trails are an important mode of sediment transport into stream channels. While cattle trails are common on grazed rangeland, excessive trailing often indicates that stock watering points are too far apart.

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