Farmers used to fence their stock near year-round creeks, so their livestock could always have access to cool, clean water. Unfortunately, this practice meant the animals’ waste also found its way to clean water. If manure from livestock, including horses, comes into contact with surface water, then the operation may come under regulation from the Department of Ecology. The District is here to help landowners determine what actions (if any) should be taken to protect water quality.
The following are common questions that may help decide what needs to be done:
- Do all livestock obtain drinking water from a water bowl, water tank or automatic waterer?
- Are hardened water gaps used for livestock access to water?
- Are animals fed at least 100 feet from surface water? (when grass is not available for grazing)
- Is manure stacked or stored under cover?
There may be NRCS funds available to help landowners address these livestock impacts. The CREP program offers solutions to many livestock-related concerns. As always, landowners’ interest and /or applications for funds are confidential and protected from disclosure to enforcement agencies.