About Us | Help Videos | Contact Us | Subscriptions

Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Phosphorus, Sediment, and Escherichia coli Loads in Unfenced Streams of the Georgia Piedmont, USA


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 6, p. 2293-2300
    Received: Aug 28, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): mcabrera@uga.edu
Request Permissions

  1. H. L. Byersa,
  2. M. L. Cabrera *a,
  3. M. K. Matthewsab,
  4. D. H. Franklinc,
  5. J. G. Andraea,
  6. D. E. Radcliffea,
  7. M. A. McCannd,
  8. H. A. Kuykendalle,
  9. C. S. Hovelanda and
  10. V. H. Calvertf
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    b Present address: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Elkins, WV 26241
    c USDA-ARS, JPCS NRCC, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
    d Dep. of Animal and Poultry Science, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061
    e Federal Bldg., 355 East Hancock Ave., Athens, GA 30601
    f Central Research and Education Center, 1508 Godfrey Rd. NW, Eatonton, GA 31024


Contamination of unfenced streams with P, sediments, and pathogenic bacteria from cattle (Bos taurus) activity may be affected by the availability of shade and alternative water sources. The objectives of this study were to evaluate water quality in two streams draining tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.)–common bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) pastures with different shade distribution, and to quantify the effects of alternative water sources on stream water quality. For 3 yr, loads of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), total phosphorus (TP), and total suspended solids (TSS) were measured during storm flow, and loads of DRP, TP, TSS, and Escherichia coli were measured every 14 d during base flow. We also used GPS collars to determine amount of time cattle spent in riparian areas. Our results showed that cattle-grazed pastures with unfenced streams contributed significant loads of DRP, TP, TSS, and E. coli to surface waters (p < 0.01). Time spent by cattle in riparian areas as well as storm flow loads of DRP, TP, and TSS were larger (p < 0.08) in the pasture with the smaller amount of nonriparian shade. Water trough availability decreased base flow loads of TSS and E. coli in both streams, and decreased time cattle spent in riparian areas in the pasture with the smaller amount of nonriparian shade (p < 0.08). Our results indicate that possible BMPs to reduce contamination from cattle-grazed pastures would be to develop or encourage nonriparian shade and to provide cattle with alternative water sources away from the stream.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2005. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA