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Impact of a Constructed Low Water Stream Crossing, an Innovative BMP, on Microbial Water Quality of a Rangeland Pasture Stream

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032313,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14033) @2003
Authors:   Christopher Henry, Jeanette Thurston-Enriquez
Keywords:   Low Water Stream Crossing, Pasture, Livestock, Cattle, Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, Total Coliforms, Giardia, Cryptosporidium

The impact that livestock in pastures have on microbial water quality is poorly understood. A low water stream crossing (LWSC) was designed and constructed in the middle of a stream pasture segment to evaluate its effectiveness as a potential BMP and as an alternative to excluding livestock from streams with permanent fencing. The construction and application of the crossing is discussed. The stream segment was investigated for the presence of indicator microorganisms and protozoan parasites commonly associated with livestock. Stream samples and flow data were collected approximately twice per month during a period of 6 months. Water samples were assayed for total coliforms, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, Giardia cysts, and Cryptosporidium oocysts. Concentrations of indicator organisms appear to exceed new recommended EPA guidelines for recreational contact for E. coli and Enterococcus. The presence of cattle in the studied pasture was the likely cause of increased concentrations of indicator microorganisms downstream of the cattle crossing.

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