To Help Streams Run Clear, Short Grass Does
as Well as Tall
By Dennis Senft
December 30, 1996
Grasses and sedges clipped short
are as effective as taller stubble vegetation in trapping sediment being washed
Thats important news for land management agencies seeking information
on how to rehabilitate overused areas--such as areas damaged by recreation or
livestock grazing along rivers and streams.
The key is the width of the grass barrier, not the height of the stubble,
say scientists at the Agricultural Research
A grass barrier 30 feet wide will reduce sediments in overland runoff by
98%, according to results from a cooperative 2-year study by ARS and
Colorado State University.
The scientists used a large rotating irrigation boom to simulate rainfall
over two test sites along Sheep Creek in northern Colorados
Roosevelt National Forest. They
discovered stubble as short as 1 inch could slow water flow and trap sediment
as effectively as stubble up to 6 inches tall.
Scientific contact: Gary W. Frasier, USDA-ARS
Rangeland Resources Research
Unit , Fort Collins, Colo., phone (970) 498-4232,