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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273062

Title: Behavior and distribution of cattle grazing riparian zones

item WILSON, MARIE - Oregon State University
item WILSON, KERRY - Oregon State University
item LARSON, LARRY - Oregon State University
item Clark, Pat
item DELCURTO, TIMOTHY - Oregon State University
item JOHNSON, DOUGLAS - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Oregon State University Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2009
Publication Date: 12/31/2009
Citation: Wilson, M.A., Wilson, K.D., Larson, L.L., Clark, P., DelCurto, T., Johnson, D.E. 2009. Behavior and distribution of cattle grazing riparian zones. Oregon State University Extension Publications. BEEF009:1-5.

Interpretive Summary: The potential for beef cattle to impact the vegetation, channel morphology, aquatic habitats, and water quality of rangeland riparian areas is an important and controversial issue in the western U.S. and similar regions throughout the world. Although cattle use of riparian area has been extensively studied, the fine-scale spatio-temporal behavior of cattle in riparian pastures has received little research. We are employing high temporal-resolution (1-sec sampling intervals) GPS tracking collars on beef cattle to examine their fine-scale distribution patterns in different 3 managed riparian grazing systems over 2 years. Preliminary findings indicate these GPS data will allow us to accurate quantify cattle movement velocities and classify cattle behavior based on these velocity values.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this research is to study cattle site use and behavior in riparian pastures so that the nature of use by livestock can be determined and potential ecosystem impacts can be scientifically evaluated. Through the course of this study, we will employ high resolution GPS trackers to examine the fine scale distribution of livestock on 3 managed riparian grazing systems over 2 years. Patterns of land use in relation to stream channel, stream banks and vegetative communities are being documented as well as use of and preference for ecological sites.