Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273071

Title: Spatial behavior and distribution of cattle grazing riparian zones in northeastern Oregon

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

Submitted to: Oregon State University Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2010
Publication Date: 12/31/2010
Citation: Johnson, D.E., Wilson, M., Wilson, K.D., Larson, L.L., Williams, J., Ndzeidze, S.K., DelCurto, T., Clark, P. 2010. Spatial behavior and distribution of cattle grazing riparian zones in northeastern Oregon. Oregon State University Extension Publications. BEEF052:1-10.

Interpretive Summary: Livestock impact on rangeland riparian areas is an important but complex issue. The frequency and duration of riparian use and activity types engaged in appear to be the proximate factors influencing riparian impacts by cattle but, costs and technological limitations have previously prevented an intensive spatio-temporal evaluation of the factors. We evaluated cattle resource use and activity budgets during the 2009 and 2010 grazing seasons within 3 different riparian pastures in northeastern Oregon using GPS tracking collars recording cattle locations at 1-sec intervals. In contrast to many previous findings, cattle in these pastures exhibited a mild avoidance of areas < 20 m (22 yd) from the stream edges when intensively evaluated. This study suggests cattle use of rangeland riparian areas requires additional research using newly available technologies.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this research is to document and quantify the spatial movement of cattle grazing riparian pastures so that accurate assessment of use and ecological interaction can be made. Track logs with 1 second data collection intervals indicate that cows spent about 63% of their time stationary, 33% moving at <1.0 km/hr, 2% at >1.0 km/hr and =2.0 km/hr, and <1% at velocities >2.0 km/hr. Daily travel distance was about 5km/day. Cattle used the area between the right and left wetted edges of the stream 1.06% of the day and the boundary zones 5m, 10 m, and 20 m out from the wetted edge 2..21%, 3.52%, and 5.29% of the day respectively. The area between wetted edges is 6.02% of the pasture and half the pasture is within 106.5m of the stream. Velocity plots generated from GPS collar data were used to identify periods when animals were stationary and moving slowly or very slowly.