Streamside erosional response to animal grazing practices on Meadow Creek in northeastern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wd3760001

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  • A study to determine possible impacts of cattle and big game grazing on streamside erosional responses was initiated in 1975. The objectives of the study were to: (1) establish the study and collect base line measurements; (2) determine the impact of animal grazing on soil bulk density and erosional potential, (3) determine characteristics of streambanks as influenced by animal trampling, and (4) determine infiltration rates and sediment production as they relate to soil structure. The study was located in northeastern Oregon on the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range. Meadow Creek, with elevations ranging from 1121 to 1371 meters, was selected as the study site. At the lower end of the study site, Meadow Creek's discharge ranges from 0.057 to 5.7 cubic meters per second (2 to 200 cfs). Infiltration rates varied greatly with a range from 1.1 to 16.1 cm/hr. No trends in infiltration rates related to grazing influences were observed. Grazing and over-wintering impacts also failed to consistently appear. Sediment production did not show a conclusive impact of grazing or over-wintering. Sediment production ranged from 0.1 to 1046. 1 kg/ha. None of the treatment units showed any effect of grazing on bank cutting; however, there was a trend toward higher bank cutting over-winter than during summer periods on all units. Stream profiles showed the greatest variability of all parameters which were analyzed. This variability was attributed primarily to a wide range of profile shapes with their accompanying changes in stream flow and energy characteristics. The changes in profile depth were considered small enough not to be important in management of streamside grazing on Meadow Creek. Compaction differences were attributed to seasonal variations and a wet 1976 grazing season with numerous wetting and drying cycles. Very few differences were detectable in the short time of this study. Apparently, on Meadow Creek seasonal variation and natural variability are sufficiently large to mask a single year of grazing management at the seasons and intensities of stocking under study. Firm conclusions as to the total impact of grazing vs. natural erosion cannot be made until the study has continued for several more years.
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