The University of Arizona

Influence of grazing on channel morphology of intermittent streams.

M.R. George, R.E. Larsen, N.K. McDougald, K.W. Tate, J.D. Gerlach, K.O. Fulgham


Alteration of stream channel morphology by cattle and associated streambank erosion is a concern on rangeland watersheds. The objective of this study was to determine changes in stream channel morphology in response to 5 grazing treatments applied to 0.4 ha pastures and replicated on 3 intermittent streams at the San Joaquin Experimental Range in the central Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Baseline stream channel morphology parameters were determined along 10 transects in each pasture in June 1994. Seasonal grazing treatments (no grazing, wet season moderate, wet season concentrated, dry season moderate, and dry season concentrated) were repeated annually over 4 years beginning in July 1994. Stream channel morphology parameters were measured annually from 1995-1998. When stream morphological responses were averaged across years, there were no detectable effects of grazing on the parameters measured. Year effects and their interaction with grazing were significant, primarily for stream morphological parameters that included channel depth in their measurement or calculation. Channel depth increased significantly in the ungrazed controls, but did not change due to any grazing treatment. These results indicate that grazing had little effect on the morphology of these bedrock limited, intermittent stream channels.



stream channel depth;riparian grasslands;depth;stream erosion;streams;savanna woodlands;Quercus wislizeni;width;grazing experiments;dry season;wet season;pastures;grazing intensity;California;range management;beef cattle;plant height

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