Proposed by: Tipton Hudson

Presenter: Hudson, T.D., Regional rangeland & livestock extension specialist, Washington State University Extension, Ellensburg, WA 98926

Acute and growing social and legal conflict over regulation of non-point source pollution in Washington State is straining proactive efforts to improve water quality, especially as it relates to livestock management. Farmers and ranchers caught in the socio-biological conflict over water quality experience legal risk, reduced quality of life, and serious financial risk. Resolution of this conflict requires addressing the drivers of water quality from a watershed scale and application of an education and outreach method that is palatable to landowners. The state agency responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act has been only minimally successful in either educating landowners about pollution risks or motivating landowners to take proactive steps to reduce risk. Washington State University Extension, in partnership with the National Riparian Service Team and conservation districts, developed a water quality risk assessment outreach program to focus landowners and livestock managers on riparian and upland vegetation, the drivers of riparian function and water quality, rather than water quality monitoring data which are collected sporadically. We provided training and created professional videos on the relationships among site conditions, grazing practices, and water quality to help producers develop specific management changes for their own land or lands where they control grazing animals. To date, the project has resulted in approximately 40% of producers initiating repeat photography to document condition change, using temporary fence to influence livestock distribution in riparian zones, and establishing a new grazing plan with shorter grazing periods and shifting timing of use in riparian areas.

All Accepted Proposals