Grazing public lands is compatible with recreation, UC scientists say

Jul 4, 2013

Recent UC Davis research shows livestock grazing, public recreation and clean water are compatible goals, reported a TV station in Iowa, WHO-TV.

The media coverage was one of numerous stories that have appeared around the country about the research, including Bloomberg, Cattle Network, Progressive Cattle, Science Daily, AgWeb and the UC Green Blog.

The study was conducted from June to November 2011. Nearly 40 UC Davis researchers, ranchers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service staff and environmental stakeholders went out by foot and on horseback, hiking across meadows, along campsites, and down ravines to collect 743 water samples from 155 sites across five national forests in northern California.

The scientists found that recreation sites were the cleanest, with the lowest levels of fecal indicator bacteria. They found no significant differences in fecal indicator bacteria between grazing lands and areas without recreation or grazing. Overall, 83 percent of all sample sites and 95 percent of all water samples collected were below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency benchmarks for human health.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist