Stream Protection

Protecting a stream by excluding livestock and by establishing buffer                      ""
zones of vegetation to filter runoff.

How it works

Grass, riprap and gabions are installed along the edges of a stream to buffer the banks from heavy stream flow and reduce erosion. Fencing prevents cattle from trampling banks, destroying vegetation and stirring up sediment in the streambed. A buffer zone of vegetation along the streambank filters runoff and may also absorb excess nutrients and chemicals.

How it helps

Streambanks are covered with rocks, grass, trees or other cover to reduce erosion.
Better water quality results from reducing amounts of nutrients, chemicals, animal waste and sediment entering the stream.
Buffer zones provide cover and habitat for birds and small animals.

Planning ahead

Have you planned to install an offstream water system for livestock or limited livestock access to the stream?
Are proper soil conservation measures installed in the stream watershed to prevent siltation of buffer zones and streambed?
Will a stream crossing be needed for livestock?

Tech notes

Fence livestock out of the stream.
Smooth streambanks to provide an adequate seedbed for vegetation.
The vegetation area along streambanks should be between 15 and 25 feet wide. *
Remove fallen trees, stumps and debris that might cause turbulence in the stream.
Remove trees and brush that adversely affect the growth of desirable bank vegetation.


Keep fences repaired.
Avoid damaging buffer zones with herbicides from surrounding cropland.
Remove off-stream watering systems in the winter if necessary, and reinstall in the spring.

* Check local recommendations.