After learning about possible pollution issues on their properties, many livestock owners in the Little Klickitat River watershed have implemented practices that alleviate pollution. One such landowner approached the Central Klickitat Conservation District (CKCD) to find a solution to a runoff problem from his winter feedlot. Runoff typically occurs following rain or snow melts when excess surface water carries pollutants, such as animal waste and fertilizer, into streams. This landowner’s project was one of many similar projects CKCD undertook in the Little Klickitat River watershed.

Web-PhotosFINDING A COMMON PATH

Working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), CKCD and the landowner worked together to implement pollution management practices. Nearly 45,000 square feet of the feedlot were sloped, hardened with shale, and underlayed with fabric. They also installed livestock exclusion fencing, re-routed water management from barns and the creek, set up water troughs, and implemented manure management.

RESULTS ON THE GROUND

As a result of this project, cattle no longer have access to a seasonal tributary to the Little Klickitat River, which is used by steelhead as a migration corridor and spawning habitat. Mud and manure were eliminated from this source. The exact tons of manure and mud removed has not been calculated, but the impact on this stream is dramatic. The landowner now can effectively remove manure and apply it to his fields.

The biggest challenge to this project was coordinating between CKCD, the Washington State Conservation Commission Livestock Cost Share program, and NRCS, with the landowner having final say in the end product. Results from projects like this are hard to quantify, but the end result is clean water flowing into the Little Klickitat River from this tributary.

Sergio Paredes, NRCS Resource Conservationist said, “This is a great project. The landowner now has the opportunity to collect, store, and apply the manure, and clean water drains into the creek from the roof. The cooperation between NRCS and the District shows how teamwork can get great projects on the ground.”

To learn more about projects involving private landowners, read Conservation in Washington: Powered by People – a collection of conservation district stories about successful natural resource projects on private lands across the state.