Lone star-healthy-streams-bacteria

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Since bacteria is the #1 cause of water pollution in Texas, the Lone Star Healthy Streams Program was created to educate Texas farmers, ranchers, and landowners about best management practices (BMPs) that can help reduce the levels of bacterial contamination in streams and rivers. Its main goal is the protection of Texas waterways from bacterial contamination originating from beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, and feral hogs that may pose a serious health risk to Texas citizens. You can view courses via http://scstransfer.tamu.edu/~jlpeterson/WebExport/lshs_home/ie5/index.html?dhtmlActivation=inplace

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  • We are here to talk to you about the Lone Star Healthy Streams Program, which is a partnership between AgriLife Extension, the Texas Water Resources Institute, and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. I’m going to begin first with a brief background on bacterial water pollution in Texas and then move into more detail on the Lone Star Healthy Streams project itself.
  • You might not have realized it, but bacteria is the #1 cause of water pollution in Texas. In fact, more than 50% of the impairments in Texas are due to excess bacteria levels. But, you would never know it. While some water pollution is often easy to detect, bacteria pollution is not. A waterbody choked with algae, a muddy river loaded with sediment, or a lake covered with an oily sheen all exhibit clearly noticeable impairments. Bacteria in water, on the other hand, are not at all noticeable to the naked eye. Of the 621 waterbodies listed in the 2010 report, 317 of those were for bacteria impairments. That equates to 51% of our waterbodies.
  • How does bacteria get in our waterbodies? The sources of bacteria across the landscape are numerous. And, the agricultural sector can be a potential contributor.
  • We all know that agriculture and livestock are important in Texas. In fact, the Texas livestock industry is the most important agricultural industry in the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the value of livestock, poultry, and their associated products to be approximately $15 billion, which places Texas first in the nation (market value of agricultural products sold: livestock, poultry, and their products). Texas also ranks first in the total number of cattle and calves and 6th in total number of broilers. First in sheep and goats and 8th in milk and other dairy products.
  • In response to the growing bacteria pollution problem in the state and to better target the educational needs of the agricultural sector, the Lone Star Healthy Streams program was developed. Its main goal is the protection of Texas waterways from bacterial contamination originating from beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, and feral hogs that may pose a serious health risk to Texas citizens. To achieve this important goal, the program's objective is the education of Texas farmers, ranchers, and landowners about best management practices that are available that can help reduce the levels of bacterial contamination in streams and rivers.
  • The selected BMPs will then become the framework for the development of 5 resource manuals, one for each animal category. Each manual will contain identical sections regarding program background, water law and policy, and bacteria fate and transport. From there, detailed information for the top selected BMPs will be discussed. Each BMP will contain a description with photographs, data (if available) on bacteria removal efficiency, cost of implementation, and finally economic impacts of BMP implementation.
  • To help achieve the program’s objective, several additional resources are being developed. First, we have created a project website that can be found at lshs.tamu.edu. Secondly, we have developed a project factsheet and brochure. In addition, an online searchable database of research pertaining to best management practices and bacterial removal efficiencies for specific practices. Also, each resource manual will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over recordings and videos.
  • NRCS definition: Managing the harvest of vegetation with grazing and/or browsing animalsThe primary goal of pasture management BMPs is to maintain adequate vegetative cover on the ground to improve forage production, reduce soil erosion, and enhance water conservation and protection. In addition, vegetation management BMPs can also help improve animal performance and enhance the long-term sustainability of beef cattle production systems. Think of pasture management BMPs as management measures, changes in the way cattle are managed and grazed, rather than the construction of something specific.
  • Heavy grazing pressure and high stocking rates decrease the vigor and persistence of forage plants on rangeland and introduced forage pastures. If cattle remove more than 50 percent of the aboveground biomass, photosynthesis is slowed, which in turn reduces root development and the amount of moisture and soil nutrients that may be taken up for plant production (Fig. 7). The long-term results of this situation are reductions in plant vigor, frequency, and abundance, and increases in bare ground and less-desirable or undesirable plant species. This change ultimately leads to a degradation of range or introduced forage pasture condition.  If the stocking rate is not reduced, carrying capacity will be diminished, animal performance decreased, and the potential for profit eliminated. Input costs—for increased herbicides and winter feeding, for instance—associated with the enterprise will rise, making the bad situation worse.
  • Prescribed grazing systems reduce bacterial contamination in runoff. A study by Tate et al. (2004) showed that E. coli levels could be reduced 200 percent when the intensity of grazing was changed from heavy to moderate over a 7-month period. The EPA (2010) showed that a 72 percent reduction was possible when prescribed grazing was implemented with other practices such as contour farming, grassed waterways, nutrient management, and pest management. Research by Tiedemann et al. (1987, 1988) found that fecal coliform could be reduced 90 to 96 percent when the intensity of grazing was changed from heavy to no grazing. These data are from research done on land grazed by beef and/or dairy cattle. It is assumed that similar reductions in pollutants would occur on land grazed by horses.
  • Runoff management BMPs help control the amount of water moving across the landscape. These practices are vital to minimizing bacterial contamination of surface water bodies and keeping watersheds healthy. Reducing the flow of water across the landscape will cause fewer pollutants to be picked up and deposited into the water body itself. Several BMPs help manage runoff, including filter strips (NRCS Code 393), building location, and roof runoff structures/rainwater harvesting (NRCS Codes 558 and 636).
  • A filter strip is an area of herbaceous vegetation that is established between a body of water and cropland, grazing land, or disturbed land. It is designed to remove sediment, bacteria, organic material, nutrients, and chemicals from overland flow. A filter strip works by slowing runoff, which allows the contaminants to settle out, infiltrate, and be dispersed across the width of the filter strip (Fig. 10).
  • The effectiveness of filter strips depends on many things including:The amount of sediment that reaches the filter stripThe amount of time that water is retained in the filter stripThe steepness, length, and slope of the filter stripThe infiltration rate of the soil The type and density of vegetation used in the filter stripThe uniformity of the water flow through the filter stripThe correct installation and maintenance of the filter stripIn this table, you can see that filter strips can be highly effective, removing upwards of 99% of bacteria.
  • Riparian areas are environmentally sensitive areas along streams and rivers that require special protection from grazing livestock. To protect these areas, adopt BMPs that control the amount of time animals spend in and near riparian areas. These practices range from strategies for modifying animal behavior to total exclusion from the riparian area.BMPs for riparian area management include shade structures (NRCS Code 717), watering facility (NRCS Code 614), exclusionary fencing (NRCS Code 382), and access control (NRCS Code 472).
  • Because animals spend less time in riparian areas if other sources of water are available, this BMP can reduce bacteria levels in the water from 51 to 94 percent (Table 10). It also reduces stream bank erosion (Sheffield et al. 1997), reduces the risk of colic, and improves animal health and condition (Richards 2007).
  • A waste treatment lagoon is an impoundment made by building an embankment and/or excavating a pit or dugout to biologically treat waste (Fig. 31). It treats animal wastes and reduces their potential to pollute land and water. These lagoons use biological, physical, and chemical processes to treat wastewater during storage before being dispersed onto crops, pasture, or other types of land (Fig. 32).Most agricultural treatment lagoons are anaerobic—they treat waste without dissolved oxygen in the wastewater. Anaerobic bacteria digest the organic waste and convert it to carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide.Lagoons typically vary from 6 feet to 20 feet deep. They must be located properly to prevent water contamination and other environmental harm (Table 13).
  • Acceptable ways for managing mortality include the following methods (Gould et al. 2002). RenderingCompostingIncinerationSanitary landfillsBurial
  • Animal mortality must be managed to protect the health of people, animals, and the environment (Gould et al. 2002), so it is important to know your options and plan ahead. Disposing of carcasses properly reduces odors, bacterial contamination, and the spread of disease. Mortality management will provide the following benefits:Less pollution of groundwater and surface water.Reduced odors from improperly handled carcasses.Reduced damage to crops and forages.Decreased risk of diseases spreading to animals feeding on the carcass.Provide contingencies for normal and catastrophic mortality events.Large numbers of animals can die from a disease epidemic or natural disaster, but these events are rare. This section focuses on the normal, day-to-day deaths from illness or injury that every operation must deal with. Several methods discussed may be applicable to the management of large-scale mortalities if scaled appropriately and conducted under the guidance and supervision of pertinent state and environmental agencies. See Appendix B for information from the TCEQ regarding the disposal of domestic and exotic livestock carcasses. The on-farm disposal of dead animals should always be done in a manner that protects public health and safety, does not create a nuisance, prevents the spread of disease, and prevents harm to water quality (TCEQ 2005). To determine the requirements for using any of the following options, contact the local regulatory agency (in Texas, the TCEQ or the Texas Animal Health Commission).
  • We are here to talk to you about the Lone Star Healthy Streams Program, which is a partnership between AgriLife Extension, the Texas Water Resources Institute, and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. I’m going to begin first with a brief background on bacterial water pollution in Texas and then move into more detail on the Lone Star Healthy Streams project itself.
  • Lone star-healthy-streams-bacteria

    1. 1. Jennifer Peterson Department of Soil & Crop SciencesTexas A&M AgriLife Extension Service January 16, 2013 Bosque River Coalition
    2. 2.  More than 50% of water quality impairments in Texas are due to excess bacteria levels.
    3. 3.  Texas livestock industry is most important agricultural industry in the state: • Value of livestock, poultry, and associated product is estimated to be $15 billion. • Texas ranks 1st in total number of cattle and calves (13% of total U.S. inventory).
    4. 4.  Protection of Texas waterways from bacterial contamination.  LSHS educates livestock producers on best management practices to reduce bacterial contamination in runoff.BEEF CATTLE DAIRY CATTLE HORSES FERAL HOGS POULTRY
    5. 5.  5 resource manuals including information on: • Background • Water quality law/policy • Bacteria fate and transport • Best Management Practices (BMPs)  Description  Bacteria removal efficiency  Cost
    6. 6.  Project website (http://lshs.tamu.edu) Project factsheet/brochure Research bibliography/database Voice-over PowerPoint presentations Online/interactive version of resource manuals
    7. 7.  Top BMPs for each animal category were selected and prioritized. BMPs organized by categories: • Grazing management • Runoff management • Riparian area protection & management • Manure management • Mortality management
    8. 8. BMP CATEGORY BEEF CATTLE DAIRY CATTLE HORSES POULTRY FERAL HOGS GRAZING CONFINED GRAZINGGRAZING Prescribed grazing (528A) x Prescribed grazing (528A) Prescribed grazing (528A) x xMANAGEMENTRUNOFF Filter strips (NRCS Code 393) Filter strips (NRCS Code 393) Filter strips (NRCS Code 393) Filter strips (NRCS Code 393) Filter strips (NRCS Code 393) xMANAGEMENT x Field borders (NRCS Code 386) x Building location Field borders (NRCS Code 386) x x Grassed waterways x Roof runoff structure (NRCS Grassed waterways x (NRCS Code 412) Code 558) (NRCS Code 412) x Roof runoff structure (NRCS x Water harvesting catchment Roof runoff structure (NRCS x Code 558) (NRCS Code 636) Code 558) x Diversion (NRCS Code 362) x x x xRIPARIAN AREA Shade structures (NRCS Code x Shade structures (NRCS Code Shade structures (NRCS Code x xPROTECTION & 717) 717) 717)MANAGEMENT Stream crossing (NRCS Code x Stream crossing (NRCS Code Watering facility (NRCS Code x x 578) 578) 614) Watering facility (NRCS Code x Watering facility (NRCS Code Fencing (NRCS Code 382) x x 614) 614) Feed, salt, and/or mineral x Feed, salt, and/or mineral Access control (NRCS Code x x locations locations 472) Heavy use area protection x Heavy use area protection x x x (NRCS Code 561) (NRCS Code 561) In-stream watering points x In-stream watering points x x x Fencing (NRCS Code 382) x Fencing (NRCS Code 382) x x x Access control (NRCS Code x Access control (NRCS Code x x x 472) 472)MORTALITY Proper carcass disposal Proper carcass disposal Proper carcass disposal Proper carcass disposal Proper carcass disposal Proper carcass disposalMANAGEMENTMANURE x Waste treatment lagoon x Waste storage structure (NRCS Waste storage structure (NRCS xMANAGEMENT (NRCS Code 359) Code 313) Code 313) x Waste utilization x Waste utilization (NRCS Code Waste utilization (NRCS Code x (NRCS Code 633) 633) 633) x Soil testing & nutrient x Soil testing & nutrient In-house pasteurization of x management (NRCS Code 590) management (NRCS Code 590) litter (NRCS Code 629) x Waste treatment (NRCS Code x Composting (NRCS Code 317) Soil testing & nutrient x 629) management (NRCS Code 590) x Composting (NRCS Code 317) x x Composting (NRCS Code 317) xLETHAL TECHNIQUES x x x x x Trapping(feral hogs only) Snares Hunting and ShootingNONLETHAL x x x x x FencingTECHNIQUES (feralhogs)TOTAL BMPs 11 11 11 14 10 5
    9. 9. • Primary BMP is prescribed grazing, designed to: – Maintain adequate vegetative cover – Reduce soil erosion – Improve forage production – Enhance water conservation – Improve animal performance – Enhance long-term sustainability of production systems
    10. 10. • Reduced forage production.• >50% aboveground biomass removed: – Photosynthesis slowed – Root development reduced – Moisture and soil nutrients for plant production reduced.
    11. 11. • 200% reduction in E. coli levels when grazing intensity switched from heavy to moderate.• 90% - 96% reduction in fecal coliform levels when grazing intensity switched from heavy to no grazing.• 72% reduction in E. coli levels when prescribed grazing implemented with contour farming, grassed waterways, nutrient/pest management.
    12. 12. • BMPs help control water moving across the landscape: – Filter strips – Field borders – Roof runoff structure – Diversion – Grassed waterway
    13. 13. • An area of herbaceous vegetation established between a body of water and the surrounding land. – Designed to remove sediment, bacteria, organic material, nutrients, and chemicals from runoff.
    14. 14. Effectiveness of filter strips in reducing fecal coliform levels under varying conditions. Fecal Slope Buffer Runoff Reference Coliform Length Source Reduction94.8% – 99.9% 5% - 35% .1 – 2.1m Grazing cattle Tate et al. 2006 43% - 74% 9% 9m Poultry litter on Coyne et al. no-till cropland 1995 64% - 87% 4% 9m Manure Fajardo et al. 2001 >99% 4% 1 - 25m Manure on Sullivan et al. pastureland 2007
    15. 15. • Riparian areas are environmentally sensitive areas along streams and rivers that require special protection.• Riparian protection BMPs alter amount of time livestock spend in riparian areas. – Shade structure – Stream crossing – Watering facility – Feed, salt, mineral locations – Exclusionary fencing – Heavy use area protection – Access control – In-stream watering points
    16. 16. • Encourages livestock to obtain water away from the stream.• Easy to implement.• NRCS cost-share programs reduce costs.• Consider solar- powered wells.
    17. 17. Bacteria Reduction ReferenceE. coli 85% Byers et al. 2005Fecal coliform 94% (when combined with other practices) Hagedorn et al. 1999 51% Sheffield et al. 1997Fecal streptococci 77% Sheffield et al. 1997
    18. 18. • BMPs minimize pathogens through proper storage, handling, recycling, and disposal.• A 1,000 pound lactating dairy cow producers 80 pounds of manure per day, or 12 to 14 tons of manure each year.• BMPs include: – Waste treatment lagoon – Waste utilization – Soil testing/nutrient management – Composting
    19. 19. • An impoundment made by building an embankment and/or excavating a pit to biologically treat waste.• Most agricultural lagoons are anaerobic: – Treat waste without dissolved oxygen – Anaerobic bacteria digest organic waste and convert it to carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide.
    20. 20. Bacteria Reduction ReferenceE. coli 97%-99% Meals and Braun 2006Fecal coliform 44% (when combined with other practices) Inamdar et al. 2007Total coliform Sheffield et al. 1997 99%+ Patni et al. 1985Fecal streptococci 46% -76% Meals and Braun 2006
    21. 21. • Rendering• Composting• Incineration• Sanitary landfills• Burial
    22. 22. • Benefits of mortality management include: – Less pollution of groundwater and surface water. – Reduced odors from improperly handled carcasses. – Reduced damage to crops and forages. – Decreased risk of diseases spreading to animals feeding on the carcass. – Provide contingencies for normal and catastrophic mortality events.
    23. 23. • Livestock can contribute bacteria to water bodies.• Best management practices exist to help prevent bacterial contamination of water resources.• Know your options and decide which practices to implement.
    24. 24. Jennifer Peterson Department of Soil & Crop SciencesTexas A&M AgriLife Extension Service http://lshs.tamu.edu

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