Image # 10546
Cows in cut-banked stream channel from hoof erosion
Cattle cut paths near water and destroy streamside vegetation, promoting the erosion of cut-banked stream channels. Cattle also destroy woody and herbaceous cover near water with both hooves and horn and increase erosion by wading into unprotected streams. Even this wet area of the Northern California coast shows their impact: the deeply eroded stream channel degrades habitat for endangered salmonids. In drier areas of the west unfenced streams are much more sensitive to this type of destruction, and water temperatures can climb to the point where salmon, trout and other fish die. Many western states and federal agencies have responded to this problem with innovative fencing programs funded through grants and partnerships.