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Description of Pasture as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northern Plains States

from the National Fish Habitat Partnership's 2015 Through a Fish's Eye Report

Summary

Lands within the watersheds of the Great Plains streams that are not used for crops are often used for cattle grazing and hay production. Northern Plains States are one of the nation’s top producers of cattle, which outnumber people almost three to one in North Dakota. Cattle can have direct habitat impacts by trampling stream banks, which destroys beneficial vegetation and increases sedimentation and nutrient loads. Hofmann and Ries (1991) found that livestock increased sediment runoff in North Dakota streams. Schepers and Francis (1982) reported that runoff from a Nebraska cattle farm increased total phosphorus levels in runoff by 37%. In addition, cattle watering ponds, often constructed by diverting streams, disrupt the connectivity [...]

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The U.S Geological Survey (USGS) is partnering with the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) to produce the 2015 report entitled, "Through a Fish's Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2015". The information contained within this item is a product of NFHP. The Bureau is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy or the use of the scientific content within this item. This content is considered preliminary pending subsequent review and approval.

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