Healthy Farms, Healthy Streams (Brochure)
Working in Balance with Nature
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Brochure also available in Punjabi.
A healthy stream is good for your farm and the environment
- Native plants with deep roots help stabilize the stream banks, protecting your valuable land from erosion.
- Covered manure piles reduce contaminated runoff, improving water quality and reducing the spread of diseases.
- Fencing and livestock watering stations protect streamside vegetation, bank stability and water quality by controlling animal access.
- Roofed above-ground fuel storage facility with concrete containment prevents contamination of groundwater.
- Spreading manure away from the stream, at appropriate rates and times, protects surface and groundwater.
- Clear-span bridges minimize impacts to the stream and do not impede drainage.
- Stream meanders and side channels increase the amount of water that the stream can hold during high water periods, reducing flooding.
- Overhanging vegetation helps shade out the growth of in-stream grasses, improving drainage.
- Streamside vegetation helps filter surface runoff, improving water quality.
- Floodplains increase the capacity of the stream to hold water during high flows, reducing flooding.
Environmental problems from an unhealthy stream can affect your land and livestock
- Lack of streamside vegetation leads to increased bank erosion and stream sedimentation
- Runoff from uncovered manure piles can contaminate water, increasing the transmission of diseases.
- Uncontrolled livestock access to the stream can result in bank erosion, trampling of vegetation and fouling of water quality.
- Improperly stored fuel, pesticides and fertilizers can leach into groundwater, contaminating wells and surface water.
- Excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from manure can result in algae blooms, reducing water quality.
- Undersized culverts impede drainage, increasing upstream flooding.
- Straightening and dredging streams can lead to increased bank erosion and chronic sediment and drainage problems.
- Lack of overhanging vegetation and shade increases growth of in-stream grasses, trapping sediments and reducing drainage.
- Rain runoff from bark mulch and wood waste placed near the stream can contaminate surface water.
- Spraying pesticides near the stream, especially during windy or wet conditions, may result in contaminated surface water.
A healthy stream and riparian area are part of a healthy farm
Features of a Healthy Stream
- Clean, cool water that is rich in oxygen
- Streamside (riparian) vegetation to provide food, nutrients and shade to the stream
- Plant roots to stabilize the stream banks, minimizing soil erosion
- Pools, riffles and large woody debris provide homes for fish and insects
- Streambeds of clean gravel and cobbles
- Floodplains that increase the capacity of the stream to hold water during high flows
Riparian Areas Increase Bank Stability
- Plants with deep roots bring the soil together, protecting valuable farmland from erosion.
- Native shrubs, such as willow and red-osier dogwood, stabilize the banks yet do not shade valuable crops.
Riparian Areas Improve Water Quality
- Streamside vegetation acts as a buffer from farm activities, reducing the amount of sediment and excess nutrients transported by runoff, improving water quality.
- Clean water promotes increased beef and milk production and reduces the transmission of diseases.
- Good water quality supports healthy crops and sustainable agriculture.
Riparian Areas Improve Drainage
- Overhanging vegetation shades the stream and reduces the growth of in-stream grasses, improving draining and decreasing maintenance.
- Improved drainage increases the productivity of farmable land
and allows crops to be planted earlier in the spring.
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