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Riparian grazing workshops connect clean water and ranch profitability

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Two 2-day Washington State University Extension workshops in May will teach livestock producers how to connect clean water and ranch profitability. The workshops will teach producers how to accurately identify their risk of causing water quality problems and then link risks to specific strategies that are proven to protect riparian function, water quality and plant and soil health. The relationships between riparian systems, water quality and plant and soil health are complex, and livestock exclusion may not be an effective solution. Watershed-scale research has shown that successful solutions start at the ridgeline rather than the greenline.

Riparian conditions on West Muddy Creek, Wyoming, in 1954 following season-long grazing.
Riparian conditions on West Muddy Creek, Wyoming, in 1954 following season-long grazing. Click image for larger version.

Non-compliance with environmental regulations, especially non-point-source water quality regulations, represents a financial and legal risk to range- and pasture-based livestock operations in the Pacific Northwest. Grazing that degrades riparian health diminishes the economic sustainability of this land-dependent business.

Riparian conditions on West Muddy Creek, Wyoming, in 1998 following a change to short-term grazing with a longer recovery period. Click image for larger version.
Riparian conditions on West Muddy Creek, Wyoming, in 1998 following a change to short-term grazing with a longer recovery period. Click image for larger version.

The workshops include both classroom and field instruction. They discuss key riparian area attributes, processes and the design of management plans that work for ranchers and protect water quality.

Workshop dates and locations:

  • May 20-21 in Mount Vernon at the WSU Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, West Auditorium, 16650 State Rt. 536, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-4768.
  • May 23-24 in White Salmon at the Pioneer Center, 501 NE Washington St., White Salmon, WA 98605.

Workshops run 8 a.m.-5 p.m. both days at each location. Registration is $50 to cover food and transportation. Space is limited; add your name to the list by contacting the WSU Kittitas County Extension office at 509-962-7507 or email amorse@wsu.edu. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/ripariangrazing.

WSU Extension partnered with the National Riparian Service Team and local conservation districts to produce these workshops. Funding for this project was provided by the WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Riparian Service Team.

Media Contacts

Tipton D., WSU Extension Regional Specialist, 509-962-7507