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How & Why to Use an Off-Site Livestock Well

Why Would You Need An Off-Site Livestock Well?

Government Concerns About Livestock & Water Sources

Off-site livestock wells are intended to offer livestock owners the opportunity to provide water for their animals as an incentive to remove them from ponds, streams, springs, and rivers. 

Klamath county is home to 347 springs, 4 main rivers, and over 50 reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. One of the largest concerns with water in Klamath is the quality of it. Klamath county is the sole area of habitation for two species of suckerfish on the endangered species list. One of the largest contributing factors to their decline is the water quality of their spawning grounds and habitats. The nutrient level in the Klamath lake has never been higher, which would seem like a good thing, but it actually feeds toxic algae that takes oxygen from the water which raises the temperature of the lake which is bad for all species of fish. The algae in the lake is also toxic to humans and most animals alike during it's bloom. 

When livestock use a waterway for water consumption, they unintentionally walk in the riparian plants along the banks, knock soil and debris into the water, and stir up settled sediment on the bottom of the water sources. These things have negative affects on the water quality and to raise the water quality eliminating large amounts of livestock has very high potential.

Reasons To Remove Cattle From Riparian Area's & Water Ways 

Waterways are a great way to ensure that animal will always have a place to drink from, but allowing cattle to drink from them have there own set of problems. Pathogens live in water sources and when livestock drinking from them they have the potential to contract the pathogens. Some pathogens that exist in water are, "E. Coli, Legionella, Naegleria fowleri, Vibrio spp., and Pfiesteria, occur naturally in waters and can multiply in response to environmental changes such as increased water temperature (Legionella) or excess nutrients," wrote EPA in their article regarding water pathogens (Pfiesteria) (ASM 1998).

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Besides pathogens in the water, there are many risks to livestock by having access to open water sources including but no limited to cattle getting stuck in mud, drowning, calving into the water, and illness for example phenomena from being knocked in by other livestock. 

Benefits Of Having a Livestock Well, Rather than Access to Open Streams

Livestock wells provided by KSWCD and partners will be ran off of solar power and therefore can run at anytime even if there is a power outage. The livestock wells are also a constantly fresh source of water and there is no threat of the water source drying up, along with that the source is fresh water that will be tested during the well drill phase to ensure safe clean water is what will be pumped. The water source will be monitored using a float valve or something similar to regulate water flows and pose as a way to ensure that the well is being used for livestock use only. 



Currently, livestock wells are only available to landowners along water sources who are interested in removing their livestock from the waterways. This project generally goes hand-in-hand with riparian fencing.