Big Creek Stockwater Project – Large OWEB Grant #218-5003
Water source locations greatly affect grazing distribution across the rangeland. Oftentimes livestock will congregate in the low benches along perennial streams or existing springs; without other off-channel watering sources available, these areas will become trampled and degraded from overuse. At this particular project site within the Keating SWCD, a tributary to Big Creek was the only watering source for livestock, apart from one antiquated spring-fed trough and one small pond located in a small 21 acre pasture. Livestock would primarily gather around this stream, underutilizing the other three pastures, and adding excess sediment, nutrients and organic matter into the stream, a tributary to the Powder River which runs 153 miles, almost entirely in Baker County, before draining into the Snake River.
This project developed one spring and installed a solar pumping station to provide livestock water to two 2,000 gallon storage cisterns and three new rubber tire watering troughs. This project also installed 2,000 feet of wildlife friendly riparian fencing along the perennial stream that feeds into Big Creek. This off-channel watering system, along with implementing a rotational grazing plan, will reduce grazing impacts throughout the 125 acres at the project site, better utilizing all four pastures while improving water quality in Big Creek and the Powder River Watershed.
For more information on Keating SWCD work:
Whitney M Collins, Baker County SWCD’s Districts Manager
541-523-7121 X 109 Office