In descending order, by date published.
Many urban homeowners are not sure what to do about the stream in their backyard. Who owns it? How can I take care of it? What plants are good for my streambanks? These common questions lead to some confusing answers. This publication is designed to help the homeowner of a backyard stream appreciate this resource, protect personal property, and improve water quality and habitat.
Increased levels of urbanization result in reductions in the amount of rainfall that infiltrates and evapotranspires and increases the amount of rainfall that becomes runoff. These changes can result in flooding, streambank erosion, and water quality degradation. Hydrologic models are useful in understanding watersheds and how changes in a watershed can affect hydrology. Hydrologic models can predict the amount of rainfall that becomes runoff under different scenarios.
Knowing the amount of water flowing in a stream can improve management practices such as those related to streambank erosion, pollutant loading and transport, and flood control. Streamflow or discharge is defined as the volume of water moving past a specific point in a stream for a fixed period of time.
Streams are an important part of the landscape. Streams transport water, sediment and energy; provide habitat for aquatic life and support terrestrial life; provide a place for recreation; and in many cases serve as a water supply. The health of streams---or their ability to perform these important functions---is dependent on the conditions of the watersheds which they drain. Changes in land use within a watershed can affect a stream's health.
Streambank erosion refers to the removal of soil and other material, such as rock and vegetation, from the streambank. Streambank erosion is a naturally occurring process, but the rate at which it occurs is often increased by anthropogenic or human activities such as urbanization and agriculture. Changes in land use can cause streambanks to erode at rates much faster than those seen in natural, undisturbed systems.
Stream restoration is the re-establishment of the structure (dimension, pattern, and profile) and function (transport of water, sediment, and nutrients; habitat provision) of a degraded stream as closely as possible to pre-disturbance conditions.
Authors: Carmen Agouridis
Groundwater is an important water source for activities such as drinking, bathing, cooking, and crop irrigation. Keeping our groundwater sources clean is becoming more challenging with an ever growing population. In watersheds underlain with karst, such as many of those in Kentucky, the groundwater is more susceptible to contamination. This is because surface waters, such as runoff and in some cases streamflow, travel into the subsurface of karst by way of fractures, sinkholes, swallow holes, conduits and caves Such direct paths into the groundwater mean that pollutants reach the aquifer much more quickly with little to no filtration. Thus, while waters from springs and wells may look clean, they may actually contain unsafe levels of pollutants such as bacteria and nitrogen.
Fresh water is an essential natural resource that is used every day for drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and recreation. In Kentucky, the water used for these tasks mainly comes from streams and rivers, but it can also come from groundwater. Because our streams, rivers, and aquifers are so vital to our daily lives, it is important that we protect them from trash, debris, and other pollutants found in stormwater. What happens to the land around these water sources affects their condition and health.
As more land is covered by impervious surfaces, less rainfall infiltrates into the ground and instead becomes runoff. Too much runoff is problematic. Flooding increases, streambanks erode, and water quality is reduced. An increase of impervious area of as little 10 percent has been shown to negatively impact streams. The purpose of this publication is to explain low impact development strategies and how they can be used to improve stormwater management by reducing impacts on streams.
As our population has grown, so have our towns and cities, and this growth has led to an increase in stormwater runoff. Stormwater best management practices help mitigate the impact of stormwater runoff on water quality by reducing pollutant loads through physical, chemical and/or biological processes. One of the most effective BMPs at improving stormwater quality is the stormwater wetland.
Non-point source pollution (NPS) occurs when rainfall and snowmelt flows over the ground, picking up pollutants such as pathogens, sediments, and nutrients on its way to streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. More than 50 percent of the nation's rivers and streams and nearly 70 percent of the nation's lakes are impacted by NPS. Pathogens, sediments, and nutrients are the biggest contributors to impairment of rivers and streams while mercury, nutrients, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are the biggest contributors to the impairment of lakes. One method of managing NPS pollution is through the use of structural best management practices (BMPs). Structural BMPs are designed to decrease the volume of runoff that enters water bodies by increasing infiltration rates. Examples of structural BMPs include rain gardens, stormwater wetlands, and riparian buffers. A newer structural BMP is a weep berm.
We generally view gardening as a wholesome activity that enhances our environment. But pesticides, fertilizers, and erosion from gardens and landscapes can contaminate lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and groundwater. Since the quality of our water resources affects our quality of life, we must learn how gardening practices can contribute to water contamination and how to reduce the threat to water quality.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that agricultural sediment, pathogens, and nutrients account for more than 50 percent of water pollution in the United States. Animal confinement facilities, widely used for holding, feeding, and handling animals, are potential sources of that pollution. The pollution load of these facilities can be reduced by installing and maintaining best management practices. The BMPs may be implemented as part of permit compliance or may be used to ensure that a permit is not needed.
Kentucky's abundant forage makes it well suited for grazing livestock. Livestock producers can make additional profits by adding a few pounds before marketing calves; however, adding those pounds requires keeping calves during the winter months, when pasture forages are dormant and supplemental feed is required. The areas used to winter calves need to be conducive to feeding and need to avoid negatively impacting the environment, especially water quality.
Managing runoff in urban areas offers many challenges for engineers, landscape architects, and planners. As cities grow, the amount of impermeable surfaces--those that do not allow water to infiltrate into the ground--increases. Examples of impervious surfaces are asphalt roads, concrete sidewalks, parking lots, building roofs, and areas of highly compacted soils such as in subdivisions. If not properly managed, the stormwater runoff produced by these impermeable surfaces can have negative effects on nearby surface waters.
Stormwater is excess water from rainfall and snowmelts that flows over the ground and does not infiltrate the soil. It is a concern not just in urban areas but in suburban and agricultural locations as well. As stormwater runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces, it picks up and transports trash and debris as well as pollutants such as pathogens, nutrients, sediments, heavy metals, and chemicals. This publication reviews some of these techniques and provides a list of recommended resources for additional information.
This publication provides livestock producers with instructions on how to install a stream crossing that provides animal and vehicular access across streams. This best management practice (BMP) is intended for use with exclusion fencing that restricts cattle access to the stream. Implementation of a stream crossing with exclusion fencing will improve water quality, reducing nutrient, sediment, pathogen, and organic matter loads to streams.
Kentucky's abundant forage makes it well suited for grazing livestock, but the pasturing and pasture feeding of livestock need to be managed. Allowing cattle to behave as they would naturally can lead to overgrazing, congregation in sensitive areas, buildup of mud, loss of vegetation, compaction of soils, and erosion.
Abandoned wells are often the only structures remaining after an old house or barn has been removed. If left unmanaged in agricultural areas, these abandoned wells can pose a serious threat to livestock and human safety because of the large surface openings they often have.
Water supply is a key component in livestock production. One option producers have when providing water is to develop an existing spring, which occurs when groundwater running along an impervious rock layer hits a fracture and discharges on the surface.
Cattle maintain their body temperature in winter by burning more calories, which requires them to consume more feed. Livestock producers use wooded areas to provide protection for cattle from wind and low temperatures. That protection enables the cattle to conserve energy and eat less. Using wooded areas for winter feeding makes practical sense, but producers need to consider several environmental issues when planning for it.
Departments: Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Forestry and Natural Resources
Series: Interdepartmental (ID series)
Tags: animals, beef cattle, livestock, natural resources, water
Size: 273 kb
Authors: Jeff Stringer
All parties involved in woodland operations are responsible for water quality protection. One of the most effective methods of protecting water quality during forestry operations is to use BMPs. BMPs are guidelines and techniques that, when used properly, can help reduce impact to our waters. They do this by decreasing erosion and the creation of muddy water, keeping chemicals and fluids out of streams, and limiting changes in the woods next to streams.
Authors: Jeff Stringer
Authors: Tom Barnes