|Rotational grazing and appropriate pasture mixtures have created a beautiful green bounty that filters sediment and nutrients from nearby sensitive waterways.|
In Santa Cruz, San Benito, and South Santa Clara Counties, livestock have been identified as one of the non-point source contributors of nutrients, nitrates, pathogens and sediments to local area waterways. Since 2002, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCD) and Ecology Action have been addressing water quality concerns related to area livestock facilities through a program called Livestock and Land. This program was recently awarded additional funding through the State Water Resources Control Board to continue its work through 2008.
The Livestock and Land program strives to teach Best Management Practices (BMPs) to area livestock owners by providing educational publications, workshops and hands-on trainings. The program also offers cost-share assistance for landowners wanting to implement resource conservation projects on their properties. Additional services, made available through the RCD partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), include free on-site consultations and technical assistance. As of March 2007, the program had helped fund the implementation of Best Management Practices at 18 livestock facilities in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara Counties. Additional projects will be funded and implemented in 2008. The program continues to expand and educate livestock owners.