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Aug 08

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Good fences make good water

Cows crossing a stream (via Chesapeake Bay Program)

Cows wading in a stream might make a pretty picture. But the reality is a lot less pleasant.

Jinjun Kan is a microbiologist with Stroud Research Center. He’s been monitoring streams in the Delaware River Watershed for bacteria that are present as a result of fecal contamination. And he’s found high levels, especially in summer.

Kan: “We try to understand why we have the high number of bacteria… And how can we reduce those bacteria.”

Kan says possible causes include leaky septic systems and runoff from nearby farm fields. But wading cows also contribute by excreting waste directly in the water.

So he says fencing livestock out of streams is one step farmers can take to help protect water quality.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/good-fences-make-good-water/