Cattle Exclusion from Watercourses: Environmental and socio-economic implications

Id:
4

Funder:
Environmental Protection Agency

Title:
Cattle Exclusion from Watercourses: Environmental and socio-economic implications

Project Reference:
2014-W-LS-6

Acronym:
CONTROL

Coordinator:
Ó hUallacháin Daire

Organisation:
Teagasc

Country:
IRELAND

SRIA Themes:
{sriathemes}

Start Date:
05/01/2015

End Date:
05/09/2018

Summary:
Loss of nutrients from grassland systems to waterbodies is a significant threat to water quality and represents one of the main environmental problems facing agri-ecosystems in Ireland. The EU Water Framework Directive requires Member States to achieve or maintain at least ‘good’ ecological and chemical status in all waters by 2015. Measures proposed under the Green Low carbon Agri-environment Scheme include preventing bovine access to watercourses to improve water quality. Studies suggest that unrestricted cattle access to watercourses can result in deteriorating water quality, however conflicting studies indicate that cattle do not have a significant effect on stream water quality. This project will assess the environmental, ecological and socio-economic impact of cattle exclusion measures on freshwater ecosystems. The project will evaluate existing literature and generate temporal and spatial data on the environmental impact of cattle exclusion measures. The cost-effectiveness of proposed and potential mitigation measures will be assessed through research and expert opinion, along with attitudinal responses of land-owners to the implementation of proposed and potential measures. The project will provide important information for policymakers in relation to the Nitrates and Water Framework Directives. It will also help guide agri-environmental policy and facilitate sustainable intensification objectives under Food Harvest 2020.

Keywords:
Grassland; Nutrient loading; Water bodies; Water Framework Directive; Cattle exclusion measure