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Riparian Areas of South Dakota

JPG-Riparian scenery photograph.

Riparian Management Practices


Wintering and Calving Pastures

JPG-Photo of Holding pastures and riparian areas.

Pastures where livestock are held or "parked" for prolonged periods, such as winter feeding or calving, and where supplemental feeding is normally provided may be a challenge for good riparian management.

Riparian areas provide shelter topography and/or wooded cover.

  • Wintering or calving pastures in riparian areas can experience serious livestock impacts due to trampling of banks and intensive use of herbaceous and woody plants. Repeated, heavy use will threaten the woody plants that are vital for livestock shelter.
  • Cattle browsing may damage woody sprouts and saplings that must be allowed to "release" and replace older trees or shrubs that age and die.
  • Sustainable livestock shelter depends on tree and shrub replacement.

When can holding pastures work?
Holding pastures are hard to manage. The first step in successful management of these pastures is recognizing that livestock shelter and stable banks are the first priorities.

In order for riparian areas to be maintained within holding pastures:

  • Don't regard the vegetation in a holding pasture as forage. Provide adequate supplemental feed although sometimes livestock will still prefer native vegetation over supplemental feeds.
  • Provide ease of access for livestock to water, preferably out of riparian zone.
  • Direct herd pressure to the most resistant areas of the field through placement of supplements.
  • Monitor livestock use of woody regrowth. Provide more rest if tree replacement is suppressed.
  • Consider reducing the size and increasing the number of holding pastures to control the time spent in each pasture.
JPG-Photo of offstream stockwatering areas.

Develop multiple pastures, vary season of use, and/or rest pastures. Limit the time livestock spends in riparian areas.


JPG-Before and after photo of deferred grazing.
JPG-Before and after photo of rotational grazing.
JPG-Management practices photo with comments.

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