The presence of livestock, particularly juvenile stock, in waterways creates a risk to human and stock health. Stock manure contains disease-causing microorganisms known as pathogens. Juvenile stock, particularly calves, contain many times more of these human-infectious pathogens than adult stock. This is because juvenile stock take a while to develop resistance to the pathogens.
Stock defecate more when standing in waterways to drink or when crossing waterways. They also stir up sediments and any pathogens that may be in the water. If stock manure contaminates drinking water sources, and the required level of water treatment is not applied, pathogens can cause serious outbreaks of human disease.
Therefore, managing stock access to waterways upstream of drinking water off-takes is a priority for riparian management programs in Victoria. Managing juvenile stock is the most cost-effective first action for the protection of drinking water catchments.
The following documents have been developed to provide an overview of the issues related to juvenile stock in waterways and to provide steps landholders can take to help manage the problem.
Image, top: Cattle in a creek near Milawa, North East Victoria.
Credit: Leanne Wells, Department of Health and Human Services)
Image, bottom: Fenced riparian land and off stream watering for stock.
Credit: West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
Page last updated: 31/01/19