Livestock living in a natural environment might roam miles daily for food, water and shelter. Their continual movement disperses manure and urine and allows for regrowth of vegetation. With domestic livestock, animals are confined to smaller areas where owners provide food, water and safe shelter, which concentrates impacts of soil compaction and disturbance and manure accumulation. Consequently, carefully managed drainage for confined domestic livestock facilities is critical for avoiding movement of nutrients, pathogens and sediments to local surface and ground water which can impact fish and wildlife habitat and other water users downslope or downstream.
Methods for managing livestock facilities to protect water quality include corral placement away from streams, runoff management, filter strips, and manure management and composting. While the Livestock and Land program is not currently active in Monterey County, its website provides a wealth of information.