Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level



Animal Science


Wood, Lisa

Committee Member/Reader

Coffey, Ken

Committee Member/Second Reader

Brye, Kristofor


Cattle are known to have an effect on water quality in various bodies of water. Studying how cattle impact water quality along various streams and tributaries is important to understanding how certain water parameters may be affected at the individual farm level. It is known that unrestricted access to a cattle crossing has been shown to increase the occurrence of downstream pollutants such as E. coli, ammonium, total kjeldahl nitrogen, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, and turbidity. However, many studies focus on large-scale operations and neglect the individual farm level. In this study, samples were collected twice for each parameter studied. An upstream, crossing, and downstream sampling site were established in order to evaluate water quality across the reach of the studied tributary of the Muddy Fork of the Illinois River in Northwest Arkansas. Results were obtained out in the field or within a lab, but exact instructions were followed for both collections. It was discovered that cattle had an impact on water quality downstream from the cattle crossing on the individual farm level. However, many parameters were shown to exhibit poor quality from the upstream collection area. Specifically, E. coli increased at and downstream from the cattle crossing. Dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand also increased downstream from the cattle crossing. Results suggested that best management practices, such as off-stream watering points, should be implemented to reduce cattle occurrence in riparian zones to improve in-stream water quality.


cattle crossing, water quality, E. coli, Illinois River, Off-stream watering points