Improving water resources management with pasture management in Tennessee
Walker, F. R., and L. B. Reynolds.  2018.  Proceedings of 2018 Tennessee Water Resources Symposium.

In 2014, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) estimated that 44 percent of all water quality impairments in Tennessee came from agriculture, and of that 63 percent were related to grazing systems. Agricultural landscapes in middle and east Tennessee are dominated by cool season pastures, such as tall fescue and orchard grass. Poorly managed pastures can be a significant source of non-point source water quality impairments from erosion, nutrients and pathogens. Since 2001, the University of Tennessee (UT) Extension has been working intensively in the Pond Creek and Oostanaula Creek watersheds in East Tennessee to improve water quality. Efforts to model the sources of sediments identified over-grazed and less well managed pastures as significant sources of pollutants in these watersheds. Based on this information UT Extension focused on improved pasture management as a best management practice (BMP) not only for increasing cattle performance but also for improving water quality. By 2010 several miles of streams were removed by TDEC from the 303 d list of impaired waters. Given the similarities in the geology, soils and land-use in the region improvements in pasture management are a viable win-win option for both improving livestock performance and water quality.