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Watch a video about the problem of livestock in ponds.

In addition to fishing, many ponds provide a source of water for livestock. Cattle may muddy the water, cause erosion of the dam and the shoreline, or their wastes may result in excessive nutrients, which may cause fish kills. Alternate sources of water should be used or the overflow pipe should empty into a trough below the dam. If the pond must be used to water cattle, fences should be constructed, which allow cattle access to only a small portion of the pond. Ponds that are heavily utilized by livestock should not be fertilized.

Dam Erosion by Cattle. Photo by Doug Darr
When Cattle Are Allowed to Walk on the Pond's Dam, Dam Failure Can Occur.

Fencing to exclude cattle. Photo by Phil Ekema.
When Cattle Are Given Limited Access to a Pond, Muddy Water and Erosion Are Reduced.

The information above came from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division's booklet Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds, which is available as a PDF.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has additional information on how to limit the effect of livestock watering in a pond.

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