• Wildlife Habitat on Grazed or Ungrazed Small Pond Shorelines in South Texas

      Whyte, R. J.; Cain, B. W. (Society for Range Management, 1981-01-01)
      Three man-made ponds constructed in 1956 and fenced to exclude cattle from the shoreline were selected to study the effects of cattle on shoreline vegetation. These ponds were partially opened in 1977 to allow grazing on one-half of the shoreline. The vegetation was sampled monthly with an inclined 10-point frame placed at 1-m intervals along transects in the opened and fenced sections of the shorelines. In most areas the foliar cover and vegetation height were reduced by cattle pressure. The stable Long-tom Community and the Knotgrass-Smartweed Community were more affected by cattle pressure than the Transition Community which changed as the water level rose or dropped. The seasonal Aquatic Community was least affected by cattle pressure and thus maintained good stands of waterfowl food plants. Carefully planned grazing which allows key rest and grazing periods will control the impact of grazing on the shoreline vegetation. Stable waterfowl habitat on the shorelines of small man-made ponds in South Texas can best be protected by fencing at least one-half of the shoreline to restrict cattle use.