I have about 3.5 acres of total land and it is essentially split right in half by a small creek that runs year round. One side is mostly grass and about as flat as it gets in the appalachian mountains with a few dispersed trees. the other side is a fairly steep (40%) forested area. The property essestially all slopes towards that creek in some way. The former owner maintained short grass and kept all creek side growth very small.
As I consider my design a big question is introducing animals but not negatively affecting the water. Almost everyone around here just gives free access to creeks and streams to goats, sheep, horses, cows, etc and they leave essentially no riprarian buffer. SO I am looking for some good info on managing this scenario. I would like to keep sheep, goats(pulsed most likely), ducks , and chickens (all in reasonable numbers) but I dont want to have negative impact on the water. So im looking for good info on how close is too close? If they are rotated and there is a riprarian buffer is it ok. Obviously I dont want to be putting lots of manure in water but simultaneously wild animals obviously poop close to and sometimes in water.
For what it is worth, the USDA-NRCS fences all animals out and then puts in pumps and pumps the water to the animals to drink because all the livestock you mention, poo a lot when they drink. It is a good management practice to consider, and if you have the money, it is a great thing to do. If not, I love your idea of riparian areas and limited access points.
I spent a fortune on what is known as a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan which is essentially a lot of scientific paper work based on what my sheep poo, what my soil types are, topography and a host of other data. It required bureaucracy in my humble opinion. Honestly, I think a great rule of thumb is this: since most ruminants poo 85% of what they eat back out in the form of manure, if you must import feed onto the farm to sustain the numbers of animals you have, you are probably overloading your farm with too much manure run-off in the soil.
I am not saying their aren't ways around it without having low livestock numbers. If a tractor is available, simply scraping up the manure from heavily used areas and piling it, ditches sending any rainwater into riparian areas will work. On large farms it is done all the time. But it is so refreshing to hear you are concerned about this right from the start. I am pretty impressed with your concern about nutrient conservation and management. Good for you!