Stream Restoration

Last Modified on February 3, 2016

Crazy Woman Canyon


A photo study and project was started in late 2000 and early 2001 to evaluate the effects of livestock exclusion and short-duration grazing in Northeast Wyoming.

The Lake DeSmet Conservation District, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service offices in Buffalo and Sheridan photo monitored riparian buffer strips in Sheridan and Johnson counties of Wyoming. Eleven sites were monitored from the beginning of the project until 2006. The intent was to document changes from livestock exclusion or limitation via pre and post photographic comparisons. Reduced or no livestock grazing of riparian buffer strips had a positive affect on water quality, stream channel morphology, hydrology, riparian zone soils, instream and streambank vegetation and aquatic and riparian wildlife.

These practices enhanced aquatic and riparian habitat and associated fish and wildlife populations. The increased forage available will also benefit livestock and can be maintained under carefully designed and controlled grazing systems. Overall results indicated that native vegetation increased within the riparian buffer areas, stream channel width decreased and stream depth increased within the buffer areas. This along with more overhanging vegetation resulted in cooler water temperatures, better cover and more terrestrial invertebrates for trout. Improved water storage in the riparian zone increased the green-line area and woody species such as willow and cottonwood along with herbaceous wetland species. These conditions enhanced cover and forage for wildlife and domestic livestock. Stream bank sloughing and nick points have healed and the improved stream bank provided much

better protection during high flow events.


The full study can be found here:

Response of Prairie Stream Riparian Buffers to Livestock Exclusion and Short-Duration

Grazing in Northeast Wyoming- A Pre- and Post- Photographic Comparisons



Before and after pictures of French Creek. The photo on the left was taken on August 11, 2000 and the photo on the right was taken on August 10, 2006. More pictures of the other creeks and rivers in the study are included in the downloadable file.

This riparian buffer strip on French Creek excludes livestock for a 10-year period. The 119 acre buffer strip provides excellent habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic species. Thick, healthy vegetation after six years of rest provides terrestrial wildlife with forage and cover. This same vegetation improves the

fishery by shading the stream and stabilizing undercut bank habitat. Warm season grasses such as prairie cord grass are re-establishing along the stream. This plant does an excellent job securing stream banks.