Horse & Livestock BMPs

What are BMPs? Best Management Practices (BMPs) are strategies to address problems associated with erosion, drainage, mud, and manure on horse and livestock properties. BMPs are critical in preventing contaminants from entering the watershed, conserving natural resources, increasing facility safety and efficiency, improving land aesthetics, and encouraging community collaboration. VCRCD staff oftentimes recommend the following BMPs to local horse and livestock owners:

  • Manure bunkers: Impermeable structures to temporarily store manure. 
  • Composting: The process of transforming manure into a beneficial, biologically-active and chemically-neutral product. 
  • Vegetated buffer (filter) strips: Areas of plush vegetation to catch sediment or pollutants from water runoff before it enters receiving waterbodies. 
  • Roof drainage controls: Structures, such as gutters, downspouts, and rain barrels/cisterns, that collect rainwater from roofs and divert it away from nutrient-rich areas.
  • Fencing: Constructed barriers that separate domestic animals from waterways. 
  • Manure hauling schedules: The routine removal and transportation of manure to a disposal site. 
  • Bioswales: Vegetated basins that provide retention and treatment (filtration) of water runoff. 


Curious about the BMPs fit for YOUR property? Please contact Lexi Everhart, Environmental and Land Management Specialist at to schedule a site visit.


Improved paddock footing for effective drainage

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Helpful Resources

 Equine BMP Guide: An extensive resource for horse owners and/or facilities to manage stormwater runoff.

 Watershed Protection Tips for Horse Owners: A brief brochure describing common BMPs and their benefits. 

 Ventura County Manure Management Plan Guidelines: A foundation for any horse owner to develop their own plan.

 Horses for Clean Water Website: A website focused on current news on the latest horse keeping practices.

 Images of Successful BMPs:  A website showing several completed projects by northern CA horse owners.