Horsekeeping Best Management Practices

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Storm Water Pollution
The City of Rolling Hills Estates has two drainage systems, the sewers and the storm drains. The storm drain system was designed to prevent flooding by carrying excess rainwater away from the city streets and into our local canyons and out to the ocean. Rainwater and irrigation mixed with pollutants create storm water pollution known as urban runoff. Urban runoff flows to the ocean through the storm drain system. Since storm water receives no treatment, all of us must do what we can to prevent pollutants from entering storm drain runoff by controlling pollutants at the source.

Equestrian Pollution Prevention

Some pollutants that may be associated with equestrian activity include:

• sediment from paddock dust and soil erosion
• nutrients from urine and manure
• fecal bacteria from manure
• pesticides used for controlling vectors of disease (mosquitoes, flies, rats)

A three-pronged approach for minimizing the release of pollutants from equestrian activity into surface water would be to:

1. implement good “horsekeeping” practices
2. retrofit existing facilities with structural improvements
3. use effective design when constructing new facilities

The City of Rolling Hills Estates has a brochure available at City Hall and the Rolling Hills General Store that describes storm water best management practices for horse owners and the equestrian community. There are also a number of excellent resources on the web that can provide guidance to environmentally-minded equestrians, these include:

The following is a brief summary of some suggestions you will find in the City’s brochure or on the Internet:

Good “Horsekeeping” Practices

Best management practices – known as BMPs – focus on improvements in daily animal care and stable maintenance activities to reduce the likelihood that pollutants will run off into storm water. These are techniques such as:

• Composting manure reduces the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, kills pathogens and knocks down the odor associated with raw manure. This can be done on site at the stable, or the manure can be regularly picked up and hauled away for composting offsite. Once properly composted, manure may be used as a soil amendment without harm to the watershed.

• Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the term for controlling pests using a prioritized system of pest control. IPM protects humans, livestock, and the watershed by emphasizing the use of physical and biological controls before resorting to chemical controls.

? Physical controls include refilling water troughs daily, removing sources of standing water, keeping feed containers tightly covered, and proper manure management.
? Biological controls employ natural predators that are specific to the pest and not harmful to horses, humans, or beneficial insects.
? Pesticides are used as a last resort and then only applying the least toxic chemicals that are effective in strict accordance with directions.

• Design and Retrofit Considerations for Barns and Corrals to minimize pollution:

- Manure storage areas should be covered, located away from roof drains and drainage ways, and placed on high ground to reduce contact with runoff. Store manure in sturdy, seepage-free units of adequate size.
- Construct vegetated berms, gutters, or grassed ditches to divert or direct surface runoff away from livestock areas.
- Maintain or create a buffer of vegetation on the down slope side of barns, corrals, or riding rings to absorb runoff and sediment from paddocks, stables and wash racks.
- When designing a new facility, locate wash racks, pastures, paddocks and stables at least 50 feet away from streams, canyons, storm drains, septic tanks or leach fields.