A Preliminary Investigation of Feral Hog Impacts on Water Quality

Author(s): Chaney, B.; Brooks, J.; Aldridge, C.; Omer, A.; Street, G.; Baker, B.

Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are world renowned for having disruptive behaviors that can negatively affect the environment around them. This study was conducted at Mississippi State University South Farm Research Facility. The objective of this preliminary investigation was to identify how water quality and nutrient distribution was affected by the presence of feral hogs. The experiment involved analyzing the nutrients along with the microbial organisms that were present before and after storm event runoff within in-ground sampling units that were located above and below the hog enclosure. Throughout sampling periods at field locations, samples were separated into two individual sampling containers; one set of samples were sent to the USDA lab for microbial testing and the remaining samples were filtered and preserved in the water quality lab at Mississippi State University for nutrient analysis testing. According to the sample analysis, nutrient concentrations and bacterial abundances fluctuated throughout the sampling period. However, nutrient concentrations and bacterial abundances seemed equally or less variable after January 2017 in the upstream and downstream locations. Despite limited sample size availability and detection effectiveness, findings such as these will help guide researchers in discussions pertaining to water quality viability and will allow for future analysis in similar studies involving the presence of feral hogs and their correlation to water quality.

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