Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

What to do with a down fence!

[July-August 2016]

By Kane Watson, Regional Landcare Facilitator 

What to do with a floodway fence that goes down, change in mentality, change in purpose.

Replacing fences after a decent flow through creeks or even on the flats has always been a chore for land managers across the rangelands.

Many land holders have changed to three or four strand fences, with varying degrees of success, and some are now installing suspension fences and similar structures.

Many others, however, still persist with ringlock since it best suits the purpose intended.

What do you do with it when it goes over? Have you considered leaving it behind? Some land managers are, with significant erosion control success, including David Pollock of Wooleen Station.

“The debris that catches and tangles in the fence to push it over becomes a sieve structure directly below the strainer post line,” said Mr Pollock while inspecting a creek line on Wooleen.

“The old fence is catching silt and slowing the water, why would I want to pull that out?” he said.

Sieve structures are playing an important role as a land management tool, as highlighted by area experts such as Dr Hugh Pringle and Richard Glover.

Even the simplest designs are described by Dr Pringle as “effective rangeland rehydration measures”.

“The wire is sacrificial, in any water crossing it is going to go down eventually, it is easy to replace a roll of ringlock, rather that the whole fence,” said Mr Pollock.

As demonstrated on Wooleen, this method works when there are good strainers in place, all you need to do is keep some spare ringlock, and replace the sacrificial section when needed.

Next time you have a fence go over, think again before trying to salvage it or removing it, you may have just had a simple erosion control device installed.

For further information on Sieve structures – SieveRolls Factsheet [PDF]

For further information on Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) plans with Richard Glover – ESRM [PDF]

Images:

Top: Debris build up in a flow damaged fence and silt deposit down stream (K.Watson)
Right: RLF Kane Watson (L) with David Pollock (R) at Wooleen Station (K.Watson)