Anyone who owns livestock, at one time or another has found themselves rounding them up or chasing an escapee. For those of us that maintain grazing animals on pasture, we all understand fencing. Animal fencing can and should be used to exclude livestock from more than just roads and crops. Sensitive areas such as streambanks, drains, ditches, and wetlands should also be protected from the pounding of hooves.
Animal impacts on sensitive areas can create a disturbance of stable stream or drain banks and can cause serious erosion issues on a farm. Nobody wants to see the soil washing away. This is specifically hard on the fish and other organisms that live in the streams that have a difficult time living in waters polluted from sediments, nutrients, pesticides and animal waste.
One of the best ways to protect streambanks from being impacted by livestock is to put up exclusion fencing. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) with funding through the Farm Bill or EQIP programs can help a farmer with a cost share program that can get fencing or stream crossings installed for a farm.
Exclusion fencing stream crossings are a cost effective way to reduce loss of soil (erosion) on a farm. When putting up fencing yourself it is important to consider putting up the fence in a way that is easy to manage. This includes placing the fence far enough from the stream bank for easy maintenance. In addition to fencing stream crossings for livestock are also beneficial ways to reduce erosion and still provide access to the field across the stream.
Contact the Allegan Conservation District 269-673-8965 x4 or the NRCS at 269-673-8965 x3. We will be happy to help you figure out what cost share programs may exist to help you complete your project. If you are not looking for cost share but only for technical advice we can help with that as well.