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Fences Across Rivers
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Author:  chris randall [ August 8th, 2016, 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Fences Across Rivers

We have an issue here in southern Manitoba with farmers putting fences across rivers to stop their cattle from escaping as water levels fall in the summer. I work for a not for profit group and whilst we do try to get farmers to fence cattle away from the river bank many do like to graze the banks for a brief period and short term grazing, particularly in the fall may actually help to maintain plant diversity.

A local farmer was in the habit of stringing an electric fence across the river and not surprisingly it was getting cut by paddlers on a fairly frequent basis. We checked with Transport Canada and apparently it's up to paddlers to take a civil suit if they want him to stop.

We didn't think this was likely to happen and it would probably not help the profile of paddlers it what is a fairlyconservative area so we came up with a different solution. I stole the idea from Colorado River Keepers but I'm guessing it may be the first time it has been used in Canada.



The plastic pipes are free to pivot on the cable that is set up at bridge height. An SUPaddler would have to duck but they would have to do so to get under the bridge anyway.

Seems to work so far, the cows that have been grazing on the bank did not find their way through although water levels have been high enough to prevent them wading into the river.

Author:  steve.of.london [ August 8th, 2016, 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fences Across Rivers

Great idea. A lawyer-free solution. Everyone wins.

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ August 8th, 2016, 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fences Across Rivers

Good job Chris!!!

Author:  Mike McCrea [ August 8th, 2016, 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fences Across Rivers

chris randall wrote:
We have an issue here in southern Manitoba with farmers putting fences across rivers to stop their cattle from escaping as water levels fall in the summer. I work for a not for profit group and whilst we do try to get farmers to fence cattle away from the river bank many do like to graze the banks for a brief period and short term grazing, particularly in the fall may actually help to maintain plant diversity.


Not just plant diversity. I’m not a fan of cattle or fences in the river, but with the spread of invasive plants some native species have come to depend on cattle grazing. Bog turtle sites in the mid-Atlantic area are usually associated with fenced cows, and as small scale farms with cows become scarcer, so do those known sites.

chris randall wrote:
A local farmer was in the habit of stringing an electric fence across the river and not surprisingly it was getting cut by paddlers on a fairly frequent basis. We checked with Transport Canada and apparently it's up to paddlers to take a civil suit if they want him to stop.

We didn't think this was likely to happen and it would probably not help the profile of paddlers it what is a fairly conservative area so we came up with a different solution. I stole the idea from Colorado River Keepers but I'm guessing it may be the first time it has been used in Canada.

Seems to work so far, the cows that have been grazing on the bank did not find their way through although water levels have been high enough to prevent them wading into the river.


I like it. Reminiscent of faux cattle guards out west that are nothing but white stripes painted on the pavement, the cows know that physical cattle guards are hooved-impassible and avoid the fake painted version as well.

I have done a couple of small stream exploratory runs on creeks with fencing, both electric and barbed wire. Those wee creeks require a recent freshet to run and it sucks to come around a corner in current and see wires looming ahead.

I would never cut a farmer’s fence, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to.

Author:  Watersong [ August 9th, 2016, 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fences Across Rivers

Ran into one of these across the Conestoga R. near Drayton Ont. Made of metal, but still a good alternative!

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