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Benefits of fencing waterways in New Zealand

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Fencing waterway margins is an important step in protecting freshwater from nutrients, faecal matter and sediment.

A guide from DairyNZ

It creates a buffer between water and the land. Fencing riparian zones will create a habitat for birds and freshwater species and will also help maintain and improve water quality.

Under the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord:

  • All stock must be excluded from any permanently flowing rivers, streams, drains and springs, more than a metre wide and 30cm deep by May 2017
  • All lakes must have all stock permanently excluded by May 2017
  • Any significant wetlands, as identified in your regional plan or policy statement must also have stock permanently excluded by May 2017. Check with your dairy company to see if you have one on your property.

This means that the fencing of waterways should be a priority on your farm.

Planning

Consider the overall layout of your farm when planning for waterway fences. Along with protecting waterways, new fencing could improve grazing management and stock control1. The setback for your fence will depend on how you are going to manage the area between the fence and the stream. Do you want to maintain it as a grassy strip to filter nutrients and sediment from runoff or do you want to plant it with trees?

What is your waterway like?

Surrounded by rolling land/ flat land

Fence set back needs to allow for a grass margin and changes in stream shape and size. If you are planting natives you will need a margin of five metres, this will allow for a one metre strip of grass and two to three rows of native plants.

Surrounded by steep land

Steep areas generate fast runoff and the margin required to capture it will be wider than that used for rolling or flat land. Allow for a grass strip on the fence side of the riparian zone. If you are planting natives you will need a margin of five metres, this will allow for a one metre strip of grass and two to three rows of native plants. The larger the riparian zone, the more likely that runoff will be captured before it reaches the stream. 

Erosion prone banks 

Fences will need to be set back further on erosion prone banks. Allow for some erosion and changes in stream meander, particularly on the outside of bends. Erosion is a natural process and in some areas will be hard to stop or slow without appropriate planting or structures. Your regional council will be able to give you ideas and advice on how to fix it.

Consider how far the stream moves during large storm or erosion events and how many events occur yearly. Vegetation will not protect the stream straight away so fence back far enough to allow for three years of erosion. For more information on erosion management see Waterway Technote: Erosion. 

Surrounded by poorly drained soils

Poorly drained soils require a wide setback. Water does not easily infiltrate the soil resulting in overland flow directly into waterways. Wetlands can be used to remove nutrients and sediment, so try to fence these off also. Dense riparian plantings will slow flow and also act as a filter before runoff enters the waterway. Your setback should allow for several rows of trees and a grassy margin.

Surrounded by free draining soils

Free draining soils will require a riparian area large enough to accommodate deep rooted plants. In well-drained soils water will easily move through the soil into groundwater and then potentially into surface water. Roots of riparian plants help to filter this, removing nutrients and other contaminants. Plants with strong roots will also help to stabilise banks and prevent erosion.

Weed management

Weed growth can be a problem in fenced grass margins if not managed early on. For information on identifying and controlling specific types of weeds see Waterway Technote: Pests. 

Type of fence

Investment in a robust, stock proof, good quality fence provides the best waterway protection and minimises maintenance issues long term. Ensure your fence is suitable for all classes of stock that will be near waterways.

Requirements

Different milk suppliers have different minimum requirements around fencing so it is best to check with your milk supplier before finalising your choice of fence. Waterways that are required to be fenced due to a resource consent condition may have specific fencing requirements and fence setbacks. Ensure you comply with any regional council requirements.

Funding

Funding may be available from regional councils or QEII Trust. Usually it is for fencing above the minimum standard, for example fencing an environmentally significant waterway or wetland. In these circumstances, specific fencing standards may apply. For further information on fencing design and what materials to use see openspace.org.nz.

Fencing in flood prone areas

These areas may need a wider set back than other areas, to ensure that the fence is not subjected to high velocity flows. Where possible erect fences above any flood prone areas or leave a good setback from the waterway. This is particularly important on the outside of bends of rivers and streams where there is greatest potential for banks to break and erosion to occur. Think about what the stream does in regular high flow events before fencing. 

Download the full guide from DairyNZ

Fencing waterways protects freshwater from nutrients, effluent and sediment

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Fencing waterways protects freshwater from nutrients, effluent and sediment by excluding stock and creating a buffer between water and the land.

Fencing will help to maintain and improve water quality and create a habitat for birds and freshwater species.

Fencing waterways is a priority under the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord.

All stock must be excluded from all lakes and any permanently flowing rivers, streams, drains and springs, more than 1m wide and 30cm deep.

Any significant wetlands, as identified in a regional plan or policy statement, must also have had all stock permanently excluded.

Waterway fencing must be far enough back to allow for movement/flooding of the waterway.

Start by mapping your waterways and create a fencing plan; consider the overall layout of your farm; along with protecting waterways, new fencing can improve grazing management and stock control.

Plan fence lines and crossing points; the area between the fence and waterway will slow runoff to ensure as much bacteria, phosphorus and sediment as possible is filtered out before entering the waterway.

Choose your fence setback depending on how you are going to manage the area. There are four main ways to manage your riparian areas as outlined below. All have the benefit of stock exclusion and reducing phosphorous and sediment from entering waterways.

Additional benefits and limitations for each option are listed below to help you decide on the fence setback that will best suit your needs.

Grass filter strip between fence and waterway

Additional benefits

  • Low cost
  • Small loss of grazing land

Limitations

  • Weed control required
  • No shading of stream
  • Minimal habitat for bird and aquatic life
  • Minimal bank stabilisation without deeper rooted vegetation.

Low planting between fence and waterway

Additional benefits

  • Stream bank stability
  • Small loss of grazing land
  • Can make use of sprays targeted to broadleaf species
  • Helps control weed growth
  • Shade and cover for fish and insect life.

Limitations

  • Weed control require
  • Minimal habitat for birdlife

Full planting between fence and waterway

Additional benefits

  • Reduced drain maintenance
  • Attractive asset for your farm
  • Provides shade and keeps water cool
  • Increased habitat for birds.

Limitations

  • Higher cost
  • Larger loss of grazing land
  • Needs weed control for at least two to three years
  • May require animal pest control.

Extend fenced area to include seeps, wetlands, swamps and springs

Additional benefits

  • Reduces stock losses
  • Provide habitat for bird life.

Limitations

  • May result in loss of grazing land
  • Needs stringent weed control
  • Higher cost if planting required

Fencing in flood prone areas

  • Use fewer upright posts and less wire; this way less debris will catch on the fence. Do not use netting as it will trap debris.
  • Put wires on the downstream back side of posts so that flood waters will cause the staples to pop and the wire drop rather than pull out the posts and strainers.
  • Use unbarbed staples so wires can pop off more easily.
  • Erect fences parallel with the way the stream floods so the fence does not collect debris.
  • Have fences further back where active erosion is occurring
  • Construct separate ‘blow-out’ sections across flood channels.

Access to drains

  • Build an electric fence that can be dropped or removed to allow access, e.g. use pinlock insulators so the wires can easily be lowered for machinery to cross.
  • Position the fence so a long-reach digger can reach over the top.
  • For wide waterways, place a fence far enough back to allow a digger to work between the fence and the bank. This approach still allows for a wide grassy margin and you can plant low growing plants on the waterway margin if you wish.
  •  Do not cut off gateways that give diggers access to neighbouring paddocks.

Article courtesy of DairyNZ.

Urban & Rural Fence Types

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Fencing in Christchurch or Canterbury? Did you know the Fencing Act 1978 suggests adequate fences for urban and rural settings as follows:

Specimen types of fence

Urban
  1. Post and rail fence: A post and rail fence, at least 1 m in height, of substantial material, firmly erected, with not less than 4 rails, the space between the 2 bottom rails, and the bottom rail and the ground, not to exceed 125 mm, and the posts to be not more than 2.75 m apart.
  2. Close boarded fence: A close boarded fence at least 1.5 m in height with posts and 2 rails, and having split or sawn timber placed upright, and well nailed to both rails, there being no openings between upright pieces of timber.
  3. Paling fence: Any paling fence, at least 1 m in height, with posts and 2 rails, and having split or sawn timber placed upright, and well nailed to both rails, there being not more than 100 mm of opening between upright pieces of timber.
  4. Panel fence: A panel fence at least 1 m in height with posts spaced not more than 2.7 m apart and having 2 or more rails with asbestos cement infil panels securely screwed to the rails.
  5. Masonry walls: Walls of brickwork, blockwork, or stonework adequately supported.
Rural
  1. 7 or 8 wire fence: A substantial wire fence, having 7 or 8 wires properly strained, with up to 2 of these wires as galvanised barbed wire, or with 1 galvanised barbed wire and a top rail; barbed wires to be placed in a position agreed upon by the persons interested, or to be omitted if those persons agree; the posts to be of durable timber, metal, or reinforced concrete, and not more than 5 m apart, and securely rammed and, in hollows or where subject to lifting through the strain of the wire, to be securely footed, or stayed with wire; the battens (droppers) to be affixed to the wires and of durable timber, metal or plastic, evenly spaced, and not fewer than 3 between posts; the wires to be galvanised and of 2.5 mm high tensile steel or 4 mm steel or its equivalent; the bottom wire to be not more than 125 mm from the ground, the next 3 wires to be not more than 125 mm apart; and the top wire or rail to be not less than 1 m from the ground.
  2. 9 or 10 wire fence: A substantial wire fence having 9 or 10 wires properly strained, with or without battens (droppers) or lacing affixed to the wires between the posts or standards; the posts or standards to be of durable timber, metal, or reinforced concrete, well and substantially erected, and not more than 5 m apart, the top wire not to be less than 1 m from the ground surface, the wires to be galvanised, and of 2.5 mm high tensile steel or 4 mm steel, or its equivalent, the space between the ground and the bottom wire not to exceed 100 mm, the 4 bottom wires to be not more than 130 mm apart.
  3. Prefabricated (netting) fence: A substantial wire netting fence properly strained of a minimum height of 1 m; the netting to have at least 7 horizontal wires, and, if necessary, extra wires above or below the netting, one of which may be a galvanised barb wire, all other wires to be galvanised in either 2.5 mm high tensile steel or 4 mm steel, or its equivalent; the vertical stays of the netting to be galvanised wire, and not more than 305 mm apart; posts or standards to be not more than 5 m apart, and of durable timber, metal, or reinforced concrete; additional battens (droppers) may be installed between the posts if both parties agree; the overall fence to be well and substantially erected.
  4. Live fence: A close and sufficient live fence.

What Is A Fencing Notice?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Fencing Notice is a formal proposal to your neighbour which describes the fencing work you would like done (the cost of which you want your neighbour to contribute to).

You can use a Fencing Notice if you've already tried and failed to reach an agreement with your neighbour.

The Fencing Notice has to specify the boundary along which work is to be done, the nature of the work (e.g. building a new fence or repairing an existing one, and what it will look like) and the materials to be used. The notice has to state an estimate of the cost of the work, and how those costs are to be shared (if you propose that they aren't shared equally).

It must also tell your neighbour that they have 21 days to object (see the next question), and that if they don’t object within this period they will be deemed to have consented to the work.

You can download a sample Fencing Notice from the NZ Legislation website.

Wear Fencing - An Accredited Canterbury based Fencing Contractor

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand or FCANZ has developed the ”accredited fencing contractor” qualification to bring the fencing business up to a standard that covers both the construction of the fence, as well as the running of the business.

With fencing contractors now being stand-alone businesses it has become more important to run the business as a business.

Required Documentation to become an accredited fencing contractor:

  • NZQA national certificate in fencing
  • First Aid certificate
  • A working heath and safety manual.
  • Employment contract.
  • A signed declaration saying that you have a high regard for heath and safety and employment issues
  • Evidence of three years in business
  • Public liability insurance
  • Three client testimonials

What do I need to do, to arrange for a new boundary fence to be built?

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The first thing you need to do is talk to the neighbour who shares the boundary with you.

You’ll need to come to an agreement with them about building the fence, as well as details such as how high the new fence should be, what building materials it will be made of, and how much to spend on it.

The Fencing Act 1978 provides that in general the occupiers of neighbouring properties that are not divided by an adequate fence have to contribute equally to the cost of work on a fence. If there is no fence or you think the existing fence is inadequate or in need of repair, then you can expect that your neighbour will share the costs of getting the fence built or repaired, however you can agree to share the cost differently.

Once you are in agreement it’s preferable to get it all down in writing, for future reference.

If you change your mind about the type of fence you want, you’ll need to consult with your neighbour to ensure they agree to it. If your neighbour moves before the fencing work begins you’ll need to make a new agreement with the new neighbour.

If you aren’t able to come to an agreement about the details of building a fence, you can serve your neighbour with a Fencing Notice.

Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website for more information. 

 

Fencing in Christchurch? Can I ask a neighbour to contribute to the cost of a new fence?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Yes. Generally, if you want to build a fence on a common boundary with your neighbour, or upgrade an existing one, you can expect the neighbour to go halves on the bill for an "adequate" fence.

That is, one that is "reasonably satisfactory" for the purpose it is intended to serve.

Discuss your plans with your neighbour before you start putting in the fence-posts, though, and try to keep the proposal reasonable. They are entitled to object if they disagree about what is appropriate.

If you can not reach an agreement, or your neighbour refuses to pay half, there is a formal process you can follow. First, you must serve your neighbour with a "fencing notice".

What should the "fencing notice" say?

The notice should state that it is served under the Fencing Act 1978 and contain the names and addresses of both you and your neighbour. It must describe:

  • The boundary to be fenced.
  • The type of fence to be built.
  • Who will build the fence.
  • The estimated total cost.
  • How materials are to be purchased.
  • The start date for work.

It must also explain that your neighbour has 21 days to object to any aspect of the proposal and make any counter proposals. It must say that if your neighbour does not accept liability, you must be told within 21 days the reason why and be given the name and address of whoever your neighbour believes is liable.

The notice must also say that if your neighbour makes no communication within 21 days, they will be deemed to have agreed to the proposals and will have to share the cost.

Remember to sign and date the notice, and keep a copy for yourself. You can deliver it by registered letter or in person. This is called "serving notice".

If you have trouble preparing your notice, refer to a copy of the Fencing Act. A sample notice is included in the schedules to the Act, as are some useful descriptions of various different types of fences.

For information visit the Consumer NZ website. 


 

Rural Fencing Glossary

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rural Fencing is in our DNA. The following fencing glossary may help you identify the requirements for your rural fencing.

Angle post

These posts are used to define a change in the direction of a fence. They are a more substantial post that is stayed for extra support.

Battening

This refers to the stapling of wooden battens to the fence between line posts to retain wire spacing and improve stock retention.

Bevel

The bevel (or chamfer) is used to take the sharp edges off the post tops.

Blading/Ground clearance

This is the levelling of ground contour before fence construction, which helps to keep the wires clear off the ground. This is usually done with bulldozers.

Dip posts

These posts define the gullies or low points in the fence line. They are usually footed as they are holding the fence down and are subject to lifting.

Foot

The piece of wood placed at the bottom of strainer posts to add strength and prevent twisting and lifting of the post when under pressure. The size of the foot needed will vary depending on ground conditions and soil types. Foots are also used to secure dip posts.

Gudgeons

These are used to fix and support a gate to the strainer post.

Guide wire

This defines the line of the fence during construction. It is a wire that runs from one end of the fence to the other end and around any angle posts.

Jenny

Wire dispenser used to reel out or ‘pay out’ wire along the fence line.

Line posts

These are ‘intermediate posts’ that are placed between the strainer, rise and dip posts to hold the fence and wires upright.

Line wires

These are the main fence wires put onto the fence during construction. The quantity of line wires can vary depending on the fence’s purpose.

Mortice

This is the chiselled out area and support joint where the stay is joined to a strainer post. It adds extra support.

Ramming

Refers to the method used to secure the strainer and angle posts in the ground. It involves compacting of soil, sub-soil and top soil around the post and footing.

Rise posts

These posts define the high points or rises in the fence line and are usually only needed where there is hilly contour.

Rotating

Refers to the turning or twisting of the post in the hole, which is detrimental to the fence. It can be corrected with footing.

SED

Small end diameter.

Stay

This post is used to support the strainer and angle posts against the strain of the line wires. It runs on an angle from the upper end of the post to the ground.

Stay block

This is the block (sometimes referred to as the dead man) that the stay rests on. It works by giving the stay a greater bearing surface in the ground.

Strainer

This is the end post (main post) of the fence and the main strain carrier of the wires.

Tensioning

This refers to the tightening of the wires on the fence.

Tying off

This is done after the tensioning of the wires has been done and refers to the tying of wires to the end strainer post.

Wire gauge

Refers to the size and the diameter of the wire.

Wire gauging

Refers to the wire spacing on the fence.