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How to build sediment fences

After a fire it's important to protect your water supply from contamination The biggest danger is runoff containing debris, manure and soil from burnt paddocks

If your dam or waterway is at risk, a quick and simple way to help keep your water clean is to build strategically placed sediment fences at the inflow points The aim of a sediment fence is to slow runoff down so that any material drops out before it reaches the water Protecting your most vital water supply should be your first priority Decide where your fences will go and how many you will need by assessing the catchment size, steepness of slope and contours of the surrounding area Materials can include star posts and wire salvaged from fire damaged fences along with straw, shade cloth or other readily available items

To start building a fence mark out where it will go with spray or by laying posts on the ground Drive star posts into the ground one to two metres apart Ensure the fence line curves downward at each end so water slows and goes around the fence For steeper ground post should be closer together run wires through steel post holes at heights of 150 and 400 millimetres attach and strain between end posts if using shade cloth or fabric roll out the material on the uphill side of the fence and fix the strained wire with tie wire or fencing staples run wire around the upper side at ground level and string pin extra shade cloth up the slope using any old fencing wire or materials that are available straw supported by rabbit wire can also be used to build a sediment fence set out the steel posts in the same way as for the fabric fence roll out the rabbit fencing to slightly overlap at both ends then fold it around end posts and fix firmly with fencing staples or tie wire labor skits have straw against the rabbit mesh on the upslope side and fix with wire pins use rice straw if available that is free of weeds and stock find it unpalatable rabbit wire without straw can also be used for coarser barriers that will collect the biggest debris further up the slope repeat any of these processes to erect further fences whichever method you use ensure the water flows around the first fence then runs into the second and does the same for any subsequent fences check all fences after the first rain to make sure the structures are still secure and there are no gaps leave the fences in place until ground cover is established again when they should be removed so as not to become a hazard in long grass being burnt-out is a devastating experience to help avoid the added worry of a contaminated water supply sediment fences made out of fabric shape cloth or straw should be in place as soon as possible after the fire so you are prepared before the next rain

Source: Youtube

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