Land & Water Australia. 2007. The Issues: Rivers & Water Quality. [Online] (Updated October 7th, 2009)
Available at: http://lwa.gov.au/node/286 [Accessed Tuesday 12th of March 2013 12:26:01 PM ].
The supply of good quality water throughout a catchment is the life blood of a community. Water quality impacts on animal production in the following ways:
- High levels of nutrients predispose streams to toxic algal blooms.
- Water with high levels of salinity, turbidity or organic matter levels reduces sheep feed intake and thus production.
- Dung contamination of water supplies contributes to nutrient levels in streams and is potential source of disease spread between animals.
- Where water quality is degraded increased treatment costs are required for urban water use.
- High levels of turbidity limit the variety of life in streams by blocking sunlight while salinity has effects in-stream and on the vegetation along streams.
Erosion along stream banks and in gullies has resulted in the loss of deep pools in many of the streams in country Australia. The loss of these pools reduces the value of these streams in dry periods because they have a limited ability to supply water to stock. Erosion also results in the loss of land and creates stock access problems.
Protecting streams by fencing to create buffer strips is a critical step in addressing water and stream quality issues that will benefit all users of streams. Buffer strips act as filters, which trap sediment and nutrients. They:
- Prevent stock from causing bank erosion and limit contamination of waterways.
- Allow the regeneration or planting of riparian vegetation.
- Can significantly improve stock movement if fences are located to prevent stock accessing difficult-to-muster areas. Fences can also be used to create simpler crossing points on streams. Careful location also means less damage to fences during floods.
- Buffer strips themselves can be highly productive areas and can be tactically grazed and used for shelter. Locating fences along streams and away from the stream bank fencing across streams can reduce fencing repair bills from floods.
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