Conserving Australia, one fence at a time

Whether they’re protecting vegetation, wildlife or other environmental assets, conservation land managers are increasingly recognising the benefits of a good quality, long lasting fence.

In many cases, they’re turning to all-steel construction because it offers greater protection against fire and corrosion than timber, and are easy to install and maintain.

When a bushfire ripped through Ngarkat Conservation Park near Bordertown in the south-east of South Australia in January 2014, for instance, protecting what new growth would return and restoring local habitats for native animals became a priority.

The initial priority was to keep out the cattle from neighbouring properties and protect the all-important food sources for the endangered Mallee emu-wren and other natives which make their home in Ngarkat.

The emu-wren has been listed as an endangered species, with only 4,000 of the tiny birds estimated to remain.

Contractor Shayne Hovey was tasked with repairing and installing 17 kilometres of fence, with financial support from the local Coorong Tatiara Local Action Plan Committee, and chose Waratah fencing products.

“Given the area is prone to fires, it was high time the combination of old imported steel posts and pine posts were replaced with something that would stand up to fire,” Mr Hovey said.

“I wouldn’t normally run six lines of barb for a cattle fence, but we meant business with this design – we had to ensure this fence could withstand the abnormally high pressures encountered in an area with significant large wildlife populations.”

At the other end of the country, it’s not just cattle but wild pigs that need to be kept out of ecologically diverse areas, as they not only destroy native fauna but they can be very destructive to wetlands.

Waratah fencing’s Queensland Sales Manager Cameron Condon says this is particularly true in an area known as Keatings Lagoon, south of Cooktown.

“Keatings Lagoon is important from an ecological point of view, but given it is also a key visitor site, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) needs to protect the resource for the visitors as well.

“Most significantly, for the traditional owners of this park, the Waymbuurr clan of the Guugu Yimidhirr people, it is a very special place so its conservation and protection is of absolute importance.”

Waratah’s been holding training sessions in fencing for traditional owners and QPWS rangers, helping to protect Cape York Peninsula’s beautiful landscapes.

“The sessions were well received, and several participants have gone on to be employed in fencing jobs around the Cape,” Mr Condon said.

“The training has provided some very high quality fences, and increased rangers’ and owners’ knowledge of fence construction and maintenance.”

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