This post was submitted by Alan Wiebe, Watershed Assistant at the Seine-Rat River Conservation DistrictBlog 1

The Rat River is a picturesque waterway viewed from Peter Funk’s farm along Highway #216. The river winds its way through Peter’s property which his cattle use for grazing. Peter needs to fence off the river to prevent his cattle from wandering away when the water level is low. Fencing off the river, however, creates an obstruction for canoeing enthusiasts who use the waterway throughout the summer. The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) partnered with Peter Funk to develop a way to fence off the river and keep it safe for canoeists.

Funk River Fence

You may have driven past Peter’s farm where the Rat River crosses Highway #216 and noticed an innovative response to this mutual concern. The FunkRiver Fence is a pilot project coBlog 3mprised of a steel cable strung across the river. The cable is raised a few meters above the water level. PVC piping is hung from the cable creating a ‘curtain’ that deters cattle from wandering away and allows canoeists to safely pass. The curtain of pipes move with the breeze and water current creating a visual barrier for the cattle. Canoeists simply maneuver through the pipes which freely hang in the water above the river bed.

River Fence Unique to Canada

The river fence design was first developed in the United States by a group of concerned boaters in Colorado. The group decided to take action after a man on a paddle board was injured after becoming snagged on a barbed wire under the surface of the water. The group collaborated with a local rancher to find a way to meet the needs of both the rancher and the boaters. The river fence provides a way to keep the cattle enclosed on the property while eliminating fence hazards for boaters.

The Funk River Fence is unique to Canada and was funded by the SRRCD for under $1,000. The fence was assembled by our staff who cut the PVC pipes to length. Each pipe is fitted with a wire loop that is fastened to the cable that extends across the river. Each pipe is spaced about one foot apart to maintain a uniform curtain effect. The cable is threaded through fence posts on either side of the river. Once the cable was threaded through the fence posts, SRRCD staff waded waist-deep into the river to make final adjustments to the length of the pipes. The Funk River Fence pilot-project is a creative idea implemented by people who care about our watershed.

We are always looking for innovative ways to partner with the residents of our watershed district. Feel free to contact our office in La Broquerie at 204-424-5845, or in Vita at 204-425-7877. You can also visit us online at 2