The Service's West Virginia Field Office Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners Program) specializes in riparian/riverbank habitat restoration and enhancement with livestock exclusion fencing and division fencing. Loss of forested riparian areas degrades habitat for wildlife that are dependent on these areas for breeding and as dispersal corridors.
Livestock fencing, streambank stabilization using bioengineering techniques, and streambank tree and shrub planting are techniques used to restore riparian habitat. These are done in partnership with private landowners, other federal and state agencies, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations.
Restoration and enhancement through streambank fencing and division fencing
Our fencing typically involves constructing two- or three-strand, high-tensile electric fence along streams to limit the access of cattle or other livestock to waterways. A buffer zone is created between pasture and stream. The fencing is very flood tolerant, easy to maintain and repair, and is highly beneficial to fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and farm operation. We also construct livestock exclusion fencing to enhance and protect wetlands and forested areas.
The Partners Program is an invaluable resource for landowners who wish to restore and conserve their property for wildlife. Counties, municipalities and private citizens can partner with the Service, as well as with other federal and state agencies to help maintain healthy ecosystems in West Virginia. The key principle in these partnerships is cost sharing that includes both financial and "in kind" contributions.
Benefits of riparian fencing include:
- Improved fish and wildlife habitat
- Improved herd health
- Reduced run-off and sedimentation to streams
- Improved water quality
- Streambank stabilization
- Increased nesting cover within the buffer zone
- Connected wildlife travel corridors