Fencing Livestock protects the Potomac River
Fencing along Cresap Mill Run. Photo by Rich Mason, USFWS
Fencing along Cresap Mill Run. Photo by Rich Mason, USFWS

Several projects have evolved to keep livestock out of streams and off sensitive stream banks. Two properties along Cresap Mill Run, a tributary to the North Branch of the Potomac River, were fenced. On the first property, 1,600 feet of stream were protected by installing livestock exclusion fence. A semi-intact forest/shrub buffer already existed along the stream but was damaged by livestock. The second Cresap Mill Run fencing project protected 3,600 feet of stream bank. Sparse trees and shrubs currently exist there and will naturally regrow into a fully-functioning buffer.

Excluding the farm animals will allow stream-side trees and shrubs to evolve, provide a travel corridor for migratory birds and other wildlife, and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff.

Photo by Rich Mason, USFWS
New fencing. Photo by Rich Mason, USFWS

A third project along the North Branch of the Potomac River will restore 8,700 feet of riparian buffer. The existing stream banks and floodplain had been damaged by livestock. Natural regeneration of the herb and understory layer in the forest is already evident. In addition, the farmer has started a rotational grazing program which should not only enhance the ecology of the area, but also improve farming operations.

These projects would not be possible without the innovation of its partners. Fencing materials were paid for through a grant by Fish America and the fencing, by Allegany Soil Conservation District, was made possible though funding from Natural Resource Conservation District. Other partners included the Maryland State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information about this project, contact:

Rich Mason
Chesapeake Bay Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
177 Admiral Cochrane Drive
Annapolis MD 21401
410/573 4584


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