Funk Cross River Fence

The Funk-Cross River Fence is unique to Canada. The curtain effect of the pipes act as a visual barrier to deter livestock from wandering away. It also allows canoeists to safely maneuver through the pipes that hang freely above the riverbed.

The Rat River is a picturesque waterway viewed from Peter Funk’s farm, located south of Grunthal, MB along Highway #216. The river winds its way through Peter’s pastureland as it crosses the highway and flows into St. Malo Lake. Peter needs to fence off the river to prevent his cattle from wandering away when the river level is low. Fencing off the river, however, creates an obstruction and safety concern for river users accessing the waterway throughout the year.

Funk Cross-River Fence Design

The Seine-Rat River Conservation partnered with Peter Funk to find an innovative response to the mutual concerns on both side of the fence. The Funk Cross-River Fence is made up of a steel cable strung across the river and secured to fence posts. The cable is raised a few metres above the water level so that river users can safely navigate the waterway underneath the cable. Plastic PVC pipes hanging from the cable are uniformly spaced apart to create a ‘curtain’ effect. The curtain effect of the pipes act as a visual barrier to deter livestock from wandering away. It also allows canoeists to safely maneuver through the pipes that hang freely above the riverbed. The design of the pipe assembly consists of a wire that is threaded through a drilled hole in the pipe and looped around the steel cable. The pipes are spaced one foot apart and secured in place to a rope threaded through the wire loops. The rope is used to pull the pipes back into the riverbank to allow snowmobilers and cross-country skiers safe access to the waterway in winter.

The Funk Cross-River Fence is the only one of its kind in Canada and was funded by the SRRCD for under $1,000. The high visibility of the cross-river fence along Highway #216 has stirred curiosity in the local community. The SRRCD has subsequently committed to installing two more cross-river fences in the area as word-of-mouth conversations between neighbours give voice to the success of this unique pilot-project.

 

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Assembly of the SRRCD Cross-River Fence. SRRCD staff mount PVC pipes to steel cable strung across the river.

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PVC pipe assembly: A wire is threaded through a drilled hole in the PVC pipe and looped around the steel cable. The pipes are spaced one foot apart and secured in place to a rope threaded through the wire loops. The rope is used to pull the pipes back into the riverbank to allow snowmobilers and cross-country skiers safe access to the waterway in winter.

 

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Funk Cross-River Fence in use.