Archive for the ‘Cattle guards’ Category

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A cattle guard is a series of parallel metal bars which is installed in a roadway over a ditch to prevent ungulates from escaping a fenced area. The parallel bars are designed to be wide enough so that hooves and legs will fall through, while cars can drive over them safely, although they do need to slow down. Most hoofed animals are smart enough to recognize the potential hazard of a cattle guard, and they will avoid them: in some cases, animals will even avoid lines painted on a busy road to resemble a cattle guard. Cattle guards are in use all over the world as a practical alternative to gates, which must be opened and closed every time someone wants to pass through.

The concept of a cattle guard was originally conceived of in the American west by the railroads, which constantly had problems with free ranging cattle getting onto the train tracks and causing accidents. In 1913, an inventor named William J. Hickey recognized the potential uses for a cattle guard, with cars taking over America, and filed a patent for his invention, which was specifically developed for use in roadways. Two years later, the United States Patent and Trade Office approved the patent.

Today, the cattle guard is used all over the world, especially in nations where animals graze public lands which are split by roads. Prior to the introduction of the cattle guard, anyone walking or driving across a fence line would have had to open a gate and close it behind them: while this task is not too onerous for walkers, it can be irritating to drivers, especially on long trips through public lands. The cattle guard is designed to survive in the roadway for several years: it is laid flush with the road and treated with anti-rusting agents to prevent it from rusting out or being jostled by cars. Fence inspectors will periodically check the cattle guards as well, to make sure that they are still safe and usable.

Some animals can figure out a way around a cattle guard: sheep, for example, have been known to roll across cattle guards of up to three feet (one meter) across. Horses and cattle sometimes attempt to jump them, although usually the width of the cattle guard is enough to deter this idea. If a farmer does need to move livestock over a cattle guard, a sheet of wood can be thrown down over the bars for the animals to walk over, and if a cattle guard needs to be removed from the roadway altogether, the bars are lifted and the ditch is filled before that section of the road is resurfaced with fresh asphalt.

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By Kevin Buey The Deming Headlight, N.M.
Publication: LexisNexis
Date: Tuesday, February 2 2010

Feb. 2–Discussion of fences and roads occupied the Border Security Task Force, as it met Friday morning at Mimbres Valley Learning Center.

It was the year’s first BSTF meeting. The group was formed in 2003, at request of U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to address problems reported by border-area residents, including ranchers and farmers, resulting from passage over private property of illegal immigrants.

Fences and roads have been an on-going discussion.

Roads have been damaged due to increased U.S. Border Patrol traffic resulting from increased numbers of agents at area stations, particularly the Deming Station.

At least two ranchers are to meet with Deming Patrol Agent in Charge Daniel Serrato regarding recent damage to graded roads resulting from USBP traffic even as rain made the roads more difficult to navigate. Since USBP numbers began increasing, even paved roads have worn more quickly due to increased USBP vehicle traffic.

There are a variety of fences along the New Mexico-Mexico border. Some do little to stop infiltration of illegal immigrants and even less to stop movement of livestock from either side of the border the other.

Les Owen, a range resources specialist with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture at New Mexico State University, has worked with a subcommittee examining fences and needed improvements.

There is, he said, using a power point presentation to show the landscape moving West from the state’s Eastern side, need for 16 to 17 miles of fence with three rails, an area of post-only fencing that needs four rails, 8.5 miles of fencing needing three rails and additional height, 2.5 miles where erosion control must be addressed and 18 miles where 16-foot cattle guards with gates are needed.

A good point, he said, is there are 86 miles of vehicle barriers in place on the border. The elephant in the room, though, is 65 miles of barbed-wire fencing being maintained by ranchers.

Fences vary. There are post-and-rail barriers, Normandy barriers (some with rails added), free-standing columns affording easy passage for man or wildlife and barbed-wire fences. Erosion in some areas has left different fence sections without much ground support and space for man and beast to crawl under.

Greg Bloom, state director of Bingaman’s office, said Bingaman is aware of concerns and will continue pushing for financing for fencing when the task force makes a proposal for addressing the problem.

Bloom, who attended Friday’s meeting, for several years was Bingaman’s regional field representative and at BSTF meetings. His slot in Bingaman’s Las Cruces office has been taken by Jake Rollow.

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(December 4, 2008) – As a part of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Maryland: Smart, Green & Growing environmental initiative, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) recently completed a $764,000 environmental project to restore more than six acres of forested wetlands at the Magness Farm in Harford County. The improvements will help improve water quality from highway runoff as well as provide a vital habitat for native wildlife, a high priority of SHA.

“The preservation of our environment must be our legacy to future generations,” said Governor O’Malley. “The planting of more than 1,600 trees and restoration of wetlands will help provide a natural filter to reduce the impact of contaminated water due to highway runoff. This effort also will allow the Magness Farm property to continue to thrive as an active dairy farm while protecting the headwaters of Deer Creek, one of many tributaries vital to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

The restoration of six acres of wetlands in the area provides a crucial habitat for amphibians to breed and survive. To protect the new wetlands from grazing cattle near the headwaters of Deer Creek, SHA incorporated cattle guards into the restoration plan. Cattle guards keep cattle away from wetlands and permit them access to different pastures without harming the newly created wetland and forested uplands. The Magness Farm property is located in northern Harford County east of MD 23 (Norrisville Road).

SHA funded more than $315,000 through the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) and $398,840 through Environmental Preservation funding. Harford County contributed $50,000 toward construction costs. The restoration project began in the spring of 2008 and was completed in early-November.

The State contribution to this and similar projects is made possible through the Transportation Enhancement Program, which funds non-traditional, community-based transportation-related projects. The Governor determines which projects qualify for funding based on need and potential benefit to the public. Awards approved so far in 2008 total $11.6 million. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration oversees the federal program, which has awarded more than $184 million for 226 projects in Maryland since the TEP program began in 1991.

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Selection of effective techniques by airport managers for deer control requires a “zero tolerance” approach. No single method provides 100% effectiveness, or is appropriate at all times. Deer populations are dynamic and they adapt readily to many methods to manage or control them. Exclusion with a tall perimeter fence and removal of deer that manage to penetrate the fence is the most effective means of minimizing deer interference within airport operating areas. Fences must be designed to counter the ability of deer to crawl through or under fence gaps as small as 23 cm and to jump over 3-m high fences. Fences must be at least 3.7 m tall in order to provide an effective barrier.

At smaller airports, costs may limit the use of tall chain-link security perimeter fences. A less expensive, but equally effective fence is a made with high-tensile fixed knot galvanized steel mesh. These high-tensile fences offer an approximate saving of 30 to 40% of the cost of chain-link fences with equal effectiveness. Tall high-tensile electric fences are available at lower cost than high-tensile fixed knot fence, but with lower exclusion performance and higher maintenance requirements. Tall polypropylene deer fencing has potential to provide effective exclusion, but use at airports has not yet been tested.

Cattle guards should be used at points of vehicle entry through fences that must be left open for periods of time. Harassment-based deterrents are recommended for short-term control of deer that penetrate perimeter fences until more permanent removal techniques can be used. Longer-term use of harassment is not recommended because of habituation by deer. One-way gates and deer jump ramps can be effective means for allowing deer to go back through the airport perimeter fence. Habitat modification should be used to enhance the function of the perimeter fence by reducing the attractiveness of the airport property to deer and to eliminate gaps under fences to inhibit deer from crawling under the fence and to offer a path for deer to allow them to run along the fence to discourage jumping.

Chemical immobilization and killing of deer are the most humane methods of deer removal, but negative social response often prevents the use of these methods at airports near urban centres. Active deer capture and relocation of deer using deer traps and drive nets requires a large number of skilled personnel and is generally not recommended due to high mortality of relocated deer, high costs and a lack of suitable relocation sites.

Methods of harassment such as gunshots, pyrotechnics, gas cannons, and flashing lights may provide some initial response, but deer will often habituate to these devices within a week. Chemical odour and taste repellents are generally ineffective and are impractical for use on areas as large as airports.

We sorted the deer exclusion devices and deterrent techniques reviewed in this report into three broad categories: (1) Highly Recommended, (2) Limited Recommendation, and (3) Not Recommended.

a. Highly Recommended

Five products/techniques are highly recommended. Habitat Modification should be used to reduce attractiveness of airports to deer and enhance the effectiveness of perimeter deer fencing. Galvanized Steel Chain-Link Fencing of a height of 3 m or more is the current standard type of fencing for security and deer control. Its high initial cost is the main reason that its use is generally limited to large airports. High-Tensile Fixed-Knot Fencing of a height of 3 m or more is an effective deer control at a saving of approximately 30% of chain-link fencing. Cattle Gates longer than 4.6 m are an effective means of deterring deer from entering at fence openings that must remain open for vehicle passage. The sides of the cattle gate should be fenced to improve their effectiveness. One-way Gates, located at the outside corners of airport perimeter fences are an effective means of removing deer that have entered a perimeter fence.

b. Limited Recommendation

The majority of the deer control products/techniques reviewed here fall into the limited recommendation category. They can exclude or deter deer but they are limited in their effectiveness because of habituation, weak biological basis, limited application, and/or implementation problems. These products work best when part of an integrated program, and should not be considered individually as key components of a control program. They may, in some circumstances, be useful tools to have in your animal control “toolbox”.

Eleven products/techniques have been given limited recommendation. Electric fences such as the Vertical High-Tensile Electric Fence and ElectroBraidT Electric Fences that have sufficient height to prevent deer from jumping are effective in excluding deer under favourable conditions, but they will be penetrated when deer are motivated to cross them, when short-circuited by tall plant growth, or if snow accumulations exceed the height of the lower electric lines. Plastic Mesh Deer Control Fencing is currently marketed for residential deer control and may promise to be effective for airports, but no independent testing of this fence is known for areas as large as airports. Deer Jump Ramps promise to be effective means of permitting deer that have penetrated a perimeter fence to make their way back outside of the fence, but very little literature was available to confirm this. Chemical Immobilization to assist in live removal, or for facilitating euthanasia, is an effective deer-removal method for deer that will not leave via passive means, but dangers to staff and costs involved, availability of trained personnel and effort of relocation may make this method of control undesirable. Live Deer Traps and Drive-netting are high effort, high-cost deer removal methods that require large numbers of trained people and risks of erratic movement of chased deer within airport operations areas may compromise airport safety. Controlled Hunting may be an effective means of controlling the local deer population in rural areas that may permit it, but it should be used to reduce numbers outside of the airport property at sufficient distance so as to not reduce airport safety. Infrared Motion-Sensing Equipment is a high-cost detection system that is in the development stage. Currently it shows promise for airports with an existing wildlife control staff available to respond to wildlife “occurrences”. Further development is needed to bring a cost-effective product to market. Pyrotechnics, Gas Cannons and “Exploders” can offer effective short-term control and should be replaced by more permanent methods when habituation develops.

c. Not Recommended

Fourteen products/techniques are not recommended. Electric fences such as the Livestock Outrigger Fence, the Peanut Butter Fence, the Polytape Fence and the Offset or Double Electric Fence, the Overhanging, Slanted or Sloping Electric Deer Fence and the Outrigger Deer Control Fence, are not recommended. Slanted or Overhanging Steel Fencing is not of a sufficient height to contain white-tailed deer. Shotguns with Live Ammunition to scare deer is not recommended. Av-Alarm, Ultrasonic Devices, Reflectors and Flashing Lights are not recommended. Hazing by Aircraft is not recommended. Chemical Repellents are not effective for protecting large areas, particularly areas the size of airports.

d. Conclusion

Two themes dominate our analyses of the many techniques for airport deer control. One is that none of the techniques that have been evaluated will work consistently over the long term unless they are applied properly by appropriately trained personnel. This point cannot be overemphasized! Even the best fence designs have limitations that depend on proper installation and maintenance.

The second theme is that there is no one panacea for solving deer problems at airports. As in wildlife control in general, the ultimate solution will usually be to develop an integrated program using several control methods that support the goals needed to be met. At most airports with significant deer problems, this is most likely to include habitat modification, fencing and one or more methods of removing deer that occasionally breach the fence.

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Advantages of an All Steel Cattle Guard with lift out grills. Shows the installation and and simplicity of the All Steel Cattle Guard.  Maintenance after installation is a cost savings.

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For Immediate Release:

The Cloud Foundation Expands Lawsuit to Protect “Cloud’s” Wild Horse Herd
Foundation includes Forest Service in lawsuit

Washington, D.C. (July 23, 2010)—On July 21 the Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue and author/advocate Carol Walker filed an amended complaint in Federal District Court to add the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to their current suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The suit challenges both agencies’ rejection of a Natural Management Approach for the herd and the planned construction of a two-mile long fence which would cut off the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd from crucial summer and fall grazing lands they’ve used for centuries. This small herd is the world’s most famous and the last remaining in Montana, sometimes called “Cloud’s herd” for the now-15-year old band stallion who TCF Director and plaintiff Ginger Kathrens has documented for the popular PBS Nature series. The herd traces its history back to the horses of the Spanish Conquistadors, the Lewis and Clark expedition horses, and Crow Indian War ponies. Plaintiffs contend that the USFS and BLM are engaging in illegal treatment of these federally-protected mustangs and that the Pryor Wild Horses are entitled to use lands in the Custer National Forest, currently not included in the designated range.

Plaintiffs in the litigation include Front Range Equine Rescue based in Larkspur, CO; Carol Walker, equine photographer and author of “Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses”; and Ginger Kathrens, Director of the Cloud Foundation and Emmy-Award winning producer with 16 years experience documenting and observing the Pryor Mountain herd.

“People value the whole spectacular Pryor ecosystem including this unique Spanish wild horse herd. Seeing the area fragmented by new fencing across pristine, wide-open meadows degrades the experience of visiting this area with true wilderness values,” states Kathrens. “Beyond the visual and environmental damage, it will compromise the future of Cloud’s globally-beloved herd. Forest Service should be working to set this area aside as a designated wilderness rather than working on how to build a bigger, stronger barrier to keep the Pryor horses from their rightful and essential high mountain meadows.”

Building the fence, cattle guard and gates would illegally confine horses to jurisdictional boundaries, restricting their natural and long-held seasonal pattern of use on East Pryor Mountain. Centuries old horse trails go straight through the line now flagged for construction of the fence, estimated to cost taxpayers between $25,000 and $100,000, not including USFS planning costs which, according to USFS, greatly exceed the cost of building the fence.

“The Forest Service has fought efforts to expand the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range to allow the herd to engage in their historical and seasonal migrations. Confining wild horse herds to smaller and smaller areas of the public lands lays the groundwork for more intrusive management and manipulation as the Forest Service and BLM contend that these animals will need to be removed from the wild for their own good,” states lead attorney, Valerie Stanley.

For a four-year period in the early 2000s the Pryor Herd was at zero population growth due to mountain lion predation on the foals, as well as the ever-present harsh winter weather and deadly lightning storms. The population of the herd increased only after BLM encouraged the killing of mountain lions. “The public has overwhelmingly supported allowing the herd the opportunity to manage itself. Apparently, BLM and the Forest Service think Mother Nature can’t get along without them,” Stanley concludes.

Over 100 wild horses have been using the Custer National Forest this month, which constitutes the majority of the Pryor Mountain wild horses, of which less than 150 adults remain in the wild following a massive roundup in September 2009. The Custer National Forest has not explained how the wild horses would be driven them back into the designated horse range. At least two new foals were born last week on the mountaintop and more births are anticipated. Running these young mustangs is dangerous and inhumane and can be fatal as has been proven during recent BLM roundups in Nevada and Oregon.

The area immediately adjacent to the designated range is not currently allocated for livestock grazing, but the Cloud Foundation questions USFS motives in blocking horses from this public land. Actions by the USFS are based, not on damage by the horses to the ecosystem, but seemingly on complaints from livestock permittees. Plaintiffs wonder if USFS is arranging for the building of this fence to facilitate cattle grazing on what would be a new livestock allotment on scenic subalpine meadows used annually by wild horses, mule deer, black bears and an array of small animals in the summer and fall.

“Wild horses have used these Forest Service lands for centuries. BLM and Forest Service have so far failed to work together to expand the range, using natural boundaries which encompass the mustangs’ use area, for the good of the herd and the public that loves them,” explains Front Range Equine Rescue President/Founder, Hilary Wood.

Historically, BLM directed livestock permittees on public grazing land to round up wild horses by aircraft. Once captured, the wild horses were either killed and butchered on the range or were shipped live to meat packing plants. In 1968, a public outcry was launched, spurred by local residents and ABC reporter, author and TCF Honorary Board Member, Hope Ryden. Ryden’s discovery of plans to trap and remove the Pryor Horses despite BLM assertions to the contrary caused a national outcry. In response, then Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall issued an Executive Order creating the first public range ever dedicated in the United States for the protection of wild horses. The 39,000-acre range was intended to protect the horses, other wildlife, and the natural state of the area. At the time, none of the Custer National Forest Service lands were included, as that was outside of Interior Secretary Udall’s jurisdiction.

“Wild horses need to be treated like wild horses—not livestock. Right now the public can easily access the Forest Service lands and experience a wildlife display unlike any other,” states plaintiff Carol Walker. “We want the Forest Service to immediately abandon plans to build the fence.”

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Tuesday, Feb 23 2010, 5:21 pm
By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

A lawsuit against Quay County over cattle guards was dismissed Thursday in 10th Judicial District Court, according to court reports.

“In my opinion, this is a frivolous lawsuit that is costing the county tax payers,” said Quay County Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland on Monday.

McCasland said the case brought against Quay County by Lee and Dusty Stone revolves around the removal of seven cattle guards.

“The county has paid $40,770 in legal fees through risk management for this case,” McCasland said. “The Stones are representing themselves and do not have to pay attorney fees.”

Recently Lee and Dusty Stone blamed the cattle guard for an injury to a horse they said had to be destroyed Feb. 4.

Dusty Stone said the horse tried to jump the cattle guard and got its front leg stuck between bars, breaking the animal’s leg. He said the horse had been promised to his daughter Mekenna Stone.

Attempts to reach the Stones for comment were not successful.

“I am sorry that the horse had to be put down,” McCasland said. “But that cattle guard did what is was meant to do.”

McCasland said he does not mean to sound harsh or cold hearted. He said the guards are used on federal and state land and all 33 counties in New Mexico to control livestock.

“If that cattle guard had not been there then the horse could have gone east to 469 or south to I-40,” McCasland said. “We could have been burying a family rather then putting a horse down.”

McCasland said last year a teenage boy was killed in Luna County when he hit a horse on a county road.

New Mexico State Police confirmed that Sept. 1, 2009, they responded to a single vehicle crash on the northbound lane of Over Hill Road in Luna County. Police said Ramon A. Pena, 18, of Deming was driving a 1995 Chevy S-10 pick-up, struck a horse losing control and rolling the vehicle several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the horse also died because of the impact.

In October 2009 the same case filed by Dusty Stone was dismissed by State District Judge Abigail Aragon.

“This is a matter that the county would like to put behind them and move forward,” said Richard Primrose, Quay County Manager.

Primrose said the commission has made every effort to accommodate Lee and Dusty Stone.

“Swinging metal gates were installed and one of the cattle guards can be taken apart so they can move their heavy equipment through,” McCasland said.

McCasland said the dispute began when Robin Smith asked the commission to install a cattle guard on his property which borders Lee’s.

“Robin provided the cattle guard and wanted it installed,” McCasland said. “He owns the property on both sides of the road. It gave his livestock access to both sides of the road.”

McCasland said the other cattle guards had been installed before he was on the commission.

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“Five of those cattle guards have been for 40-to-50 years,” McCasland said.