If stock are regularly walking through the stream, they will be making a mess of it. One study found that a 246 cow herd deposited 37 kg of faecal matter during 2 crossings of a stream. They concluded that cows are 50 times more likely to deposit their waste in a stream than on a stock lane (Davies-Colley et al (pdf 656 kB) 2002.). Install a culvert or bridge and limit the mud and animal waste going into the stream.
Bridges generally have less impact on stream banks, stream beds and water flow than culverts. They can be expensive but will often be a sound investment because
they generally require less maintenance and can provide many benefits for farm infrastructure.
Culverts can be a cheaper option for streams that don't carry a lot of sediment and don't flood too high. They need to be chosen carefully and installed well to avoid causing erosion and restricting fish movements.
Although installing a bridge or culvert may soon become a permitted activity, currently a resource consent is required. In your application consider the following principles:
Correct size and installation will generally save money in the long term as culverts will be less likely to fail and need replacing.
Culvert at wrong level.
Culvert at right level.
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