Enviro-friendly Dams


If you’re looking at building a dam on your property or modifying an existing one, consider this. A variety of water depths is the key to a wide range of native animals. Islands can be used to separate areas of different water depth and provide valuable shelters, refuges and nesting sites. Although many water birds do not eat aquatic plants, they eat the animals and insects that find shelter amongst those plants, so a variety of plant types is essential to encourage and support water birds on your farm dam.

There are floating plants like duck weed. submerged plants such as Ribbon weed and emergent plants such as sedges and rushes. Most aquatic animals like frogs, mussels and crayfish, insects and snails will manage to colonise dams so there is no need to introduce them. Reeds in the dam provide shelter and nesting sites. Away from the dam, rushes and bushes provide shelter just as important as hollow logs or nesting boxes.

A few trees planted 4-6 times their eventual height away from the dam’s edge will provide safe roosting places and not interfere with the dam. These trees also provide great windbreaks for stock and reduce evaporation. When planting trees, shrubs or aquatic plants use only local native plants: do not introduce exotic plants as these have huge weed potential. To stop erosion, pollution and habitat destruction, livestock should be kept clear of dams and serviced with a water trough.