We have a creek that runs across our property near the road. Normally
it is a little thing about six inches deep and maybe three feet wide.
But when it rains hard it swells. Yesterday it was as big as I have
ever seen it. Maybe four feet deep and out of the banks.
My neighbors have fenced their yard to keep in their three dogs. All
large dogs that were rescued from abusive owners. One of them can
climb the fence and comes to visit occasionally. She would like to
come close and be petted, but just can't quite trust me enough to get
closer than about five feet away.
Anyway where the fence crosses the creek, debris catches in the
fence. Makes a mat that blocks the water, causes water to overflow
the bank, and often the fence get bent over.
So I told my neighbor that I would fix the problem. And started to
build a section out of rebar that would be hinged at the top and so
would swing to let the debris pass under it.
Last night I came up with a simpler approach. I am going to make a
section about five feet wide and 30 inches high ( same size I was
originally going to have swing ). But instead of covering it with
wire fencing, I am going to make it with one bar vertical in the
center and three horizontal bars. So the opening will be 7.5 inches
high and thirty inches wide. That should let the debris, mostly small
sticks and leaves float through. The section of fence will be held by
wire at the top and some plastic cable ties at the bottem. The idea
being that if there is enough force on this, the ties at the bottom
will break and the water can swing the section horizontal. But the
section will normally be held securely in place so the dogs can not
So there will be some welding of the rebar. I have not welded a lot
of rebar, but so far have never had any problems with the welds
Will let you know if Mark one mod zero does not work , and there has
to be a Mark one mod one.
Why weld at all? Hit the local farm store and grab one of the 6'
sections of tubular fencing, Hang it upside down on a set of hinges to a
4X4 over the creek. Support the 4X4 with two posts driven in the ground
and a couple guy wires. Same system used on the creeks/ditches around
here. To secure it you use a gate latch on one side with a simple float
attached. Water level rise the float trips the latch and the gate can
open and let the crud pass.
That is more or less what my original plan was. Had not figured out a
neat latch like that. The closest Tractor Supply store is over 20
miles away. There must be other farm stores closer, but I have not
But making it with rebar will work and is not much effort.
You need the float to keep it out of the water. You will be really
amazed at the amount of grass and long twigs that float along, will clog
things very rapidly. We have a local walk bridge with a single cable
to stiffen it mounted on a mid span support. It common to have an 18"
tall glop of grass and what not on it after a heavy rain. After it dries
out it is a PAIN to get untangled and removed.
-That is more or less what my original plan was. Had not figured out a
-neat latch like that. The closest Tractor Supply store is over 20
-miles away. There must be other farm stores closer, but I have not
-But making it with rebar will work and is not much effort.
You might not need a latch. It sounds to me like the gate will be heavy
enough to stop the dogs. If so, you might just put a large thin wall tube on
the very bottom, that will float as the water level rises. Perhaps some thin
wall 4 or 6" pvc.
I must have missed something. Is this debris catcher going upstream,
downstream or instead of the fence mesh?
In my cloudy mind I would build a grate with large horizontal openings (but
not large enough to let the smallest dog pass through) that would replace
the mesh fencing in the ditch. Perhaps another 5 or 6 inches above the
surrounding terrain even. The fence then can stay at it's full hieght and
not follow the contour of the ditch so the dogs are still contained. This I
have seen many times covering large culverts to keep animals/kids out yet
let the water and smaller debris pass. In this case perhaps a "V" shaped
grate with few if any vertical rails to catch the debris on. The float idea
is really neat too but would not work with a "V" shaped grate at all. It
would lend itself nicely to a rebar gate though that is allowed to pivot on
the top horizontal bar. And as someone else suggested that is easy to do
with a 4X4 post on each side of the ditch. Simply drill a hole through the
4X4s a bit larger than the rebar and let that act as your hinge. Of course
you have to make the gate conform to the ditch contour..or get a shovel out
for some manual labor.
Thanks for the brain teaser and I hope my ramblings helped a bit.
I need to clarify my thoughts more..the "V" shaped gate I mentioned above
would have the small part of the V pointed upstream. This would make the
openings longer on the gate allowing larger debris to pass easier.
A lot of good ideas.
Many years ago I worked with a tech that would breadboard circuits for
me. He always made the breadboard as small as possible, and if
anything had to be added , well a new breadboard was needed. So I
changed my tactics, and would design circuits with every possible
thing included. Say if I thought I needed a two stage amplifier, I
would design it with three stages. Then when I got the breadboard I
would test it and then take out what was not needed.
But in this case I am going the other way round. Putting in as little
work as I think possible, and will add things if I have to. I sure
hope I do not have to put in 4 by 4 posts. The creek bed is sandy
gravel that fills in any holes. Going to try metal fence posts that
can be driven in. They did not work on the old fence, but there
should be a lot less force on them with the new design.
Could one use some of the navigational ones that are used as boat bumpers?
They would have to be tough, and fastened securely. Some have grommets, and
some have a hole through the center. Lightweight, and would allow the gate
to fall back when the water is over. Not sure how they'd last being chafed
by logs and other tough debris.
I think any way you to, you are going to have to go out there and clear it
after every storm. Last sentence aimed at OP, now lost in thread
I'm a woman trying to keep her dogs contained by putting a fence (that let's
debris pass through) over a creek and county drain. Could you send pictures
please. Also, explain how to make the latch trip in more detail. Thanks for
any advice that you can provide.
I have developed a system, it is a gate/fence that goes across a
wash/creek/river. It allows water, debris, soil to go through it, but keeps
livestock/pets in. We are on the patent stage and then marketing.
It may sound to good to be true.
Both small and large debris travels though this system without damaging the
fence or the foundation.
No branch or tree is too large.
Can be for small or large wash, creek or river.
Somebody posted a picture awhile ago of a swinging fence on hinges that allowed
water/debris to flow through but also allowed the person to lock the fence in
concrete when water isn't flowing to give them more security. I cannot find that
picture but was hoping somebody reading this had it still and could repost it. I
have a fence company coming out tomorrow and would really love to show them this
so that we can have something similar. Thank you!
Low Maintenance Watergap Fence Across Creek
( Fence Design - Patent No. 9,611,670 B1)
( Install Template - Patent No. 9,784,012)
Do you have a fence that goes across a creek?
Is there a gap underneath your fence
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