A campaign to fence Victoria's 17,000km of public riverside land has been questioned by the Victorian Farmers Federation, who said fencing should not be mandatory.
As part of the 'Cut the Crap' campaign, Environment Victoria hope to tighten grazing licence rules for landholders adjacent to rivers.
Healthy Rivers campaigner for Environment Victoria, Juliet Le Feuvre, said fencing would prevent defecation in waterways and damage of riverbanks by cattle and other hard-hoofed animals.
"The benefits of fencing them out are multiple, it's not just for the environment, there are benefits for the farmers," Ms Le Feuvre said.
"For the farmers it's much easier to manage your stock if they can't go wandering off into the creek or get lost or get bogged.
"If they've got an off-stream watering point they're healthier because they're drinking better quality water."
Ms Le Feuvre said undamaged vegetation strips along riverbanks also brought water treatment costs down, as well as being more pleasing to the eye.
VFF Land Management Committee chair, Gerald Leach, said while the VFF was "not opposed in principal" to the fencing of waterways from livestock, it should be voluntary.