Posts Tagged With: beaver pond

Looking for Trouble

So there I was, sitting on the dam with a cup of coffee, watching the ice melt and searching for signs of spring when I saw something swimming in the open water along the west shore. It ducked beneath the ice before I could focus on it but a moment later it surfaced less than 20 feet away and I could see it was a young beaver, striking out on its own, looking for a place to set up shop.

I watched as it followed the shoreline, working its way through the ice floes and, as it swam along the east shore of Fish in a Barrel Pond, I had a feeling I knew exactly where it was headed. My suspicions were confirmed the next morning.

Last spring, with some help from the state, I installed a “beaver baffle”  in a dam along one of the roads I maintain. You can read about it HERE. The baffle allows water to flow through the beaver dam and the theory is that the beavers will never figure out that they are losing water through the large pipe twenty feet back from the dam. It worked well and the water level stayed where I wanted it but then the resident beavers got ambitious and began expanding their empire into territory strictly off-limits to beavers. If only they had stayed where they were.

Their removal worked out pretty well for this new, young beaver. He (we’re assuming it’s a he) turned the corner, followed the outlet of the pond and wound up in what must seem to be a beaver paradise. The little guy doesn’t have to do a thing! There’s already a dam in place, an abandoned lodge, and there are several stashes of food his predecessors never got back to. What luck!

The thing about beavers, though, is that they can’t just sit there and enjoy what they have. They must work, work, work, and this particular beaver is no exception. It didn’t take him long to start “improving” what he’d found. Scooping, digging and pushing, he has undertaken an expansion of the dam which, with the baffle in place, would normally not be a problem. 


I won’t say he’s any smarter than any other beaver. Maybe another beaver would do the same thing, blindly doing what comes naturally. Maybe another beaver would lift a twelve inch pipe (full of water, no less!) up out of the muck and pack debris underneath. Maybe another beaver would shove a four foot wide cage made of stock fence from its place, even moving cinder blocks with it. Maybe another beaver would try to add a six foot culvert pipe just downstream to his holdings. I just don’t know what another beaver would do but this one is starting to make me mad. 

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baffling Beavers

Once in great demand for their fur, beavers were close to extinction not so long ago but, thanks to a decline in their value, fewer trappers and more conscientious recovery efforts, they are now numerous in many places, even to the point of becoming pests. Unable to tolerate the sound of running water, they dam streams and plug culverts, flooding roads and valuable stands of timber. Their activities can threaten property and even lives when their numbers become too great.

Changing the landscape and altering the environment to suit their needs, the wetlands they create provide food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife. Turtles, frogs, ducks and other animals take advantage of beaver ponds. Dragonflies and damselflies dart over the water, resting on cattails and reeds while native brook trout rise to take mayflies, mosquitoes and midges. Muskrats take up residence in beaver ponds, eating plants that thrive in the warm, slow water and digging tunnels into the soft banks, expanding the wet edges and increasing the potential for property damage.

There are several robust populations of beavers on the property of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society and when the road to one of the camps along the shore of Fish in a Barrel Pond was threatened by rising water and muskrat tunnels, the search for a solution fell to me. Continue reading

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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