Tag Archives: beaver flooding

Beaver Dam

get rid of beaverSploosh, drip drip, shooooosh. I looked around and couldn’t believe the damage I saw swirling in the water around me, all thanks to a beaver dam on the stream running through my property.

I’d bought the small place because of its idyllic location.  It wasn’t a mansion, by any standards, but it was beautiful; rather it was an older small farm house tucked away in a sunny, green valley.  My whole life I’d wanted a place like this, but never thought it was a possibility, because I grew up, lived and worked in the city.  But, one day, I woke up and realized I could change my lifestyle any time I wanted, as long as I was willing to make the change and give up some things like the good money I was making and the huge amounts of stress and the wasted hours that went into making that money.  So, I gave them up and made the change.

I looked at a lot of places around the state, but fell in love the moment my realtor and I drove up.  It was absolutely perfect.  A small home on a lot of land.  A well-established garden was out back, complete with an herb garden for the kitchen.  The small stream wandered through the property and a beautiful, large willow tree offered stream-side shade.  I got a job where I could work from home, and sat under the willow tree in the summer, typing and enjoying the quiet outdoors.

Then, the beavers moved in.  Just two of them, but they found my property as idyllic as I did.  At first, I loved watching them from afar, swimming and diving and busily building their beaver dam.  The stream was just a little too fast for them to make their home in the bank and do all the things that beavers do, so they had to do something to slow the water. Being from the city, it never occurred to me that I should start to worry about the effects of that beaver dam.

The first sign of trouble was I noticed water encroaching on my beloved herb garden.  I wasn’t sure whether to shrug and let nature do its thing, or if I should do something about the beaver dam.  Time passed and I figured it just made it easier to water the garden.

With the stream being diverted in some places and pooling in others, I naively enjoyed watching the other wildlife that was attracted to my property.  More birds than ever made the willow their home or skimmed across the surface of the stream to catch the bugs flitting right above the water.  Deer prints and little raccoon prints dotted the new little wetland area the beavers had created.  I thought I was in heaven.

And then came the day when I went down into the basement for something and found a few inches of water stagnating on the basement floor and seeping into my stored belongings.  The beaver dam had diverted the water just enough that it found its way into my perfect little place.  I’d let nature do its thing, and it did, much to my expense and regret.

Get Rid of Beavers – a true “tail”

get rid of beaver
Authorities in Martinez, California were surprised at their community’s reaction to their decision to get rid of the beavers that were destroying the local waterway, a portion of Alhambra Creek that ran through the center of the city.

Two beavers had built a dam large enough to divert the waterway in several places, and had chewed through willows and landscaping the city had planted in previous years to prevent flooding.  The flood control landscaping had cost the city $9.7 million, and it would be expensive to repair the damage the beavers had caused.  City leaders decided the beavers had become a costly flood danger to their community.

Authorities felt they had to take action quickly to avoid extensive damage and danger, and plans were drawn up to get rid of the beaver population.  California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) does not allow for relocation of beavers, so they had decided to trap and kill the beavers and destroy the dam.

Beaver eating a stick
A beaver causing problems and damage in a city.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

The announcement was made, and city leaders expected their citizens would be grateful and supportive of their plans.  If beaver dams cause flooding, it can result in contaminated drinking water and costly property damage.  Although they also anticipated a few dissenters, however, reaction was exactly the opposite.  While some people supported their efforts, they faced public outcry in favor of the beavers.

Local school teachers contended that the beavers provided a wonderful learning opportunity for the children and the community as a whole.  Local business owners felt they would bring more tourists to their city.  Environmentalists wanted to let nature take its course.

Due to the general public’s sentiments, DFG issued an exemption for the two living in the creek to enable them to be relocated.  Public support was so strong for them, however, the city has decided to let them stay, provided certain criteria were met.  Business owners downtown, especially, demanded the city provide adequate flood control measures.  A steel cable was placed under the dam attached to anchors on each bank.  If the waters rise to dangerously high levels, the cable could be pulled, pulling the dam apart.  A flow device was also placed through the dam:  a pipe allowing water to flow through the dam in an effort to keep the waters down to normal levels.

Of course, individual property owners may still be concerned about a growing beaver population.  As the number of beavers increase, they will destroy trees, alter property lines through erosion caused by diverted waterways, or cause flooding, damaging homes and businesses.  Individuals may still want to get rid of the beavers, but they will need to seek special permission from the local and state authorities before proceeding with any measures to do so.

How to Get Rid of Beavers

how to get rid of beaver        
    I can’t believe my Mom asked me, of all people, how to get rid of beavers living on her cabin property.  I’m an animal rights activist!  Does she not get that?  I’m not the kind of activist that breaks into places and releases zoo animals out onto suburban streets or anything, but I attend rallies and work in the local no-kill shelter and want mankind to preserve the natural habitats of wild animals. 

            So you can understand why I was a little shocked when my Mom called me up and asked me if I knew how to remove the beavers off her property upstate.  She said she figured I knew all about wild animals, or at least knew people who knew about them, that I could help her out.  Fact is, I don’t know anything about how to get rid of beavers, but I helped petition a state park to stop their demonstration on how to skin a beaver once.  I guess my Mom thought I was an expert, then.

            I agreed to meet up with her on the property and take a look at it for myself.  As I drove up there, I thought about how great Mom’s been at taking care of everything herself since Dad passed away several years ago.  She has the house and the large lot upstate with the cabin.  I resolved to help her out more.

            I got there before she did, and let myself in.  The cabin held a lot of memories for me: family trips up in the mountains, cross-country skiing, Dad trying to teach me how to fish in the stream that ran through the property, Mom taking me on long hikes in the fall to watch the leaves change color.  I strolled outside, fondly remembering the time when Mom and Dad let me throw a big party up here in high school.  Somehow we all made it back in one piece!

            And then, something caught my eye.  Several trees that had been here forever lay dead on the ground.  The beavers had gotten to them.  I decided to walk a little further over to the stream and was amazed to see the little stream was now a big pond.  The new pond had eroded away a good portion of the cabin’s backyard.  If it got any bigger, it would flood the cabin, or worse, damage its foundation.  I wondered if it had backed up the septic pipe, or contaminated the water feeding our well. 

No wonder Mom was so upset.  If the cabin flooded or was seriously damaged, if the well water was undrinkable, it would cost her a lot of money, money I didn’t think she had.   Beavers could live anywhere they wanted up here in the mountains, why’d they have to choose my Mom’s property?  As I saw my Mom’s car driving up to the cabin, I whipped out my cell phone and called a friend.  “Hey, Rick, any idea how to get rid of beavers?” I asked him.