Wednesday, October 26, 2022


If you live and garden anyplace in Vermont and you have a nearby stream, river, pond or lake, you are probably already aware, that like it or not, beavers are your neighbors. This large rodent has an increasing population and with the loss of trappers who used to keep the numbers lower, they are populating closer and closer to human populations. They are in no way an endangered species so Fish and Wildlife with its very limited resources can offer no more than advice on dealing with beavers, their dams and related flooding. 

Bev Soychak  from Monkton Vermont wrote the following piece for VtDigger today. It's a worthy read, especially if you have been plagued by beavers in your neighborhood.

Over the past several years I have had an opportunity to watch beaver numbers grow along the Lanesboro Road here in Marshfield. The roadbed is left from the days of the Montpelier to Wells River RR and on either side of it, some portions involve swampland and beaver habitat. Included is Marshfield Pond, a.k.a Turtlehead Pond. The pond encompasses about 64 acres of water and a bit of surrounding swampland. It's a kettle pond left from glacial days so it is shallow with most places less than 20 feet deep. Water flows into the pond from adjacent streams as well as from springs on the pond floor.

When beavers got serious about damming up the exit sluiceway, a device which is probably the one created by Skip Lisle and described above was installed. I noticed a little extra time was spent adjusting the components to the flow as well as the beaver activity but it appears to have worked very well. Here are some pictures I have taken of the area and the flow device. I visited there two days ago and noticed that beavers have gone below the exit and the flow device and have started a new dam there. For now it is not large enough to reach the adjacent road but in time it probably will. Another place I have been watching is a short distance from the junction of Route 232 and Route 302 in Groton. There is a nice little waterfall there and beavers have created two dams and so far have raised the water about four feet over the entire area. As that water closes in on the roads, one of Lisle's water flow devices might be an option.

If beavers approach your property remember that they can be destructive to trees and shrubs as they seek food sources and dam materials. Walking outside and finding that your 20 year old sugar maple is now missing is not a good sight which is why I recommend keeping track of your property if you have any water flows across it. There are options. Although live trapping is an option and Fish and Wildlife might offer the name of a trapper, this may need some rethinking. I have a friend who used to live trap nuisance beavers and one day he received a call and said he's come check out the space. The pond that the beavers had created so far was over five acres in size. My friend turned down that job because of the time and hardware needed to take it on. Again, pay attention to the problem and don't let the beavers thinking get ahead of yours.

No comments: