As mentioned in a recent Post, I reported that the APD Facebook page stated that the Mass Environmental Police declared that the beaver dam collapse was a natural occurence. I joked that the EP were not to be confused with the Sovereign God of the Universe, but seeing that they have powers of omniscience perhaps they have more in common with Him than I had originally thought.
I make that remark based upon an eyewitness who was on the scene who has informed me that the Environmental Police never even walked upstream to examine the dam. Had they done so, they would have known the dam was not abandoned. A huge beaver lodge is within yards of the dam. I was there the day before and beavers were already actively repairing the structure. While there appears to be no evidence of foul play*, there also is no evidence of neglect and abandonment. So a more accurate statement would have been that their investigation was inconclusive. But since they never actually inspected the dam, that would have been inaccurate also.
*There was no evidence of foul play, because there was no chalk outline of a beaver on the ground. And there was no masked guy with a chainsaw or a stick of dynamite.
Now to be honest, the role of the Environmental Police is enforcement only, if a guy was discovered fly fishing without a license, they would have nabbed the culprit. But for a major ecological disaster, it took them five days to make it to the scene and then they didn’t even walk up the hill to observe the second dam.
Fortunately MassWildlife recently dispatched Pat Huckery, a naturalist / biologist who took time to actually examine the scene. (If I misstated her credentials, someone please set me straight). Jess Gugino, from ConsCom gave her the walking tour of the site and Jess reported this in detail at the BOS meeting on Tuesday evening, July 19. After spending an hour and a half examining the environment, Ms. Huckery stated that the dam had been active and the the chance of this structure having collapsed as a “natural occurrence” is extremely slim. She said the state doesn’t monitor catastrophic beaver dam failures because they “just don’t happen.” She went on to say that it is “unlikley” that the dam failed on its own and that “it’s more probable than not that the dam was tampered with in some way”.
As a follow-up, the entrance to the beaver lodge is now exposed above water and predators may have driven the beavers out. If the dam is not repaired, the herons, osprey and other wildlife will move on.