Leave it to Beaver!

I couldn't find a chalk outline of a beaver

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.



About saveourpond

I am a lifelong resident of Ayer who lives on Flanagan's Pond.
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6 Responses to Leave it to Beaver!

  1. Pingback: Is BOS Waffling on Town Meeting vote? | Friends of Flannagan Pond

  2. A Sportsman says:

    By the way did you notice the beavers are building a dam on the Erskine Pond/Pine Meadow concrete dam? Let’s see how long that lasts.

  3. Beth Lowe says:

    Hi everyone – we live on Pine Meadow Pond, and just found your blog. We’re terribly sorry to hear about your tribulations with Flanagan’s Pond, and sorry we haven’t gotten involved sooner (we’ve got some ongoing illness here). Some data points to add: my partner, too, was up at the beaver dam immediately after the breach, and we cannot possibly imagine how the breach was anything but *unnatural*, based on his observations and pictures. He saw beavers swimming around frantically that day, as well.

    The beavers living in Pine Meadow Pond try to dam up the spillway throughout the non-frozen parts of the year, always. The town comes in about once a week, as does one of my neighbors, and cleans out their work. This has been going on for a number of years.

    Thanks for all the great information you’re providing on the blog. I know how much time it takes.

    • saveourpond says:

      Beth, welcome aboard. We are blessed with an incredible chain of ponds throughout the town. I believe we are raising awareness to bring some positive change to the maintenance of the ponds with the cooperation of Conservation and the Board of Selectmen and others. The challenge is to ensure that care is on an ongoing basis and not simply responding as things reach crisis proportions.


  4. A Sportsman says:

    Be careful on you personally cleaning out any beaver dam construction at the spillway even as innocent as it appears because it ‘may’ be illegal Let the town do it because as we all know they always have the proper permits.

  5. Beth Lowe says:

    @A Sportsman, thanks for the good advice, but don’t worry, we let those beavers do exactly as they please.

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