Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Best Ditch Ever

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Beavers felled this tree along the Oligarchy Ditch, near North Shore Drive and Breakwater Drive. (Lewis Geyer/Times-Call) ( LEWIS GEYER )

What’s being done about the Oligarchy Ditch Beavers?

Dear Johnnie: Can you tell me about the policy of handling the beavers in Oligarchy Ditch? I have loved watching the progress as they have built three dams in the ditch between North Shore Drive and Breakwater Drive. (Actually only two in that stretch, but one or two farther east). But they have taken several large trees down.

Is the ditch company glad to get the tree roots out of the ditch and they are waiting ’til spring to relocate the beavers? Is there a concern about flooding as the dams hold the water or is that also fine until spring? I love the open spaces, but I am also curious about how the city or the ditch company handles animals reclaiming their space. — Mary

Where to begin? Oligarchy ditch? Someone named it Oligarchy ditch? Does it contain members of the elite ruling class? Or is it waiting  to receive them one by one like a mass grave? And a beaver advice column? Be still my heart! Just when I’m beginning to feel at loose ends I find a new calling! People could write in about beaver questions from all over the world. Move over Dear Abby! Auntie Castor wants to chat!

Tree roots are not the primary concern when it comes to beavers and irrigation canals. It’s the damming of the canals and bank erosion that are key problems, not to mention damage to trees and the loss of habitat those trees provide other animals.

That’s according to Bill Powell, customer service manager for the city’s Public Works & Natural Resources Department. The city, it turns out, is responsible for maintenance along the Oligarchy.

There is no policy in place for dealing with beavers in the city, but Powell informed me that the PWNR Department is preparing “a standardized procedure” for dealing with beavers, which should be “completed in a few weeks.”

Guess who needs a standardized procedure for dealing with beavers? I’m a little troubled by putting natural resources and public works under the same department, but since Sherri Tippie is about 45 minutes away I’m assuming they will be exposed to excellent advice. Estes Park (where they successfully saved Enos Mills great-great-great-great-great  grandkits) is just up the road. So lets see them do the right thing.

“On the flip side,” Powell wrote, “the Forestry workgroup wraps those trees along the corridor that are targeted for preservation, (while) others are left unprotected and available to the beavers. The entire process is a balance between evaluating property damage and the intent of the ditch with living with and providing wildlife habitat.”

Excellent. In addition to having the best named Ditch in the world, Longmont also has very smart foresters!