New Hampshire comes to the table

   Posted by heidi08 On June - 27 - 2013

Living, working with beavers

Granddaughter Hayden asked, “What does ‘pesky’ mean?”

I’d just commented about “those pesky beavers” on our way to observe a Harris Center beaver-deceiver project in Stoddard. I said it means rascally, as in little rascal beavers that are outsmarting humans.

Beavers at the Fremont conservation land in Peterborough have been outsmarting me for a month now. Hayden, Carl and I were going to observe installation of Phase II of the Harris Center beaver project. The beavers had thwarted Phase I.

I like this article from Francie Von Mertens for the Ledger-Transcript in New Hampshire. She is enough of a nature appreciator to understand that beavers mean good things for birds and wildlife and a plucky problem-solver and writer.

We like beavers. They’re one of a handful of “keystone species” that benefit a wide range of other wildlife species.

So far so good. The wildlife center wants to live with beavers, and knows why they’re good. It even knows about beaver deceivers. Although I’m getting the feeling they think that any pipe stuck in a dam is a deceiver.

My new routine became an early morning visit to the dam to unclog the two beaver-deceiver pipes. It took the beavers one night to figure out the pipes, as well as the other small breeches I made in their dam to keep the water level down.

Mud, sticks and grasses patched each breech and clogged each pipe.

Each morning I cleared the two pipes and remade the breeches. Once I slipped on the muddy dam and fell in. I pictured the beavers finding that hilarious.  I did begin to worry that the beavers were having to spend too much time undoing my work and might not have enough time to forage.

Full marks for effort I guess, and raw commitment to the beaver ideal. I can’t imagine our city would be interested in doing the right thing if it had been forced to endure even one night of failure. But you aren’t responsible for re-inventing the wheel here, and there are very solid plans for how to do this already in place. You could use them. Sometimes letting smart people do their job makes YOU look smart.

This Monday, Carl, Conservation Commission member John Patterson, and Eric Masterson from the Harris Center installed Phase II at the Fremont modeled after the Phase II system installed at the Harris Center’s Robb Reservoir property in Stoddard.

It’s a long stretch of 12-inch culvert pipe embedded in the beaver dam. It reaches well out into the pond and is circled by a wire cage that will be very difficult to clog.


Gosh. Did it look something like this? I just contacted beaver friend Art Wolinsky in New Hampshire so I can send the author his way and he said just exactly what I thought. “Phase II should have been Phase I!” Well they got there eventually.  Obviously even now the author has a hard time imaging that these efforts will succeed.

As a diversionary ploy, I just might keep up my morning routine at Fremont with hopes the pesky beavers won’t associate the new thing in the middle of their small pond with the humans messing with their damworks.

I give up. The writer is just too adorable. I can’t even be sarcastic. Go ahead and do the morning routine or rain dance or whatever you want. Those beavers (and all the wildlife that depends on them) are lucky to have you!

How beavers plug pipes - Cheryl Reynolds

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