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Time for some new beginnings on this Easter Sunday. Are you sitting down? This article is about Buda, Texas.

City of Buda Takes Innovative Approach To Solve Beaver Problem In Retention Pond

“This innovative approach will protect the wetland, wildlife and the neighborhood,” said Mike Bodenchuk, Texas Wildlife Services Director.

When it comes to the weather in Central Texas, you never know what you’re going to get. One of the biggest threats in our area is torrential flooding.

You’ve probably noticed several rainwater retention ponds throughout the City, or even in your neighborhood.  Although many homeowners view these structures as pleasing aesthetic features that add a touch of nature to their neighborhood, the true function of a retention pond is to hold and distribute rain runoff, which in turn helps prevent flooding. One of these retention ponds is located on Garlic Creek Drive in the Garlic Creek Subdivision. Recently we’ve been faced with a dilemma.

The Garlic Creek Retention Pond has become an attractive home for beavers. The problem? The beavers have built a dam that is blocking the pond drain. This compromises the function of the retention pond to hold and distribute rain runoff, posing a potential flooding threat. So therein lies the dilemma. How do we address this problem and protect the beavers at the same time?  We’re taking an innovative approach.

The City of Buda is partnering with the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Services program to install a beaver-friendly flow control structure in the retention pond.

“What it does is it extends a pipe out to the middle of the retention pond and pulls the water underneath their dam and puts it farther out to where they don’t hear the water trickling anymore, “ said Jennifer Hall,  Buda Animal Control Officer. “By bypassing their actual dam, it causes the beavers not to be able to hear the trickling water.  When they hear the trickling, they pull the dirt and all the debris from underneath. They patch it and that causes the water to rise.”    

The structure is made up of a series of pipes which will extend through the beaver dam. This will allow water to continue to flow through the dam during periods of high water, while maintaining the pond level as designed.

“This innovative approach will protect the wetland, wildlife and the neighborhood,” said Mike Bodenchuk, Texas Wildlife Services Director.

Personnel from the Wildlife Services program and the City will install the structures during the week of April 10th.  The structures have been specifically designed for the Garlic Creek Retention Pond. Wildlife officials say the installation should only take a day.  

“We will evaluate the structures and if they perform as designed, the design may be included in future retention ponds to prevent the risk of floods while maintaining wetland characteristics,” said Bodenchuk. “Because the approach is relatively new, we will also work with wildlife groups to use this as a demonstration site for community coexistence with wildlife.”  

In Buda “Breathe Easy Here” isn’t just a slogan. It’s a way of life. We strive to take a proactive and disciplined approach in our planning process to ensure that Buda’s quality of life, environment, and family-friendly culture are preserved.  

Buda is the fastest growing suberb of Austin and I’m beyond curious how they came to the decision to use this tool. Of course I’m a naturally suspicious person and I had a hard time imagining the head of WS using Mike Callahan’s DVD or watching Adrian Nelson’s webinar, but alert reader Bob Kobres found the news real and I’m pretty impressed with the beaver education component. The funky looking pipes make me nervous but I’m going to hope for the best until we learn otherwise. Meanwhile, congratulations Texas for installing what might be your VERY FIRST flow device.  This is pretty exciting.

CaptureThis week we received a LOVELY donation for the silent auction from our good friend Daniel Dietrich of Pt. Reyes Safari’s. In addition to offering guided treks to wildlife viewers and photographers from all over the world, he makes a living selling some of these fantastic images on metal prints. Daniel knows every nook and cranny of the park and is able to take stunning photographs of every badger, bobcat and bunting to be found. bobcatThe print he gave us is 12 x 18 and as beautiful a use of the autumn color palate that I have seen.
Thanks Daniel!  There are plenty of bobcat fans to bid on this image at the festival. And maybe someday soon we’ll get you some beavers to photograph too.

Now it’s EasteIzzy easter eggr and you deserve this picture of my adorable grand niece Isobel Watt hunting her first ever eggs at the San Mateo Apartment where she lives with her techie father and extra crafty mother. Say thank you.