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

The Martinez Beavers

Category: Beavers and Culvert Protection

Sitting here watching the world of beavers I can usually trace ideas as they trickle from one location to the next. I can tell how often new headlines are recycled and when they are actually NEW and had never ever been used before.

This particular headline got my attention, not because of it’s novelty, but because of its familiar ring. Other than a Peter Bush article about beaver sex, I’ve only seen it one place in a decade if beaver reporting. And I think you all know where that was.

The Secret Lives of Beavers

Beavers are some of the most misunderstood animals. By nature, the critters gnaw at trees in order to fell them, so that they can create dams… homes, where they live. Unfortunately, in modern times when humans have done all of the felling, there are few trees left for beavers to do what they do best. This is especially true in urban environments, of course.

Where bodies of water are found, or streams/rivers, beavers will still most likely be present. Take, for example, the Scajaquada Creek, and the Buffalo River. Have you ever noticed the metal caging wrapped around the trunks of trees, to protect them from the beavers?

Yes, beavers have it rough. There are few trees, and the ones that are left are protected from their gnawing nature. What’s a beaver to do? They head to Tifft Nature Preserve… that’s what they do.

On Monday, January 15, you are invited to explore the fascinating world of beavers.

“Hidden beneath ice and snow is the busiest animal you’ll ever know! Meet the beavers on a guided hike and indoor workshop investigating real clues at the beaver lodge and hands-on specimens in the classroom.”

In addition to being Martin Luther King day, January 15 is my mom’s birthday! What a wonderful day to teach folks about beavers and the good they do on the landscape. Please start with whoever wrote this article because they should know that beavers don’t live in the dam.

They should also know that stealing other peoples titles is frowned upon in the literary community. (Check out the subtitle under Eager). Like I said, other than the Peter Bush article I haven’t seen this headline used a single time in an entire decade, and now that the book is officially for sale on Amazon someone else suddenly ‘thought’ of it.


Yesterday there was a city meeting in Port Moody BC and folks showed up to talk about how important the beavers were to the community, and how badly the city had bungled the process to clear the culvert that lead to drowning the kit. I spoke with Judy on the phone for the first time, (which was like hearing my own voice from ten years ago talking back to me). I gave her ideas about where to focus public comment and congratulated her for doing so much so well. They haven’t seen the other parent or the kit since the bungle took place. but one wonderful thing happened that we could celebrate.

A creek on the other side of the subdivision suddenly ‘got’ beavers!

Judy and I talked about how this was likely the other part of the same family, leaving the danger zone and carrying on. I also suggested that there was a chance that the beaver they are still seeing in the area is a yearling they never knew was part of the family, and that the parents had brought the kit to the new zone.  It would be pretty unusual for a parent to abandon a kit, I thought. But not so unusual to have a family member you never accounted for. I told her that one year we spent an entire summer SURE that we had two kits, until another one suddenly ‘appeared’ in August. Beavers don’t always show their hand.

They have Secret Lives, as you may have heard.

Casco is a town of just under 4000 in the southern tip of Maine. They are one of those places who can trace their history back to the 1700’s and are best known now for it’s community fair in the summer known as “Casco Days”.

To orient you further, I would like to point out that they are about a 3 hour drive from both Beaver Deceivers Int’l and Beaver Solutions. Which of course is why I was very interested to read this: 

Casco battles beavers plugging up culverts

CASCO — The town has been busy as a beaver trying to outwit the beavers that have been culprits when it comes to culverts. It seems once a beaver sets its sights on a spot that would make a nice home, it is an ongoing skirmish around the culverts.

The town’s culverts often get converted into beaver dams, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

While live-trapping is an option to relocate a troublesome family of beavers, the real cost comes from paying a heavy equipment operator to remove the debris and open up the water flow through a culvert, he said.

“A beaver can plug it back up in 2½ days.

“We trap them. Earlier in the year, we live-trap them. The traps are large; and we have to not put them anywhere children could get near. They are large clam shell traps,” he said.

I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think they ‘live trap’ because of any devotion to the beavers or hesitation to do them harm. I think it’s a seasonal thing.

The town’s approach is to live-trap the beavers or put out the word during the state’s beaver trapping season, Morton said

Okay, so you’ll get rid of these beavers by hook or by crook. And you’ve dealt with this kind of problem before. Just out of curiosity, how often does it happen?

“About every second or third year, they plug the culvert between Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond,” Morton said, adding that was an issue this summer.We have three around Point Sebago Road. Usually, there’s some on Leach Hill Road,” adding the later spot was beaver-free this summer.

Wow, You’re right. This does happen a lot. I’m just curious. How much does something like that cost you to handle?

Morton said, “They are fun for people to look at. But, it’s extremely expensive when they plug the culvert.”

Plummer said the reason he asked about the plugged culverts is that the town “spent considerable money on replacing and sleeving the culverts. I am just trying to protect our investment.”

Plummer asked for a cost estimate associated with the beaver dam battle. “We have used an excavator or a logging truck. For an excavator to be there for an hour is about $600. And a logging truck is less, about $200,” Morton said.

Hmm. So this happens every couple of years in more than one location all over the town and you have to pay for couple hours rental of an excavator just to clean it out? And you mean to tell me no one has sat you down to talk about saving money by installing culvert protection?

Huh. Something tells me that’s going to change very soon. Call it a hunch.