Newest News from the Beaver Swamps

Washington, New Hampshire discovered, thanks to the efforts of New Hampshire Animal Rights League (NHARL) to promote beaver friendly solutions to conflict and providing grant funding to help folks in need to get solutions to resolve conflict issues while saving beavers and critical habitats!!

Late May brought a landowner in Washington, N.H. in touch with NHARL due to a letter from the Washington Public Works Director asking permission to trap beaver perceived to be threatening a seasonally maintained road abutting and downstream from the landowner property. NHARL got in touch with me to see if I could help evaluate and perhaps install a flow/protection device at this site. Happily I elected to go down and meet the owners and NHARL reps. at the site to see what could be done.

This site turned out to be part of a fabulous wetland complex that extends both up and downstream from the road culvert which was not being directly threatened or plugged. The issue was more about the high flow water now being diverted over the 300’+ level dam did not all get back to the stream channel before some of it crossed the road and was beginning to wash road surface material. It occurred to me that what was really needed was a higher road or at least a better roadside ditch to accommodate the diverted water back to the stream bed instead of over the road and thereby keeping the flooded wetland and all its inhabitants intact!

Luckily the Town Public Works Director could see the value of this and an agreement was reached with the three parties (landowners, NHARL, and Town) to raise and ditch the road with a significant part of the material (stone) needed to be paid for by NHARL grant money and the work to be done by the town!

I was lucky enough to be able to spend additional time there at the landowner’s nearby cabin and really explored this incredibly diverse and interesting area with religious preserves and trails both up and downstream. I could dine overlooking the swamp and listening to the unique territorial/mating call of American Bittern ( http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_bittern/sounds ) and sleep to the sounds of raucous frog sounds from multiple species, not to mention quite close encounters with the dam builders themselves! Fabulous!….and I hope to return to this (successfully) resolved site very soon!

A huge thanks to N.H. Animal Rights League ( http://www.nhanimalrights.org ) for their ongoing effort ( started last year when I first got involved; see: http://www.cabinet.com/cabinet/cabinetnews/1049672-308/beaver-deceivers-installed-in-milford.html ) to promote animal and ecology friendly solutions and alternatives to lethal trapping that is too often done without a thought!

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