Busy, Busy Beavers

Haddonfield explores methods to deal with five dams from a pair of beavers in Crows Woods.

In a scene that could have been straight out the cult golf movie classic Caddyshack, an official of an exclusive club this week cried foul about some nuisance rodents ruining his golf course.

In this instance, the exclusive club is Tavistock Country Club and the municipal entity it's appealing to for help is Haddonfield.

Greg Jacobs, the assistant superintendent at Tavistock, urged borough officials this week to help him take action to alleviate flooding on his 16th green because of water backing up from up to five dams the busy beavers have made since recently reappearing in the waterways near Haddonfield's Crows Woods.

But unlike sinister methods used in Caddyshack to rid the golf course of gophers, the solution to this problem will do no harm, and will likely do quite a lot of good. Jacobs supported a plan from local conservation activist, Butch Brees, and environmentalist, Sarah Summerville, to install a bypass to drop the water level near the dam backing up into Tavistock.

"They've raised the water level near Evans Pond by 18 inches," Brees told the borough's Board of Commissioners during a meeting Monday.

The solution: a 15-foot plastic tube to filter water past the dam and back into the pond. Materials cost about $700 and Summerville said it would make an ideal project for a local Eagle Scout. Jacobs said Tavistock is willing to pay for the materials in what he described as a win-win situation.

Summerville, an official from the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, Home of the Beaver Defenders in Newfield, explained the system would bypass the dam that is closest to the golf course and not injure the beavers. She said state law prohibits relocating beavers and they can only be trapped if a municipality plans to euthanize them.

She also stressed that beavers may appear to be a nuisance, but they actually play an important role in maintaining waterways.

Brees said the dams have also flooded two footbridges in the Crows Woods Reserve but a third, larger bridge is still accessible. It was not immediately clear if the bypass project will lower water levels around the flooded foot bridges.

Summerville said beavers are common throughout the state and new colonies form all the time. She said when the creatures are 2 years old, they are pushed out of their parents' colony and forced to start their own. She said even if local officials planned to euthanize the beavers, which they do not, other beavers would likely take their place.

Heidi Perryman February 06, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Allowing these beavers to remain will enrich the wildlife and let their territorial behaviors discourage other beavers from moving in. A flow device will fix your flooding problem and the smart folks at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge will keep you on the right course. Our flow device has solved the flooding problem for 5 years and counting. Heidi Perryman Worth A Dam www.martinezbeavers.org
Maryann Campling February 06, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Sure hope the beavers don't mysteriously disappear the way the foxes and deer did (guess they didn't keep up their membership fees)! The flow device sounds like the way to go...and I'd be happy to make a donation toward the project.
Paul Baylin July 09, 2013 at 01:45 PM
This past weekend (July 6, 2013) while visiting Crow's Woods, it was apparent that the beaver dams have been breached. The ponds between the foot bridges are now as low as they were before any beavers entered the area. The beaver ponds have once again taken on the characteristics of a stagnant, fetid swamp. Does anyone know how or why the dams were broken, and what happened to the beavers?


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