December 9, 2012

For nearly 15 years we have enjoyed the privilege of walking along a nature trail we cleared on our property. The trail crossed a couple of creeks and meandered through a beautiful wetland. Many walks and photos later, the summer of 2012 heralded a dramatic change for the trail and wetland.

Beavers set up "camp" with a lengthy dam and we assume a lodge which we have yet to find, although the Beaver could be using a bank den. The activity likely started back in July, but we can't be sure of the exact time. Being rather busy this year, our regular maintenance of the trail took a back seat. I suppose the lack of human activity emboldened the Beaver(s) and they proceeded to build their empire.

What was shocking to us was the extent of construction (and destruction) which has impacted the creek, trees and trail. The original creek is totally blockaded and re-routed; there is still water flowing through the main channel but now there are several new creeks across the land.

Our nature trail took a direct hit with about 100 feet of the dam built directly on top of the trail. It almost seems like the Beavers said thank you very much, we'll take that route and save ourselves some effort along the way! Let's not fool ourselves though, these Beavers still had plenty of work instinct. We marvel at the volume of material they have cut, moved and piled in a relatively short period of time. And with this very mild late fall/early winter contributing to little or no ice, they continue to work diligently and effectively.

Further downstream and several months ago, our neighbours also encountered trials and tribulations with Beavers, perhaps the very same individual animals playing havoc on our property. One neighbour laboured for months removing the Beaver dam, eventually resorting to heavy equipment since his lane was flooded by the Beavers. Another neighbour also had problems. They used a rake to claw apart the dam, but one day decided to give up when they found their rake buried inside the dam! In our case the damage has largely been done, so we decided to let it be and watch nature take its course. Maybe I will be rewarded with photos of Beaver tracks and if lucky, Mr. & Mrs. Beaver might make an appearance for the camera!?!

North section of the Beaver dam that was built along our nature trail. A small patch of green grass mid-way up on right side of photo is all that remains of the section of trail now buried or submerged by the new dam. (December 9, 2012)

Beaver - dam

South section of the Beaver dam and part of the new pond created by the dam. The former creek, now a channel in the pond, is covered by 3 additional feet of water. (December 9, 2012)

Beaver - dam

Beaver scat, as shown here, will usually be found in the water. This is a fresh sample and is relatively intact. Scat width = 1.25 inches, scat length = 1.75 inches.December 9, 2012

Beaver - scat

Cut tree felled by Beaver. There is also evidence of debarking for food and branch removal for dam/lodge building. (December 9, 2012)

Beaver - cut tree

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