RUMFORD – A perennial problem with an industrious family of beavers took a turn for the worse after the toothy rodents one-upped town and state crews by flooding a recreational trail, forcing riders onto Route 2.

They also created something of a public health hazard. The beavers’ impoundment near Prospect Avenue has created a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

After receiving complaints on June 27 from Prospect Avenue residents fed up with excessive mosquito bites and the town’s and state’s inability to correct the problem, interim Town Manager Len Greaney surveyed the beaver backwater on June 28.

He has recommended that the state build and install a grid-type screen in either end of the culvert to deny beavers entrance from the river. He has also asked the Maine Warden Service to assign a warden to trap and remove the offending beaver family.

“With the understanding that the four-wheeler/snowmobile-trail bridge is under water, it raises the ante to resolve the beaver dam problem,” Greaney said.

That trail is the Route 17 north snowmobile trail, which is used in the summer by all-terrain vehicle riders, hikers and mountain bikers.

Greaney said Rumford workers cleared a beaver dam from the culvert in 2006 and placed screens at each ends to prevent entry.

This year, the beavers circumvented that by damming the Route 17 North wooden bridge spanning a brook that drains into the Androscoggin River on the other side of the highway. That, in turn, raised water levels, flooding the trail bridge, the trail and several hundred feet of woods and low-lying land on both sides of the highway.

It also enabled the beavers to swim over the culvert fence, a section of which Greaney claims the beavers pulled down.

“We found that the screen at the culvert had been manipulated by the beavers to allow their free entry and exit through the culvert to bring trees to their dam at the other side of Route 2,” he said.

Prospect Avenue resident Jerry Arsenault’s property is nearest to the culvert under Route 2 and borders the 3-foot-deep beaver pond. The 70-year-old said Tuesday that he bought a 16-gallon pump and sprays pesticide every other week on 15 to 20 feet of his property.

“I have to or else we couldn’t live here,” Arsenault said.

He attributed the bent fencing to the weight of ice from this past winter.

Normally, the area floods when the Androscoggin River rises with heavy rain over its watershed. Now, the river level is lower than the beaver pond.

“I also complained (in 2006) about possible health problems, but this is ridiculous. They ought to get permits and get the beavers out of here,” Arsenault said.

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