RUMFORD – Former Town Manager Len Greaney met with state officials on Thursday to resolve a longstanding beaver problem for residents of the western end of Prospect Avenue.

Greaney learned that more appropriate fencing around a culvert under Route 2, and long pipes punched through one of two dams on a small brook connecting a small wetland to the Androscoggin River, are two remedies that could resolve the wetland flooding problem between the river and Sunnyside Terrace.

Standing water there creates large mosquito populations that threaten to become a public health hazards.

“We love the birds and things and we also love the human beings and, we’re trying to get a balance,” Greaney said to Maine Department of Transportation operations manager Bob Carter and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wildlife biologist Bob Cordes.

Both men and Greaney examined the Route 2 culvert through which beavers have ventured inland via water backed up by two dams between Route 2 and the river. Rising water levels allow submerged beavers to explore without getting eaten by predators, Cordes said.

On the residents’ side of the culvert, there is a rusted, thin-gauge wire fence crumpled by winter ice. It has failed to prevent beaver access through the culvert.

Beavers have also built two dams downstream within the brook channel.

Cordes found one dam on Thursday near the culvert. Closer to the river, is a second dam which the industrious rodents built under a snowmobile bridge.

Last summer, beavers incorporated the wooden bridge on steel I-beams into the dam, which was built a foot higher than the bridge, rendering it unusable. Rising water then submerged the popular trail, forcing riders to use the emergency lane of Route 2’s eastbound lane.

Although both dams prevent wetland water from draining to the river, neither Cordes or Carter saw any recent signs of beaver activity.

Carter said the MDOT can’t simply remove the dams due to MDIF&W laws which require enough water left inside the culvert to allow access for fish.

Town officials will need landowner permission to engineer the beaver dams to let enough water flow through them to reduce upstream problems.

Cordes recommended hiring a couple of beaver problem-solving men successfully used by the MDIF&W for similar problems.

He said the men could build and install a long, linear fence of heavier-gauge wire on the currently fenced culvert end to confuse the beavers.

The mammals, he said, would try to dam one end of the fence, but not the other, through which water and fish could pass.

After viewing the two dams, Cordes recommended punching a hole through the first dam closest to the culvert to provide temporary relief.

He said the bridge dam should also be removed, but only after getting permission from the landowner and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection due to tightly packed mud under the bridge.

For a longer-term solution, Cordes told Greaney that long pipes should be installed through the dam allowing more water to drain continuously.

He also recommended hiring a trapper to trap beavers there during the regular trapping season, which this winter was from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28.

And even though Greaney said he saw a beaver swimming in the backed up water on May 20th, Cordes said he didn’t think beavers are there now.

“There definitely is habitat upstream and downstream for them, but, if they were active in here, there would be evidence,” Cordes said. “They’d be working harder to get more water depth.”

“We can moderate the beaver issues, but regardless of beavers, it’s a wetland and they’re going to have standing water in here when it rains,” he said. “But, it’s something we can work on managing.”

“The residents are looking for water levels to go down, but they know it won’t go down to zero feet,” Greaney said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.