Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Busy Beavers Flood Agency with Work

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Busy Beavers Flood Agency with Work

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, Times-Union staff writer

KINGSLAND -- Employees in Kingsland's public works department have been busy as beavers. And they know how busy that can be.

As fast as city workers tear down beaver-built dams that flood low-lying areas, the pesky rodents rebuild them, said Bill Coleman, Kingsland's Department of Public Works director.

"All you can do is bust the dams and keep ahead of them," Coleman said. "They're pretty much surrounding the city. If we didn't do this, it would cause lots of flooding problems."

City workers have even resorted to using tractors to destroy the structures, some as large as 4 feet tall and more than 75 feet across, Coleman said.

To make the city's predicament more difficult, beavers are adapting to the public works department's tactics. The animals are now dragging tree limbs, mud, leaves, trash, chunks of tires, and anything else they can find, into drainage pipes to flood areas they consider home.

When city workers first found culverts and drainage pipes blocked, Bill Schriver, a public works employee said they tried a new tactic -- unsuccessfully.

"We tried using wire to block the pipes," Schriver said. "We came back a few days later and they'd used the wire to build a dam."

After rains, the dams cause street and parking lot flooding in the city's business district and on roads in some subdivisions near Interstate 95, Coleman said.

While city workers battle the animals in Kingsland, some areas have resorted to dynamite to blast the dams to oblivion, said Carmen Martin, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

"Beavers can be very, very destructive," Martin said. "In a high-growth area, you're going to have conflicts with beavers."

The animals instinctively build dams anytime they hear flowing water, Martin said.

"Even if you put a little breach in their dams, that noise compels them to rebuild," Martin said. …

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