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Beavers at Work Create Problems

Highway officials try a number of tactics to keep them from ruining roadways.

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Highway crews continue to battle beavers throughout Central New York for control of local roads. This spring, the Onondaga County Highway Department had to use heavy equipment to bust through a beaver dam along Herman Road in the Town of Van Buren. A colony of beavers was creating a three acre pond by backing up the flow of water under the road, threatening to wash part of it away.

Glen Ireland says when beavers get to be too much of a problem, the County will get a permit from the DEC. He says: "the permit allows us to remove the dam or obstruction that's within the right of way only and we are allowed to set traps to get rid of the beavers," which often means killing the animals.

Ireland says the County is keeping track of beaver activity in three areas, Herman Road and Pottery Road in Van Buren, and Ladd Road in the Town of Cicero. Ireland says the County has a DEC permit to control the population along Ladd Road where several beavers were trapped last year.

Ronald Giegerich, curator for the Wildlife Collection at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry says beavers can change an entire landscape by creating huge ponds and building lodges in safe locations. "They don't have to worry about coyotes nabbing them or their kits and they can move freely up and around and get to their food resource." he says.

Giegerich says Beavers were nearly eradicated from New York State about a hundred years ago. He says in 1980 the State set a goal of establishing 14-thousand beaver colonies, but today their population has grown to over 17-thousand. Last year one colony was spotted along the Bronx River in New York City.