Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Beaver Night Shift and Child Labor

The culvert protection fence and pond leveler are doing their jobs nicely. As a result, there is a steady flow of water on the outflow side of the culverts. While this is not alarming to the beavers, after a rain it is enough to spur them into action. However, clogging an outflow that is protected by 6"x6" steel mesh presents a significant problem. The outflow washes away the mud and the mesh prevents them from using large sticks and logs that would be held in place by the mud.

They do their best, and over the course of the entire last season, the best they could do was to build a ramp up to the outflow, which spread and dispersed the flow enough that it wouldn't bother them. But beavers are cleaver creatures, and this year they have somehow been able to dam the first 6 inches of each pipe.

Fortunately, this presents absolutely no problem for us, but I noticed the difference in construction. Somehow, they were able to include small twigs (6"-12''). They didn't do that last year.  I was curious as to how they were doing it. So yesterday, I set up a trail camera and spent about two minutes to removed the six inches of mud and twigs in front of one of the pipes.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I checked the video and saw a beaver INSIDE the culvert pipe. The 6"x6" mesh prevents adult beavers from entering, but it was not enough to keep out the yearling that was working the night shift.

Since beaver have no child labor laws, it was perfectly legal. The small amount of damming they are able to do presents no problem, and I'll leave well enough alone. If it does become a problem, an overlapping piece of steel mesh will turn the 6"x6" into 3"x3". That should solve the problem, unless of course my bolt cutters go missing.