What Should The City Of Burien Do With These Dam BEAVERS? Take Our Poll…

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We’ve covered this before, but since then our friend Dennis Clark sent us these photos so we just had to do an update – Burien has its own, functioning, dam (building) beaver family living in Walker Creek near Des Moines Memorial Drive; the city may have to relocate these animals soon:

This is the beaver's dam home. The yardstick is used (by humans) to monitor water levels, which are affected by the beaver's dam.

This is a beaver in its home. Any dam questions?

A recent posting in our forums from Sue (one of the beaver’s neighbors) is worth a note as well, expressing her concern for the safety of the animals if they’re relocated:

“We have recently had a couple of beavers decide to move into our pond area off of Desmoines Memorial Drive.

But, because they’re affecting the culverts under the roadway, the city may relocate them to avoid having to pay to keep them in their protected habitat.

We’ve had a guy from King County out a couple of times, and they’ve lowered the levels of the dams and cleared out the culverts.

They have warned us that if the beavers keep being beavers, that they will have to be relocated.

I’m not sure if anyone knows this but the mortality rate of a beaver, once relocated, is very slim. Please help us keep our wild life!!

According to King County’s Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward Dennis Clark:

As for the beavers, they are still there doing their dam beaver thing. I now TRULY understand the term “busy as a beaver.”

I’m the “King County guy” that Sue refers to, of course. Her characterization of the issue isn’t entirely accurate, unfortunately.

Right now, the City of Burien is reviewing how to manage the beavers. While it’s exciting to have the beavers and they provide ecological benefits, they also in their dam way cause some big drainage problems. The key challenge is keeping the culverts under Des Moines Memorial Drive free-flowing so water doesn’t back up and flood over the road and the neighbors to the north.

What makes the decision for the City particularly hard is that the costs of different options vary considerably and the outcomes of the more costly options are uncertain. WILDlife is unpredictable in its response to our efforts to “manage” it.

At this point, I don’t know when the City will make its decision.

previously, Clark has also written on his blog:

Per yesterday’s entry, further work was needed to clear the Walker Creek culverts under Des Moines Memorial Drive in Burien. Overnight, the beavers were as busy as — well, beavers — and they had partly replugged one culvert and rebuilt a dam.

My clearing efforts did raise the water level flowing downstream by 2 p.m. Friday. As occurred yesterday, shortly after I concluded my work, the water flowing downstream became clear. Any longer-lasting turbidity downstream likely is due to sediment in the stream being mobilized by the temporarily higher flows. Reports from people in Normandy Park confirm that turbidity decreases once the flows do.

This clearing of the culverts and the attendant flow fluctuations downstream hopefully should occur no longer than for a few days next week. This manipulation of the stream is not desirable and is only occurring as a byproduct of efforts to protect public property (a major road) and private property (a septic drain field).

So…what do YOU think the city should do with these beavers? Please take our poll, or leave a Comment below…

What should the city of Burien do with its beavers?

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2 Responses to “What Should The City Of Burien Do With These Dam BEAVERS? Take Our Poll…”
  1. Flow devices are an inexpensive, humane and long-term solution to beaver dam conflicts. Contact the Watershed Steward in your area to learn how to use these devices effectively. Ripping out a dam is useless, but if you take simple steps to control problematic behavior the beavers will repay your investment with improvements in water quality, wildlife habitat, increases in salmon and water management. Any city smarter than a beaver can manage a beaver.

  2. Maxine says:

    I agree with Heidi. The Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife brochure Living with Beavers
    explains how to build a “Beaver Deceiver” to keep them from plugging culverts.

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