Real Estate 20 Under 40

County takes aim at beaver dams

2013-05-21T16:27:00Z 2013-05-22T08:11:21Z County takes aim at beaver damsDON LEHMAN -- Glens Falls Post-Star

If you live in Warren County and have a beaver dam on your property, you’re probably going to hear from the county attorney’s office in coming weeks.

The county Board of Supervisors asked county Attorney Martin Auffredou to send letters to those who own property on which beavers have built dams, after county highway crews conducted a survey.

The goal is to inform property owners they may be liable if a dam bursts and damages public or private property, and supervisors hope property owners will decide to remove the beavers and/or their dams safely, said Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors Legislative & Rules Committee.

The directive came after county officials debated for months about how to address what some consider a growing problem — increasing numbers of beavers damming up streams and creating ponds that, when the dams burst, wash out roads and railroad tracks. Warren County has had at least three road or train track washouts in the last few years linked to beaver-built dams. A large train track washout occurred several years ago in Saratoga County, as well.

Jim Lieberum, district manager for Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District, said it can be "catastrophic" when a large beaver dam bursts.

A survey last year found at least 20 dams in Warren County threaten public property, particularly roads.

“There’s a surprising number of them,” Auffredou said.

The decline of the trapping industry has led to a growing beaver population, Monroe said.

“Property owners need to understand there could be some liability if a beaver dam goes,” he said. “If it’s on public property, the municipalities can take care of them, but it’s a difficult problem if it’s on private property.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation can issue permits to landowners and municipalities to have nuisance beavers trapped and their dams removed.

“We get a nuisance permit in our town every year and get rid of them,” said Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley.

"There's no silver bullet," Lieberum added.

Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas said the DEC should handle removal of nuisance beavers, with Monroe pointing out the animals technically belong to the state.

Auffredou said the DEC has indicated it will assist the towns by working with landowners.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. nyyankee
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    nyyankee - May 27, 2013 12:11 pm
    Yes because that's what every hunter does? Right? For every 20 days I spend in the woods, I usually can get what I'm after. However, those days I spend in the woods are full of wildlife sightings and enjoying nature. It's turkey season right now and I haven't smoked one cigar or felt my testosterone surge once. Being in the woods at 4:30 AM I have listened to the springs woods wake up and I can tell you it's an amazing symphony! I haven't bagged my Tom, but I have had a great time and seen and heard what most people will never experience.

    Hunting is also important for keeping the number of game animals at a manageable level. If all hunting was banned, deer herds would grow and literally overrun the woods. Mass starvation and car- deer collisions would increase dramatically. Would you rather see a deer starve to death or help feed a family.
  2. Jonny
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    Jonny - May 25, 2013 6:13 pm
    Upstatehunter, you may be right, but if that's the case, next time my car gets damaged by a critter crossing the road jay walking, I'm going to sue the state for repairs and suffering. How well do you think that will work for me?
  3. ecosystemengineers
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    ecosystemengineers - May 23, 2013 3:10 pm
    It seems a shame to assume that beavers or their dams are at fault here since usually intact beaver colonies maintain series of dams that normally secure watersheds against catastrophic flood! They keep water runoff slowed down and spread out, which decreases dangerous concentrated flooding. The beavers must be left in place to properly maintain their dams and should rarely if ever blow out! Major damaging floods are occuring where beavers are missing and there is no constraint on watershed flooding! Beavers are our allies when it comes to watershed and ecology preservation and we should plan better to accomodate that! I sincerely hope that can be the case in Warren County.
  4. something is wrong
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    something is wrong - May 23, 2013 5:27 am
    the board of deciders have decided! Period! Then there was light and the light was good. Then their was beavers and the beavers were bad. So man took over. The rest is history.
  5. something is wrong
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    something is wrong - May 23, 2013 5:19 am
    WOW. Beaver dams, fences, septic tanks, invasive species, aliens, dirty dishes, change your life, change your underware. Warren County is this where god resides?
  6. nyrebel
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    nyrebel - May 22, 2013 5:41 pm
    Lets talk beaver the beaver builds a habitat many other animals need to thrive .Most good ole boys are not going to kill what they will not eat. What if beaver dam 1 is on state land and dams 2 3 4 are on private lands owned by older people who do not know they exist, Dam 1 breaks taking out 2 3 and 4 then some piece of roadway is the state liable? Ha HA. I will bet the beaver fixes his dam faster than the state can decide who is to blame.This is just another way the state can keep money in there deep pockets.They should quit trying to control everything.The state of NY is making the other 49 states look better every day.
  7. loneoak
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    loneoak - May 22, 2013 7:30 am
    Those or you who think the poor little creatures should be left alone have never seen the devastation caused by a breached dam. I have seen a state highway disappear, bridges taken completely out, water supplies contaminated and more. If the beavers belong to the state then the state should deal with the issue. When contacting DEC if your problem does not involve a publicly maintained road you are left to fend for yourself. The interesting aspect is that it may not affect the public road until breach then look out below. This is just another way the state diverts responsibility and liability from them to the private citizen.
  8. Aham2013
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    Aham2013 - May 22, 2013 5:46 am
    If the animal is causing a problem, trap it, relocate it to a spot where it wont be a problem and be done with it. Come on NY! Does everything have to be a big deal with you all.
  9. Aham2013
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    Aham2013 - May 22, 2013 5:41 am
    politicoQB- No body is even talking about shooting the Beavers idiot. they said trap. Can't you read good boy.
  10. upstatehunter
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    upstatehunter - May 22, 2013 4:58 am
    Thinking that PQB may need to get out of the office and from behind a computer. The state does "own" all animals that they regulate. IE; an animal that they set season dates for taking, require special licenses to harvest, and set limits on amounts taken. None of the good ole boy go kill stuff going on here. Not that I agree with Mr. Monroe's decision either. Holding property owners responsible for acts of nature or "god" as it were, is ridiculous. There needs to be that for a dam to fail and damage done to a road or right of way. Either a large rainfall, or snow run off etc. Why doesn't the county(state) bear the burden of making the water crossing of the highway able to withstand a burst of water. As a beaver will dam a brook or stream to create it's own habitat, we as humans should be able to protect our habitat. After all, aren't we the thinking animal in this equation? Most problems occurred where the culvert or bridge was not designed to withstand a hundred year event.
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    BAYRIDGEEMS - May 21, 2013 11:31 pm
    I dont agree with this. Why now try to regulate wildlife are you saying they are going to remove them from population just because they have found a habitable place to live this government is messed up
  12. mtzbeavers
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    mtzbeavers - May 21, 2013 10:50 pm
    So does that mean the county will come to landowners without beavers when this county suffers significant drought? And that they'll need to pay monies to repalce the FEMA funds awarded to cities in dire conditions? I hope commissioners know that beaver dams can e safely controlled with flow devices? And that beaver contribute significantly to biodiversity and recharge water tables?

    Heidi Perryman, Ph.D.
    Worth A Dam
  13. politicoQB
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    politicoQB - May 21, 2013 8:17 pm
    Oh, how wrong you are Mr. Monroe. The beavers do not "belong to the state."
    Saying it and legislating it doesn't make it so.
    Just another excuse for testosterone boys to grab the guns n ammo and some cigars and go kill stuff.
    Disgusting and shameful.
  14. politicoQB
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    politicoQB - May 21, 2013 8:13 pm
    Oh great. Now man is regulating wildlife.
    Stand down, Marty. The beavers were here before you and the monied interests who line your silken purse.
  15. newshound
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    newshound - May 21, 2013 6:43 pm
    oh leave them alone..can we not let nature do anything anymore?
  16. loneoak
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    loneoak - May 21, 2013 4:51 pm
    Unfortunately it is not that easy. If the dam is on your property and the beavers live on someone else's property you can pull that dam every day and they rebuild every night. If your neighbor does not want them gone you are stuck with the problem.


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