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Groton: Beavers are dam a’gnawing

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Groton resident Matt Allen has witnessed a tree slowly being whittled down over the past week by a beaver living in the Owasco Inlet in Groton.

GROTON — When approaching the Frank Satterly Municipal Walking Bridge you may notice a filed-down tree stump, between 6 and 8 inches across, with wood chips surrounding it. It’s like a giant sharpened pencil.

Cross the bridge, and you’ll find another tree, even bigger — between 10 to 12 inches in diameter — missing part of its base, almost as if someone had taken a bite.

Someone had — beavers. Saplings and small trees have been nibbled and gnawed and noshed upon.

For about a week Groton resident Matt Allen had noticed the activity going on along the banks of the creek but doesn’t think it’s bizarre. “It’s just a part of nature.”

However, one problem with the tenacious animals is they will continue to take trees until they are all gone, said Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow Nature Center, which has dealt with beavers before.

Beaver activity increases during the spring, when the young are forced from their homes to search for new ones, and during the fall when the animal is in a hurry to prepare for winter, Reisweber said.

Village Administrator Chuck Rankin said he isn’t sure how long the beaver damage has been going on or if it’s a serious problem, yet. “At this point, we’re monitoring it.”

Beavers felling a lot of trees and forming a dam, causing water build up, and the removal of trees that residents don’t want to see go are two problems the village will keep an eye out for, Rankin said.

If the beavers become a big problem the village will take action, Rankin said. That could go as far as hiring someone to trap the beaver and remove it.

From time to time beavers take trees along the Owasco Inlet, Groton Village Department of Public Works Supervisor Chad Shurtleff said, but he is not aware of the beavers being much of an issue.

Cutting down trees and building dams and lodges is what beavers do, Reisweber said. “It’s their wiring.”

While Reisweber hasn’t been to Groton or seen the issue firsthand, he said the animals are probably building a dam. They’ve done it at Lime Hollow, many times.

To deal with beavers, the village could take either lethal or non-lethal measures. Lime Hollow has used a Beaver Deceiver, Reisweber said. The tool is a wire fence that extends from a choke point, like culverts, to keep the beavers from damming them.

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