In some situations, a device called a beaver pipe can appropriately resolve flooding problems. Beaver pipes encounter a great deal of problems including costs (about $700 per average culvert or dam), time required to maintain them (at least one visit per year), and the ways beavers outsmart them. For example, if you install a beaver pipe on one dam, the beavers may simply build a new one farther down stream requiring yet another pipe.
Nevertheless, beaver pipe or beaver deceivers as they are some times called, can and do work. They just don't work in every situation.
1. There must be at least 4 feet of water depth available after the pipe is installed in climates where the water freezes. In other words you must have enough depth so that the beaver can still swim under the ice no matter how thick the ice gets. You will need more depth in more northern regions.
2. There is enough land around the pond to allow for seasonal flooding.
3. There is no concern with tree damage. Pipes don't protect trees.
In any event, we recommend the following definition of what constitutes an effective and working beaver pipe:
1. Flooding must be controlled to tolerable limits of those living around the water shed.
2. The pipe should only need to be cleaned no more than once per week.
3. The pipe should solve the flooding problem for at least one year.
4. Sue Langlois of the MDFW stated that she would like another criterion added namely, that the beavers stayed in the dam area after the pipe was installed.
Aside from the flooding problems that can undermine roads, engineers should consider protecting culverts from potential beaver damming. If you don't have a beaver control program in place through trapping, then you should strongly consider protecting culverts with beaver pipes. The reason is a beaver can dam inside a culvert making it very difficult to remove the damage. In some cases, the dam became lodges in the culvert, requiring the road to be ripped up to get access to the pipe.
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