Beaver Damage Problems in 2011; Repairs Continue in 2012

French Creek Valley Wisconsin

Last Revised: December 29, 2012

beaver pond drained a little Beaver Dam Gone East Side 1
Before                                                   After

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Beavers have invaded us again, only 100 feet from our best stand of young black walnut trees!
Job 1: Protect our Black Walnut Trees from the Latest Beaver Attack!
Job 2: Put the soil back and build the creek banks back to better than their original height

The current purpose of this page is to give you a little background to our beaver problem and to the methods we have used to get rid of them when they do their thing. Beavers are just big swimming rats with flat tails.

Check out our youtube videos describing the restoration project in more detail:
(or--- look at the short picture gallery toward the bottom of this page)

2011 Beaver Pond, beginning to dismantle the dam and drain the pond
Advances in lowering the Beaver Pond level
Pond lowering and most of the beavers are gone
Removing 2nd section of Main Dam
Conclusion & Removing part of the secondary dam
Same as "Conclusion", above, but with super fast backhoe work!
October, 2012 Excavation to level the land and add a culvert across the creek
It's December, 2012. Some final excavation to complete creek bank build up

Our Beaver problems began in about 1980 and have continued on and off since then. There had never been beavers on our place in anyone's memory, which goes back to the 1930's and before. That's because the fur trapping trade was still in full bloom. In the 1980's someone threw red paint onto someone else's fur coat in Los Angeles, CA. if I remember correctly, and that began the demise of the fur trade.
In just a few years, the population of many fur bearing animals multiplied many times in our neighborhood and so did the problems with them. Beavers ate the forests and mink ate the chickens and the rabbits, for instance.

The first time we had beavers, we thought they were cute, but that view disappeared as soon as the started girdling trees that they didn't use at all, for anything! Don't think of beavers as conservationists. They kill your woodlands in several ways. First they kill trees by girdling and cutting them down. Then, when they dam up a stream, they kill many more trees by drowning them.

Here's a short series of pictures to show progress from a full pond back to a small stream, with the dams removed and the pond filled in. We even added a culvert to the creek so we can drive vehicles across it:

beaver damage beaver pond at fullest beaver pond drained a little first little island in beaver pond
The damage- start pulling out the dam    1st day of draining                             Can I keep up w/beavers?                   Making some headway

Backhoe in Place to open beaver dam Main Dam Tiny Hand Dug Slit cut after beaver repair water pouring through hole in beaver dam Pond after first backhoe operation
More progress                                       They repaired it Again!                       Just did some backhoe work                Now we're getting somewhere

Change after 1st backhoe work Pond pretty dry first backhoe operation digging out dam Ramp across first  beaver  pond drain causeway
Some channels the beavers made        Finally dry in a few spots                    Still digging out repairs daily                 Ramp to reach more of the dam

Corduroy road first not complete best shot of Corduroy road Hand Dug Slit in second part of Main Dam Second hole in beaver dam
Start corduroy road across wet area   Good enough for the backhoe             Must widen this slit, too                     The normal stream bed is open!

Long View of tiny slit in secondary dam Close up of tiny hand dug slit in secondary dam Real Close Up, Tiny Slit in Secondary Dam Backhoe ready at secondary dam
Need to open up secondary dam          See how restricted my "Breach" is      Even Closer up. It's gotta go!             Here comes the backhoe

Backhoe digging at secondary beaver dam Backhoe 3rd shot at secondary dam backhoe 4th shot at secondary beaver dam Backhoe done at secondary beaver dam
First scoops                                            Partially done                                     Tidy up the rocky bottom                     Done! The Walnut Trees are saved!

Beaver Dam Gone East Side 1 Beaver Dam Gone East Side 2 Beaver Dam Gone West Side 1 Beaver Dam Gone West Side 2
Flat Land, not water                             Banks on either side of creek             To NW, Creek Flowing thru Culvert     Looking East Across New Culvert