Madison County beavers persist; engineering project delayed

It’s those pesky beavers that are holding up progress in London, Ohio.

Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume recently told the county commissioners that he is ready to move forward with a needed ditch (really a tile repair) on the east edge of London now that the beavers have been removed from the area.

Yep, we’ve had beavers living just inside the city limits. They’ve been busy building dams in a small wetland adjacent to the Ohio To Erie Recreational Trail. A broken service tile that once served a tile mill in the area is largely responsible for the wetland. But beavers aggravated the problem by building dams that raised the surface water level.

I am sure cyclists on the trail loved to see the big, furry rodents working. But, local residents who were plagued with flooding yards were anything but thrilled.

One of those residents petitioned the county to repair the broken tile in 2015. But efforts to survey the area and hold public hearings on the petition were stalled by the busy beavers.

Fearing destruction of the beavers’ homes would only lead to quick re-building, Dhume finally called on a local nuisance trapper for help. The trapper removed at least six beavers initially, allowing engineering staff to take down the dams. Dhume is now ready to schedule hearings on the project.

Like black bear, bobcats, otter, bald eagles, and other species, American beaver (that’s the proper moniker) are coming back into Ohio in significant numbers. And they are becoming more and more of a nuisance, according to Karen Norris of the Ohio DNR.

Once completely extirpated, DNR surveys estimated more than 10,000 in the state in 1980. That number had increased to more than 40,000 by 2008. Most were found in eastern Ohio.

But beavers are now popping up in heavy row-crop counties like Madison, where they splash in farm ponds and plug agricultural ditches. Trapping has reduced the population slightly in the last few years. But there are still plenty around, Norris said.

She attributed the beavers’ ability to adapt and live in relatively shallow, small waterways as the reason. The London wetland would be a good example of that.

Beaver are North America’s biggest rodent, with adults weighing up to 60 pounds and stretching to 30 inches long, according to OhioDNR.gov.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard