The score at the start of 2014
Living with the beaver on Little Silver Lake (LSL) is always a struggle of wits. Here is a summary of the last few months from the human perspective. Someone with talent could write the beavers’ story.
The outflow from LSL is a favourite spot for the beaver. Some years ago we were allowed to install a baffler system of six pipes running through the dam in order to co-exist. Three pipes are 4” and three 6” diameter. There are two 22.5° bends in each pipe which extend about 50 feet. This baffler system worked very well until the fall of this year when an unintentional battle between humans and beaver was triggered.
Highlights of the Game in the Fall of 2013
Some time in September the Tay Valley Township decided to break a dam in an upstream beaver pond to protect a culvert under County Road 36, which a year or so ago was washed out by the collapse of that same dam. Score one to the humans.
This action discharged a considerable amount of water into Rainbow Lake which then descended into LSL and together with the high rainfall stimulated the beaver to improve their dam on the outflow of LSL. Score one to the beaver.
October Some misguided humans decided to remove some of the LSL dam which reduced the level a bit. Score was now: humans 2, beaver 1.
Not surprisingly the beaver screamed “penalty”, rallied their forward line and collected a new load of branches and mud, to the chagrin of the adjacent resident, and rebuilt their dam. Score 2 all.
Not only that, the beaver coach noticed that water was flowing into the barrels and managed to work out how to block that by pushing sticks into it. Score 2:3 to the beaver. Definitely a smart coach.
The property owners and Directors of the Association were very diligent in keeping the barrels clear and managed to keep things under control, more or less. Award the humans another point to make it 3 all.
At this stage, some time in November, the beaver introduced a new offense tactic, and pulled one of the barrels over. Definitely a point to the beaver: score 3:4.
A courageous Director donned waders and ventured into frigid chest-high water to try to right this barrel without avail. A medal and accolade for bravery was awarded, but no change in the score.
The field at the end of December. Although the inflow from the drained beaver pond on the west of CR#36 is now just a trickle, there has been heavy snow and rain, with considerable runoff from all the streams that feed LSL. The beaver have maintained their dam very effectively and the level of the lake is now at the high water mark, over washing a number of residents’ docks and freezing on top. The flow out of the lake is considered low (12” depth in the culvert under Little Silver Lake Road) and the water present in the ponds on Beaver Pond Estates is also considered low for the time of year. Both teams are resting on the sidelines, with wary eyes.
Recommendations The LSL and Rainbow committee strongly recommends doing nothing at the moment: the beaver are very active and any damage to the dam will simply result in further destruction of adjacent property. We note that in any case the beaver dam is within the jurisdiction of the RVCA and is built on Township property. A sudden drop in the water level at this stage is also likely to damage any residents’ structures that are now surrounded by ice. We do, however, recommend that the baffler is overhauled in the spring after the run-off has occurred. This will be done in May when access is considered safe. In the meantime we will contact the RVCA so that they know the state of this part of the watershed.