Dam Beaver Dams

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Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
I just learned its illegal to breach them in the Adirondacks. Some of you paddle there. Looking to see who is around might be a good idea.

" § 11-0505. Interference with fish and wildlife states:
"6. Except as permitted by the department, no person shall at any time
disturb a beaver dam, house or den or a muskrat house or den or any
structure constructed by a muskrat in which it can take shelter."
"

the url will choke a mastodon but I will try. http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$ENV11-0505$$@TXENV011-0505+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=01293086+&TARGET=VIEW
 
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Nov 21, 2012
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Eastern Long Island, NY
I suspect some people don't see it as breaching beaver dams if someone merely assists the beaver by helping them identify weak spots that need to be reinforced. If the beaver has done a good job of engineering his/her structure then of course they should carry/portage around it, but if the beaver needs assistance in determining where a better design feature would benefit the structure some paddlers might aid in pointing out as small an area as possible that would benefit from some addtional attention.
 
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Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
I brought this up on the old Solotripping...yikes, I won't get into it again cause I now see the error in my ways, I am now reformed, or better yet, I just won't talk about it.
I agree with waterspyder, just helping out old Mr Beaver find the weak spots.
 
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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
I just learned its illegal to breach them in the Adirondacks. Some of you paddle there. Looking to see who is around might be a good idea.

" § 11-0505. Interference with fish and wildlife states:
"6. Except as permitted by the department, no person shall at any time
disturb a beaver dam, house or den or a muskrat house or den or any
structure constructed by a muskrat in which it can take shelter."
"

the url will choke a mastodon but I will try. http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$ENV11-0505$$@TXENV011-0505+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=01293086+&TARGET=VIEW

I suppose it all comes down to the definition of that word "disturb".
I can hardly believe that any DEC ranger would cite someone for simply climbing over, or dragging up or down a dam.

I for one, truly appreciate the little guys' efforts, those dams extend the paddling season on some of the bony waters, and smooth out the rough stuff.
And, if that wasn't enough, those dams tend to repel those paddlers less determined than me!!
 
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Feb 22, 2012
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Rochester, NY
In my experience speaking with rangers for varied other reasons, the regulations exist so that they have the authority to act if education, which most of them see as their primary role in dealing with the public, is ineffective. There is a significant difference between a canoeist choosing the lowest point and running over a dam and one who sees it as his mission to break through like the old game of red rover.
 
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I go with stripperguy. I like 'em too. So do a lot of plant and animal species which reside in the wetlands and the surrounding area. Beaver works are a hugely important part of their watersheds. Before the fur and logging and farming industries forever changed vast parts of the continent, the extent of beaver operations and their environmental importance was beyond what most people can imagine. The continent is poorer for the loss.

Hundreds of miles from human development, where few go and infrequently at that, and where for your own good you might go quicker and better by breaching a dam or two.........well, that's a different question. But most of us paddle where there's more traffic and bound to be more in the future.

I think that the laws recognize that there are lots of people and not so many beavers or uncompromised watersheds. In some places they are nuisance. In others not so much.

What can one colony withstand in the way of tampering? It might depend on how tough a winter it had, the quality of its site, the abundance and quality of forage, predator pressure and etc.. At times wild animals and their populations have a remarkably narrow margin of well being. They face many pressures as well as canoeists.


You got to make a call, but realize that these wetlands affect everything around them, from water quality to erosion control to speciation to microclimate and etc..

Were I one who lived by a given colony, and especially if I were dependent upon the plants and animal relying on the habitat which the beaver creates, I would have an estimate of how much pressure they would take. And I would care. But as a casual recreational traveler, I'm less knowing and more likely to let the dam stand.
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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When I'm travelling with a large group of kids on small creeks, we will often make a channel through the dam so we can shoot right through. It's not unusual in a day's travel to come across ten or more dams on one creek. Of course, these are active dams, and they are usually re-done with in a few days by Mr. Beaver and family. I remember that discussion on solotripping, it got pretty spirited. When I'm travelling on my own or with a couple of canoes, we just lift over. Of course, the areas we are travelling will probably not see human interaction again that year, or for many years, so impact is minimal. In areas where there are long standing dams that have created their own waterway, they should be left alone.
 
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Raymond, ME
I brought this up on the old Solotripping...yikes, I won't get into it again cause I now see the error in my ways, I am now reformed, or better yet, I just won't talk about it.
I agree with waterspyder, just helping out old Mr Beaver find the weak spots.

We won't regurgitate that discussion! But since, I have learned that breaches may not be that big a deal as beavers are alerted to the sound of running water and send out the crews. I will be watching a new dam at home..that dam is going to block whole river closer to the lake than the old dam. I wonder what prompted them to build a second
dam?

They get irritable and tail slap when I approach.

I have heard that beaver get people in trouble. Specifically on our shorelines here no vegetation cutting is allowed within 50 feet of the water. The beavers have clearcut the alders on the property nearest the dam. I am waiting for the code enforcement officer to notice this summer when he does his "boat drive by's" looking for unpermitted clearing and docks.
 
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The point about beavers routinely detecting damage and repairing it came up in the solotripping forum, and I added that I had heard or read something which claimed that in dangerously high water they'll even breach their own dam to relieve pressure and save the whole.

I don't know for sure about the latter point. I passed along the idea.

Certainly they do maintain their own dams, but the question I have is: do we know how big a repair budget a given colony has in reserve? In other words, do we know how much of a burden we add. And remember, there's more and more of us out there every year.

Not being local and not paying much attention, and not being around to see the consequences, much less being affected by them as we would if we were local and directly dependent on the watershed, we and all the others tend to blast on thru. The way of the modern lifestyle.

Hard edged rules don't exactly get it, both common sense and the posts here show.

But something like an old used copy of Leonard Lee Rue's THE FUR BEARERS of NORTH AMERICA (from Amazon for just a few bucks) can arouse your sympathy and sharpen your eyes.
 
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Alburnett Iowa
I brought this up on the old Solotripping...yikes, I won't get into it again cause I now see the error in my ways, I am now reformed, or better yet, I just won't talk about it.
I agree with waterspyder, just helping out old Mr Beaver find the weak spots.
I remember that thread Robin. If I'd have been with you on your trip I'd have gave you a hand. Made perfect sense to me. Probably wouldn't talk about it afterwards after seeing all the fuss you stirred up.
 
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I don't know Rippy, I always suspected that Robin guy was a up-to-no-good-nick, after all how many beautiful canoes one man need? And how about those neat packs?

Rob
 
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Sure an up to no good guy who will save a fellow paddler from hypothermia.. :) And we ought to be on our knees thanking a craftsman like he who keeps wood canvas canoes eternal. As he is bashful, we ought to stop.
 
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I don't know Rippy, I always suspected that Robin guy was a up-to-no-good-nick, after all how many beautiful canoes one man need? And how about those neat packs?

Rob
Rob, two things.
1. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
2. It takes one to know one.

I get quite a kick out of both of you guys. I wish we lived in closer proximity. Dave
 
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I don't like to see a good man discouraged. Robin did bring up beaver dams at Solo Tripping. He asked about possible effects of breaching them. He asked a question. I admired that. Sometimes controversy is the sign of a really good question.

Where are we when we stop asking questions?
 
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I was a longtime solotripping.com lurker, and enjoyed many a late night reading the heated discussions, but I must have missed a real beaut! I don't see too much of a controversy here, but I can imagine the CAPS LOCK key got a real work out.
I love the first few beaver dams I come to, every day, every trip, as it adds to my sense of adventure. I nick name my boat The African Queen. That being said, I don't travel as far, nor as hard as most, so my words don't matter so much. I'd never imagined one person could do very much lasting damage anyway on a dam. Any dams I've negotiated over have been rock solid. Dams are usually mended, so it's not like permanently altering the landscape. I suppose it might be too much to ask that we bridge the gap between well intentioned LNT eco-warriors and well intentioned traditionalist experienced back country travellers. But I agree Acer, that questions are a healthy part of healthy dialogue.
My guess is that laws protecting these dams are to prevent people from inflicting unexpected watershed damage well downstream. Fish spawning sites, wetland areas, and even private property can all potentially be effected. My son's father-in-law once responded to a ministry project gone wrong, where a dam to be breached instead was blown to kingdom come. The flash flood took out a highway. $$$ I'm sure Robin is a capable guy and everything, but Mr & Mrs Beaver probably just rolled their eyes at him as he paddled by.
 
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Brad you are right. And we got over it. And I the following year, finding Castor Canadensis had made too big a puddle for my truck, and with the blessing of WCPP personnel, gave the dam dam a good kick.

Beavers dam building instincts kick in when they hear running water. By then we are gone. It does make a difference if we are one or if we are a thousand.

Actually we never invoked the "caps Lock" rant.
 
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