View Full Version : Beaver Dams

12-01-2008, 02:09 PM
On a 200 acre plus farm that I own in east central Kansas there is a small creek that meanders through the farm for probably three quarters of a mile. On one side of the creek is all farmland and on the other is a mixture of pasture and timber. I have noticed flying over it the past couple of months something that I thought was a beaver dam. Now I see that their are approximately 5 small beaver dams across the creek at various locations. This creek, at it's widest might be 30 feet. I haven't had a chance to actually set foot on the farm for a couple of months but plan to inspect it within the next couple of weeks. My question to you guys here, are these dams good or bad? Anybody with first hand experience with beaver dams, do they do damage or are good for the enviroment?


12-01-2008, 02:36 PM
I have a beaver dam next to a field I'm farming. They used corn stalks to make it so that is bad in my opinion since I lost some yield. After awhile they will build a dam that will flood the adjoining field---that is bad for me also.

12-01-2008, 02:41 PM
Depends, if there is free flowing water they are natureís own sedimentation basins so that silt drops out above the dam and water flowing over the dam gets a little more oxygen imparted into it. With a series of damns what you have is essentially a little sequential batch reactor to add benefit to the stream with. The down side comes if the little beasts are clear cutting the stream bank for their food supply and second if there is not much flow the overall water quality in the stream can degrade due to concentrated animal waste and debris in the water.

Also, if this creek recharges an aquifer that supplies any domestic wells take serious care because those flat tailed builders pack some serious bugs in their poop.

12-01-2008, 02:57 PM
They ruin the foam in my boat dock and leave sharp pointed stumps along the bank, easy cure if you hunt em at night. Hows the real estate market in KS?

12-01-2008, 03:29 PM
I have never found anything good about a beaver dam. My only wish is that I knew somewhere I could buy dynamite to get rid of them rather than using a backhoe and excavator.

12-01-2008, 03:47 PM
If left there long enough, it can create a wetland (real or not), but try convincing some bunny hugger and Fish and Wildlife that it wasnt there 2 years ago. Take no prisoners and get rid of it.

mike mcs repair
12-01-2008, 04:04 PM
some book about a trooper up here in the 50's-60 had a neat cure... put plastic pipe(s) through a dam extending up and down stream some ways of dam and ending underwater both ends.... something like that...... forget exactly....

still remember the sign on the AKN highway by king salmon "beavers 6 state 0" as the kept blowing up the beaver dam............

12-01-2008, 05:43 PM
good for wetland, ducks fish etc. bad for anything you want dry.

It will not stop.

If you want some dams, ok, but do not let the buggers multiply unchecked or the entire area will be flooded in a couple of years

12-01-2008, 07:17 PM
Have some beavers at my airstrip. Industrious little buggers. Fortunately for me the neighbors us pstream complain about the skeeters and cellar flooding, so the states been breaking it up once a year lately. They have been trying to encourage local trappers to get em . So far not much luck.

12-01-2008, 08:10 PM
n my neck of the woods the Federal Game Ranger will come and take care of them if you call him. Around the lake he spotlights them out of a small boat and booms um with a smallbore so he wont wake everybody up.

12-01-2008, 08:26 PM
Many years ago, I ran a custom irrigation system for a bunch of ranchers in SE Idaho, by blowing beaver dams at times specified by rancher complaints. Being a brand newly certified wildlife kinda guy, it occurred to me that if I trapped and/or killed the offending beasts, I could "solve" the problem.

Problem was, I didn't really understand the problem. The problem was that in spring, without the beavers, the high meadows took forever to dry out, meaning the cows couldn't be moved up to the high meadows till late.

The beavers, being the industrious little guys that they are, dammed up the streams into the high meadows, allowing the high meadows to dry out early. The cows went onto the meadows, and good grazing was had by all.

But, then the meadows dryed up later in summer. So, that's when "Fish and Game Guy" got the call to go blast the little buggers outta there. So, I'd go up and set some charges, blow the dams and flood irrigate the meadows. Fresh grass grew well, and the cows went back in the meadows for the next grazing session.

I suggested to one of the ranchers that I'd go up and kill those beavers, and he dang near had me strung up as a heretic. "How the hell would the meadows get dried out in spring and irrigated in the summer without those beavers, you moron????"

So, job security being what it is.....I continued with the periodic blasting program, which was kinda fun anyway.

We had a significant problem with highway culverts, though, and I used Bangalore Torpedos to take out the upstream ends of the plugs the beavers made in those. Unfortunately, I ruined a culvert or two with a little too much explosive, and not set quite as far in as need be.

Beavers--ya gotta love the little guys. They will cut down every tree within a mile, drag it to the creek and build a monster dam in a week. They are good.

Dead is the only thing that will prevent recurrence of any problems they might cause.

On the other hand, I've fished some just plain dynamite little beaver ponds in the high country, that were great trout habitat, so don't discount their ability to make habitat.

Depends on what else you need or want in the neighborhood.


12-01-2008, 08:39 PM

What I've seen is that beavers will colonize an area, slowly transforming the area into a series of ponds. The ponds will fill up with fish, and they make a great spot to take friends, kids, grandkids, etc.

The ponds gradually fill up with silt, the suitable trees are eaten (or they die due to wet roots), and the beavers move on. What's left behind is a a series of terraced meadows.

The dams eventually fail, and the stream cuts a a new path through the meadows. I've watched this cycle several times, and it takes roughly 15 - 25 years to play out.


Gary Reeves
12-01-2008, 11:36 PM
Apparently you need to have some wolverines. Nature controls nature.


12-02-2008, 12:10 AM
Iím not an expert in ecology but we had the little buggers on the farm several years ago. Kill Ďem, KILL ĎEM ALL! Even if there is one sole beaver left they can still multiply like rats. Havenít quite figured out the mechanics to that but itís true.

Turn the neighbor kid loose with your high powered rifle and several boxes of shells. Promptly restock supply of bullets when they run low. Take him for a few airplane rides and keep him happy. Your beaver problem will soon be fixed.


12-02-2008, 03:18 AM

There is no animal that can change the landscape like a beaver. If you don't mind some natural ponds on your property let them be beavers. If you want to save the trees and are not interested in some new duck hunting ponds have a local trapper take them out.

If you wanting some added animal habitat those beaver dams can last for decades.


Steve N
12-02-2008, 04:10 AM
We had a small creek about 8 feet wide meandering through the farm. Beavers moved in flooded 40 acres. Two cases of dynamite 200 rounds with AK-47, beavers won ruined the whole place for hunting and farming. Kill them early.
good Luck.

12-02-2008, 09:33 AM
I agree with the "GET RID OF 'EM" mentality. My property is inside of a state forest and there is NO way I'll ever get rid of all the beaver around my place. They breed like rats, they get kicked out and move on to new areas. They flood my fields and even my driveway if I don't keep a constant vigil and keep them fed a constant diet of flying lead. I have gone as far as putting up a shooting stand over one pond just for moving target practice. 50-200 yard moving head shots are a blast!!:) I have dispatched 15-20 every spring within a few hundred yards of my house and they never stop coming. I have to dig out the culvert nearly everyday in the spring otherwise I wouldn't get in my driveway.
Oh, they make good bear bait also.....at least that is what I have been told.

12-02-2008, 10:23 AM
On our mountain property in Colorado, you cannot build a pond without a heavy dose of permitting and governmental intervention. However, we don't have to permit the beavers, and they build great trout ponds. For us, the beavers have been very good for fishing.

One man's pest is another man's hero. If you do wipe them out, at least try to get a hat out of it.

12-02-2008, 11:14 AM
If you don't care about farming and like duck hunting, they are good. If you want to get rid of them, we'll send you down some Minnesota timberwolves, they can do a fair job on killing them. I've seen in the winter where they've torn a house apart to get at the beavers and by the blood on the ice they must have succeeded. What everyone else said about multiplying is true. Decision time is now, if you wait till spring when they hatch you'll have twice as many. They claim they are good eating.

12-02-2008, 11:42 AM
They claim they are good eating.

Let us know how it is. :crazyeyes:

Mathew Sharp
12-02-2008, 12:49 PM
I saw this a while back, a quick seach seems to point to being an authentic dialogue between a land owner and the state of Michigan regarding Beaver dams. I had a good chuckle over it.

Reply to:
GRAND RAPIDS MI 49503-2341
INTERNET: http://www.deq.state.mi us
December 17, 1997

Mr. Ryan DeVries
2088 Dagget
Pierson, MI 49339

Dear Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023-1 T11N, R10W, Sec. 20, Montcalm Count-,),

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent
unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity: Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files show that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301,. Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially, failed during a recent rain event, causing debris dams and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 1998. Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff.

Failure to comply with this request, or any further unauthorized activity on the site, may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division
cc: LWMD, Lansing
Pierson Township
Lieutenant Mary C. Sherzer, DNR LED


Stephen and Rosalind Tvedten
2530 Hayes Street
Marne, MI 49435-9751
616-677-1262 Fax

David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division
Grand Rapids District Office
State Office Bldg., 6th Floor
350 Ottawa, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2341

Dear Mr. Price:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20; Montcalm County

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.

First of all, Mr. Ryan DeVries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan - I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, nor authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris". I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated. My first concern is - aren't the dam beavers entitled to dam legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said dam representation - so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names. If you want the dam stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition - contact the dam beavers - but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter -- being unable to read English) - be sure you read them their dam Miranda first. As for me, I am not going to cause more dam flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers - be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this dam State - I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy - or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond. So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and there will be no dam way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem; bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!)

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.


Stephen L.Tvedten

xc: PETA

12-02-2008, 03:29 PM
superchamp wrote:
They claim they are good eating.

Let us know how it is.

We probably shouldn't get going on the beaver eating topic :D

12-02-2008, 05:12 PM
We had a small creek about 8 feet wide meandering through the farm. Beavers moved in flooded 40 acres. Two cases of dynamite 200 rounds with AK-47, beavers won ruined the whole place for hunting and farming. Kill them early.
good Luck.
Where did you buy the dynamite PLEASE?

12-02-2008, 05:15 PM
We had a small creek about 8 feet wide meandering through the farm. Beavers moved in flooded 40 acres. Two cases of dynamite 200 rounds with AK-47, beavers won ruined the whole place for hunting and farming. Kill them early.
good Luck.
Where did you buy the dynamite PLEASE?

www.terroristsupply.com :o

Steve N
12-02-2008, 07:48 PM
I lived in Minnesota at the time and the local sherif gave me a permit and I bought it over the counter up in Hibbing where the mines and well drillers got it. this was before 911.

Jay Wieler
12-02-2008, 08:41 PM

Thanks for the laugh! That was dam good.

brown bear
12-02-2008, 09:33 PM
You have gotten a lot of good advice but you best keep it to yourself if you do the dam busting thing .
KANSAS has a law , statue 32-1015, that says you can not destroy their dam.
Kansas wildlife and parks can get you together with a pest control agent.
I myself like the 17 caliber rim-fire
DW :snipersmile:

12-02-2008, 10:00 PM
Sometimes when it rains the dams just wash out and float downstream, act of nature.

I was asked the other day how much you were going to spot everybody on the takeoff & landing contest next Memorial Day weekend, they said something about your wings being illegal. I'm afraid you may hurt the turnout if you don't sop them something, what do you think is fair?


brown bear
12-02-2008, 10:28 PM
I think it was more luck than anything !
However I have been reading about all the new cubs being built with slats, and now carbon fiber wings and slats and I am starting to think my luck has run out! :(
See you Memorial day if not before

high time cub
12-03-2008, 08:57 AM

high time cub
12-03-2008, 09:50 AM
Hi Pat,

When it comes to beaver dams, you must keep a sense of humor.....

For temporary relief, place a small portable radio near the dam (a car battery will run it for a month).

If you place some photos of John Jacob Astor around the dam, the beavers will be gone in no time!