Wetland survey in Bow seeks to address beaver dam flooding concerns

The pond in back of Pine Crest Drive in Bow is now almost completely drained after a beaver dam was demolished last week.

The pond in back of Pine Crest Drive in Bow is now almost completely drained after a beaver dam was demolished last week. GEOFF FORESTER

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 11-03-2023 4:27 PM

Bow officials are trying to determine the ideal elevation for a snowmobile bridge on town-owned land that was getting flooded by a beaver pond before the water was drained last year.

The Bow Pioneers Snowmobile Club received permission from the town to trap and kill the beavers and remove debris the animals used to build their dam. The unannounced action led to a flood of complaints from surprised neighbors on Page Road, Pepin Drive, and Pine Crest Drive who wanted the pond and beavers to remain.

In an effort to restore the pond, the town’s Conservation Commission hired a wetland scientist to survey the area to identify historical water level markers and assess the elevations of the snowmobile bridge and connecting trails.

“The survey is to find out what’s the right bridge elevation and how constraining it is currently,” said Sandy Crystall, the chair of the Conservation Commission and member of the subcommittee to address beaver dam issues.

The surveyor, Mark Stevens, decided to bring his equipment and perform the tests during his area inspection. During last week’s select board meeting, members approved the survey and voted to allocate $500 for the work.

At a select board meeting in October, Bow Pioneers Club member Anthony Foote requested the return of pipes used to regulate the pond’s water level, which proved unsuccessful since the beavers consistently found ways to obstruct the pipes, rendering them ineffective.

He said that the pipes, owned and installed at the club’s expense, are required to address a problem at another location.

“We need the pipes to use at an actual location that is flooding right now to save us the $1,500 for the materials that we don’t have right now,” Foote said.

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However, the select board said that when a club or organization installs equipment or constructs on town-owned land, it becomes the property of the town.

While abutters and the Conservation Commission consider restoring the pond important, they are cautious not to rush, as they want to ensure a solution that won’t lead to a similar issue in the future.

“Even if we don’t do any restoration and the beavers come back, the bridge will still be in the same spot and likely cause the same problem,” explained Crystall.