One year on, no resolution in sight for beaver dam breached in Bow
|Published: 10-14-2023 4:00 PM
It’s been close to a year since the beavers were killed and their dam was breached in Bow, but the matter remains unresolved, continuing to stir emotions among the residents.
Just a few weeks back, there was another instance of human intervention at the drained pond adjacent to homes on Page Road, Pepin Drive and Pine Crest Drive.
Logs were placed within the impoundment to encourage water back into the pond, disregarding the select board’s previous request not to disturb the impoundment.
“The earlier directive was don’t touch anything. The town will do everything. We were going to maintain the breached dam,” Select Board members Bruce Marshall and Chris Nicolopolous said at September’s meeting.
Aside from the occasional appearance of wooden pieces placed by town residents to restore the pond and the gradual greening of the previously barren mud pit, the situation has remained relatively unchanged.
“The residents and others want the pond back, but we don’t want to look at restoring the pond before we look at whether the bridge needs to be modified,” said Sandy Crystall, who serves as both the chair of the Conservation Commission and a member of the Beaver Dam Subcommittee.
In October of last year, the Bow Pioneers Snowmobile Club, with the authorization of Town Manager David Stack, removed the beaver dam on town-owned land to prevent potential flooding of the wooden bridge running alongside the pond. This bridge is an essential trail access point for snowmobile riders.
The club made the decision to remove the dam after their efforts to regulate the water level in the pond using flow devices proved unsuccessful over several years.
However, this action deeply upset the neighboring residents.
For many years, they cherished the pond as a spot for observing wildlife and teaching their children about frogs, turtles and ducks. Even during winter, the frozen pond used to transform into their communal ice skating rink. What some considered to be nature’s pesky engineers was far from a nuisance for the neighbors, as the pond they created made their properties more valuable.
Now, the Beaver Dam Subcommittee is working with a wetland scientist to conduct a thorough land survey aimed at determining the ideal bridge elevation. This approach seeks to prevent future complications while also ensuring the beavers living in the pond are not compromised. They are also working on a draft policy to manage beaver dams in town.
“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.