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Old 11-15-2016, 08:16 AM   #1
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Default Devastating damage to the lake

Near the intersection of Routes 11 and 11-D in West Alton there is a set of culverts that run under Route 11 and Loon Cove Road. These culverts drain water from a back "swamp" area into Love Cove on Winnipesaukee. For several years now there has been a beaver dam on the west side of the Route 11 culvert. Yesterday the highway department decided it was time to take out the beaver dam. So the geniuses decided to rip it out all at once. Well there was a huge volume of water behind it in the swamp. It caused a huge torrent of water to flow into the lake. In that water was logs, branches, debris, mud, dirt, lots of nutrients from horse farm and leaves. It was devastating to watch all of that crap flowing several hundreds of yards into the lake. What was once a beautiful sandy area for swimming (both for land owners and anchorers) is now covered in a thick layer of mud/dirt as far as the eye can see.

I was devastated, as I am one of the land owners so I went down to town hall. They told be to talk to highway dept. Yeah the same guys that laughed when I came up to them while they were doing it - no thanks. So I called Concord - DES. They said definitely there was a better way to do it but it was legal for them to do. I said that if a land owner did the same thing they would be quartered and strung up. He did say that he was coming to the area today and would take a look at it. All that will come out of that is a strong warning to Highway Dept to not do that again.

I doubt there is anything I (we) can do but vent, so thank you all for that. Unless anyone out there (shore things?) has a better idea. I would love to get them to clean it up (dredging?) but that would never happen. I just known that a couple of years from now the whole area will be filled with grasses and weeds. AND IT DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN!!!!!
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:35 AM   #2
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Have the "offending" beavers been relocated or otherwise removed? If not, the beavers will rebuild, and will do it quickly. Was it the state DOT or the town of Alton highway department?

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Old 11-15-2016, 09:08 AM   #3
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Trucks said DOT but I just assumed it was Alton Highway Dept
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:23 AM   #4
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My grandfather owned a place on Farmington Rd when I was a kid. I spent nearly every summer weekend there until I was 11 or 12. This creates a conflict for me. I want to be up front and state that I will need to abstain from any Department action on this. That said, send me a private message and I will fill you in on who to file your complaint with and how to do it. In the meantime, I will bring this thread to their attention.
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveo View Post
Trucks said DOT but I just assumed it was Alton Highway Dept
If trucks were orange and had DOT on them they were most likely state. Alton trucks usually say Alton Highway on them. Rte 11 is a state maintained road I believe, at least in that section.
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:20 AM   #6
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If trucks were orange and had DOT on them they were most likely state. Alton trucks usually say Alton Highway on them. Rte 11 is a state maintained road I believe, at least in that section.
Agree that it was probably not a town truck. A call to the Alton Highway dept would clear that up.
http://alton.nh.gov/government/highway-department

If it was a town truck, the place to complain is the Board of Selectmen.
selectmen@alton.nh.gov
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:26 AM   #7
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That sucks...At one point I almost bought the cottage on Loon Cove Rd that wraps around into the cove. I would be pissed!
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Old 11-15-2016, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Trucks said DOT but I just assumed it was Alton Highway Dept
Alton highway Dept trucks all have the Town of Alton seal on their cab doors, just an FYI. 😊

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Old 11-15-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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A picture is worth a thousand words.
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Old 11-15-2016, 02:06 PM   #10
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Amazing isn't it? If you so much as added a post to your dock, placed a stake in the water or added some sand to your beach the DES would be at your door with assault rifles and armored vehicles.
Yet the state can dump anything they want in the lake with no repercussions
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Old 11-15-2016, 02:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveo View Post
Near the intersection of Routes 11 and 11-D in West Alton there is a set of culverts that run under Route 11 and Loon Cove Road. These culverts drain water from a back "swamp" area into Love Cove on Winnipesaukee. For several years now there has been a beaver dam on the west side of the Route 11 culvert. Yesterday the highway department decided it was time to take out the beaver dam. So the geniuses decided to rip it out all at once. Well there was a huge volume of water behind it in the swamp. It caused a huge torrent of water to flow into the lake. In that water was logs, branches, debris, mud, dirt, lots of nutrients from horse farm and leaves. It was devastating to watch all of that crap flowing several hundreds of yards into the lake. What was once a beautiful sandy area for swimming (both for land owners and anchorers) is now covered in a thick layer of mud/dirt as far as the eye can see.

I was devastated, as I am one of the land owners so I went down to town hall. They told be to talk to highway dept. Yeah the same guys that laughed when I came up to them while they were doing it - no thanks. So I called Concord - DES. They said definitely there was a better way to do it but it was legal for them to do. I said that if a land owner did the same thing they would be quartered and strung up. He did say that he was coming to the area today and would take a look at it. All that will come out of that is a strong warning to Highway Dept to not do that again.

I doubt there is anything I (we) can do but vent, so thank you all for that. Unless anyone out there (shore things?) has a better idea. I would love to get them to clean it up (dredging?) but that would never happen. I just known that a couple of years from now the whole area will be filled with grasses and weeds. AND IT DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN!!!!!

A brief filing period for bills for the upcoming legislative session started yesterday, ends 3:00 pm, Friday, December 2nd. If you think legislation to have DOT do such work only after consulting with the local conservation commission or DES, you should contact your state rep right away. If you're from Alton, that's Rep. Valerie Fraser at 744-0107. NH Lakes Assoc. is often interested in this type of issue. www.NHLAKES.org
Chairman of the House Resources Committee is Rep. Chris Christensen, 424-2542.
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Old 11-15-2016, 02:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SAMIAM View Post
Amazing isn't it? If you so much as added a post to your dock, placed a stake in the water or added some sand to your beach the DES would be at your door with assault rifles and armored vehicles.
Yet the state can dump anything they want in the lake with no repercussions
What may result in a determination that the action was legal is not that it may have been done by a state agency, it is that there are special provisions for beaver dam removal in the laws governing Fish and Game.

210:9 Protection of Beaver.
I. No person shall destroy or disturb or interfere in any manner with the dams or houses of beaver, without first obtaining a special permit from the executive director.
II. Notwithstanding paragraph I or any other provision of law or rule of the executive director or the department of environmental services, a landowner, the landowner's agent, or any town or municipal or state official or employee, may destroy beaver, remove beaver dams, or install beaver pipes or beaver fences on property under their control to protect property, public highways, or bridges from damage or submersion. Dam removal shall be allowed without a permit under RSA 482-A if machinery does not enter the water and filling or dredging in or adjacent to surface water, wetlands, or their banks does not occur. Removal shall be done in a gradual manner that does not allow a sudden release of impounded water so as to cause erosion, siltation, or a safety hazard downstream.
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shore things View Post
What may result in a determination that the action was legal is not that it may have been done by a state agency, it is that there are special provisions for beaver dam removal in the laws governing Fish and Game.

210:9 Protection of Beaver.
I. No person shall destroy or disturb or interfere in any manner with the dams or houses of beaver, without first obtaining a special permit from the executive director.
II. Notwithstanding paragraph I or any other provision of law or rule of the executive director or the department of environmental services, a landowner, the landowner's agent, or any town or municipal or state official or employee, may destroy beaver, remove beaver dams, or install beaver pipes or beaver fences on property under their control to protect property, public highways, or bridges from damage or submersion. Dam removal shall be allowed without a permit under RSA 482-A if machinery does not enter the water and filling or dredging in or adjacent to surface water, wetlands, or their banks does not occur. Removal shall be done in a gradual manner that does not allow a sudden release of impounded water so as to cause erosion, siltation, or a safety hazard downstream.
Highlight the important part...
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:55 PM   #14
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Default Don't create damage downstream

Quote:
removal shall be done in a gradual manner that does not allow a sudden release of impounded water so as to cause erosion, siltation, or a safety hazard downstream.
exactly!!!!!!
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:57 PM   #15
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Default Exactly

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Have the "offending" beavers been relocated or otherwise removed? If not, the beavers will rebuild, and will do it quickly. Was it the state DOT or the town of Alton highway department?

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You are right Dave,

I went down and looked at the culvert and yes they removed all the dam in front of the culvert but left significant amounts of the dam inside the culvert. It will be rebuilt in no time. Stupid!
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:05 PM   #16
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Default Dept of Transporation, not Alton.

Dave was right again, it was DoT not Alton Highway department. I can't believe anyone that lived in Alton could be so callous. So it was others that could care less about our town or lake. Also the reaction of the workers was classic. When I went up to them (admittedly screaming) what are you doing, explaining you could have done this is such a way as to not pollute the lake. All I heard back was laughter, "it was the beavers man not us". And then when I was walking away one of them said "have a nice day sir"

ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:20 PM   #17
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Default Beavers

Oh well sometimes nature creates problems for or against us. Live with it
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Old 11-15-2016, 06:37 PM   #18
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"Drain the swamp"...seems like I've heard that a lot lately.
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #19
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Default Let's see

Can we get some pictures, please?
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Old 11-18-2016, 08:01 PM   #20
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Default Pictures of damage

Hard to show the true damage but here are a couple of pictures:
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #21
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Default Thanks for photos

Thanks for photos. Still curious to see what the (former) dam looks like now. Is access to the docks/boathouse(?) diminished (allowing for the already low water level? ou earlier mentioned a lot of debris from the dam. Is hatin the lake or just along the brook?
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:57 AM   #22
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Default Beaver dam now

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Originally Posted by Descant View Post
Thanks for photos. Still curious to see what the (former) dam looks like now. Is access to the docks/boathouse(?) diminished (allowing for the already low water level? ou earlier mentioned a lot of debris from the dam. Is hatin the lake or just along the brook?
Thia was taken Friday 18th. The beaver have already started back:
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:22 AM   #23
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Could be a good spot to install anti-beaver culvert baffles? The US Forest Service has info on this ..... just google "anti-beaver culvert baffles" ....... goal to keep the water flowing. How to outsmart the beavers!
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:23 AM   #24
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Default Who knows besides Forum?

Thanks for the photos.
OP mentioned earlier that somebody from DES was supposed to look into this. Did s/he show up? Any feedback? How about the Alton Conservation Commission? Who put up the silt fence that's in the picture? Before or after DOT did the first dam removal?
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:36 PM   #25
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Good suggestion about the Conservation Commission.
http://alton.nh.gov/government/conservation-commission

The secretary is in Town Hall, 1st floor, 2nd door on left.
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:12 PM   #26
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Default For comparison

I took this sometime around 1998-1999. It gives an idea of normal lakebed conditions.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:09 PM   #27
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Default The Town Beavers

That is very sad news! How stupid could they be? I guess the answer is not too much stupider.
You are correct if anyone else did that they would be fined and sued by the state, but since it was Larry, Curly and Moe who did it that's OK. I would think that there would be some recourse, especially as it was the state who is responsible. I would call the environmental department Monday morning. It will need to be some property owner who is affected however. The Town of Alton should get involved also.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:38 PM   #28
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What a shame.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:43 PM   #29
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Lotta Hate on Beavers in this thread. Just sayin..:

Let's face it: Beavers want to build "Infrastructure"...That's Good........Right....... NB

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Old 11-21-2016, 08:02 AM   #30
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Default Roberts Cove beaver dam break

We had the same thing happen in Roberts Cove about 7 years ago in July. A 9 acre pond drained down the hill in a flash flood into the end of the cove & even went out into the broads. It was devastating to the cove. Covered the entire cove with 6 to 10 inches of muck, rocks, trees & all kinds of debris. The cove which used to be a beautiful sandy bottom has never recovered. We even have weeds starting to grow in the middle now. There was speculation that the land owner broke it to drain the land?? It uncovered a septic system right on the edge of the lake & almost took 2 cars into the lake which were parked right where it went across the Roberts Cove Rd. We had mucky water for the rest of the summer. We had to call the DES the next winter because every time we had rain it washed more debris down the hill & onto the ice. Disgusting!! They came out & made land owner clean up the broken dam debris at the top to prevent that from happening. I remember the conversation with them about their lack of concern about what this did to the cove & everyones property in that area. Un believable that they give individual lake front owners such a hard time but allow something like this to impact the lake! I wish I had some answers for you. Good luck!
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Old 11-21-2016, 03:44 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveo View Post
Near the intersection of Routes 11 and 11-D in West Alton there is a set of culverts that run under Route 11 and Loon Cove Road. These culverts drain water from a back "swamp" area into Love Cove on Winnipesaukee. For several years now there has been a beaver dam on the west side of the Route 11 culvert. Yesterday the highway department decided it was time to take out the beaver dam. So the geniuses decided to rip it out all at once. Well there was a huge volume of water behind it in the swamp. It caused a huge torrent of water to flow into the lake. In that water was logs, branches, debris, mud, dirt, lots of nutrients from horse farm and leaves. It was devastating to watch all of that crap flowing several hundreds of yards into the lake. What was once a beautiful sandy area for swimming (both for land owners and anchorers) is now covered in a thick layer of mud/dirt as far as the eye can see.

I was devastated, as I am one of the land owners so I went down to town hall. They told be to talk to highway dept. Yeah the same guys that laughed when I came up to them while they were doing it - no thanks. So I called Concord - DES. They said definitely there was a better way to do it but it was legal for them to do. I said that if a land owner did the same thing they would be quartered and strung up. He did say that he was coming to the area today and would take a look at it. All that will come out of that is a strong warning to Highway Dept to not do that again.

I doubt there is anything I (we) can do but vent, so thank you all for that. Unless anyone out there (shore things?) has a better idea. I would love to get them to clean it up (dredging?) but that would never happen. I just known that a couple of years from now the whole area will be filled with grasses and weeds. AND IT DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN!!!!!


Steveo,

I see no reason why you and your neighbors should endue a loss to the values of your waterfront properties as a result of carelessness and negligence on the part of the workers.

Clean Harbors or another company should be brought in by the offending agency, and remove by vacuum or other means the leaves, branches, and muck that flowed into the cove. This needs to commence immediately.

In the meantime, those property owners impacted should seek legal advice, and initiate a class action suit to recover your damages unless this situation is corrected.

Good luck.

Cobalt
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:01 PM   #32
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Clean Harbors or another company should be brought in by the offending agency, and remove by vacuum or other means the leaves, branches, and muck that flowed into the cove. This needs to commence immediately.


Cobalt

LMAO --- Good Luck with that one ! It's not an oil spill or hazardous waste ... it's all organic materials !!

.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:37 PM   #33
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Default Huh?

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LMAO --- Good Luck with that one ! It's not an oil spill or hazardous waste ... it's all organic materials !!

.
So is human waste and you wouldn't want that in your swim area!

In this instance I think Cobalt brings up a good point!

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Old 11-21-2016, 05:31 PM   #34
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I'm with Cobalt too. Punishment for those who harm the lake--whether they be individuals, government agencies or businesses--should be harsh. It's a magnificent resource that provides joy to so many. What those guys did is reprehensible.
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:00 PM   #35
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Default Taking action

I talked to Fish & Game today, as well as DES, and the Alton Conservation Commission, and did a little research on my own.

First, in addition to RSA 210:9 cited earlier by Shore Things, which describes beaver dam removal, there is 206:19 which makes non-compliance a violation with fines up to $1000. There is no administrative fine option such as DES has for various non-compliance issues. IMO, the goal of both agencies, when there is a problem, is to get things remediated, rather than just collecting fines. They agree. Such a violation/fine would have to be adjudicated, same as a speeding ticket. That is, somebody has to file an official complaint and take it to court where the judge would set the fine, if somebody is found guilty.

Next,I spoke to the Environmental Programs Administrator in the Wetlands Division at DES. He will check with his compliance people to see if somebody went to the site (as mentioned in an earlier post), and if so, what their findings were. At this point, I'm waiting for a return call.

Third, I contacted the Alton Conservation Commission. They are aware of the issue and it is on their meeting agenda for December 5, 2016. I would suggest Alto residents and/or property owners attend the meeting. If you are unable to attend, you should at least write a letter to them describing your interest and concerns. The chair is Ralph Bagley a long time resident. I suspect many of you know him. As a member of a commission, he generally cannot act independently, but he represents the Commission when they vote for particular action.

If remediation is called for, the Town of Alton with or through the Alton Conservation Commission would file a complaint to DES, and perhaps DOT (if they are the likely ative party; hasn't been confirmed yet. There seemed to be a question of town or state crew)). If appropriate, the agencies involved would bring the issue to the Attorney Generals office for further action. The State of NH self-insures, but it is similar to making a claim against an insurer if you suffer property damage.

There was some discussion about additional legislation that would require a permit or notification before removing a beaver dam. Possible, but it appears the NH House of Representatives in recent years has been trying to minimize new regulations and permits, etc. The bill filing deadline for the coming year is Friday, December 2 at 3:00 pm.
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:22 PM   #36
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Default Follow up

To follow up: DES called back today. Their compliance man was out to the site yesterday. Pictures now on file from him as well as from the OP, and OP's written complaint. They are looking at two sides of this, cause and what remediation can be done. It has been confirmed that a DOT crew breached the dam. DES is waiting for feedback from DOT as to how, why, authorization, etc.
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:32 PM   #37
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Default I have the answer

Someone was just trying to "Drain the Swamp".

But seriously, someone's butt should fry over this.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:04 PM   #38
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This is excellent news. The word "Remediation" however, intrigues me. That seems to mean.. restoring the Site to it's original condition. Remediation can be quite brutal..but happens often enough.

SO: I would take it that Remediation in this case would mean Restoring everything... from the damage to the lake... back up to the beaver dam...to "Original" condition.

SO: Who is going to rebuild the Beaver Dam..? Will the state..or whomever...be hiring Union Member Beavers to rebuild the dam? What if the grieving original dam building beavers are "Right To Work" beavers:...Or something. NB
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:08 PM   #39
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Beaver dams can be a big nuisance. We have one behind our home here in Massachusetts and the one thing I learned is beavers, while prolific dam builders, really aren't that good at it. The dam I'm talking about holds back about 5 acres of water to a depth of around 3 feet. Why do I say they are not very good at it? Because over the last 15 or so years the dam has breached catastrophically at least twice. Generally what happens is that a large long rainfall starts overflowing the dam. Being constructed mainly of sticks and mud, the dam eventually breaches and lets all the water out, usually in less than a day. So I'm thinking that although the workers definitely sped up the process, it would have happened eventually anyway. Now that said, a little preventative maintenance, such as clearing the dam as it's being built probably would prevent this from happening in the future. Also a beaver trapper could solve the problem long term. As far as cleaning up the refuse? I'm torn on that as it may do more damage than good.
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:33 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ITD View Post
Beaver dams can be a big nuisance. We have one behind our home here in Massachusetts and the one thing I learned is beavers, while prolific dam builders, really aren't that good at it. The dam I'm talking about holds back about 5 acres of water to a depth of around 3 feet. Why do I say they are not very good at it? Because over the last 15 or so years the dam has breached catastrophically at least twice. Generally what happens is that a large long rainfall starts overflowing the dam. Being constructed mainly of sticks and mud, the dam eventually breaches and lets all the water out, usually in less than a day. So I'm thinking that although the workers definitely sped up the process, it would have happened eventually anyway. Now that said, a little preventative maintenance, such as clearing the dam as it's being built probably would prevent this from happening in the future. Also a beaver trapper could solve the problem long term. As far as cleaning up the refuse? I'm torn on that as it may do more damage than good.



I have heard that Beaver Dams in some communities have turned building lots into wetlands (no longer suitable for building). I have also heard that some septic systems have been destroyed due to rising water levels near existing housing stock.

It would be nice if there was a simple solution to all of these problems without destroying the beavers, their dams and the environment.




.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:02 PM   #41
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Default Beaver meadow

Not too far away, we had a beaver pond. A nice enough pond, and it had been there long enough that all the trees had died and fallen. Of course, many stumps as the beaver had removed many trees. It actually looked like a pond, not a wetland with dead trees all over. This was in the middle of some conservation land, so no interference from roads, houses, etc. For whatever reasons, the beaver family left. The dam went away too, over time. Now there is a big "beaver meadow" in the middle of this parcel with a small brook. Very picturesque. Interesting to live in one place long enough to see the progression of nature.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:43 AM   #42
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Default Update?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Descant View Post
To follow up: DES called back today. Their compliance man was out to the site yesterday. Pictures now on file from him as well as from the OP, and OP's written complaint. They are looking at two sides of this, cause and what remediation can be done. It has been confirmed that a DOT crew breached the dam. DES is waiting for feedback from DOT as to how, why, authorization, etc.
Any updates on this? Looking at the area it doesn't appear that anything has been done to fix the mess.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:36 AM   #43
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Angry

I feel for this guy because I know what he's going through. I built a house in Mass that was within 200 feet of wetlands so I had to jump through hoops to get a building permit. I had to hire an Engineer, Geologist, Biologist, Hydraulogist, and every other gist wanted a piece of me. On top of that I had to build an elaborate drainage system, almost like a leech field, with tanks, pipes and stone for all the drains on the gutters of the house. No water from my property was allowed to drain directly into the wetlands without going through this drainage system first. It cost me an extra 10K just to pay for all these expert opinions into what kind of damage my building could cause to the wetlands and another 10K to implement it. Of course I had to surround my property with 1K worth of hay bails first.
The following year the electric company, which has it's high tension wires running right through the wetlands a little further up the street from me, came in and clear cut a path through the wetlands. They drove right through with it big machines and chain saws dropping trees and brush while just leaving it there to decay. And no hay bails anywhere. So, with steam coming out of my ears, I call the city to complain. I was told that they had an easement through the wetlands and they could do what ever they want in that easement.
The moral of the story is, the little guy is nobody and the guys with authority do what ever they want without recourse. Sorry but I had to get that off my chest after reading this.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:06 AM   #44
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Good news and bad news...

Good news is that the DoT has agreed to do a clean up (limited), removing some logs and some debris close to shore.

Bad news is they were going to go out there yesterday but with the weather the way it has been (and will be) has the Cove frozen in so it looks like it will have to wait until the spring which will present a whole new set of problems but it is all we have now.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:30 AM   #45
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On a lighter note, I never met a Beaver I didn't like.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:58 AM   #46
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Good news and bad news...

Good news is that the DoT has agreed to do a clean up (limited), removing some logs and some debris close to shore.

Bad news is they were going to go out there yesterday but with the weather the way it has been (and will be) has the Cove frozen in so it looks like it will have to wait until the spring which will present a whole new set of problems but it is all we have now.
Thank you for the update. It is unfortunate that the limited clean up wasn't given a higher priority since winter was coming. Also to bad that they are going to do anything about all the crap/debris I saw in the water
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:13 AM   #47
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So to summarize:

Inappropriate measures were taken to protect the outflow of a beaver dam that needed to be removed.

The problem, IE the beaver was never permanently removed.

Everyone involved appears to play ignorant, nothing will happen to either the guys who did this, or since it seems abuntantly clear the two goons on site were incapable of making a judgement call their supervisor should be scolded. But in today's day - nobody can get fired in fact all of them will probably get a punishment of a two week paid vacation - no wait I mean be put on "administrative paid leave".

In the mean time the beaver who is hard at work will just build a new dam and the situation will go back to the way it originally was.

Yup our tax dollars hard at work. Brilliant.....
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