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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beaver Dam Removed by SPU Workers at Thornton Creek Park 6

Beavers have taken up residence in Thornton Creek Park #6, near Northgate in the last year or two.

photo credit - Don MacCall

They have been the source of great fascination here, as they cleverly re-engineered a wetland habitat to their liking. It has transformed this under used park into a valuable "infiltration" site for stormwater, and a lovely pond. Unfortunately, there is disagreement amongst the various governmental entities about the status of beaver habitat.

Yesterday, SPU staff were seen chopping up the dam and didn't seem to realize they were on Park property.

Also, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife may have jurisdiction over this habitat area. They have a useful website entitled "Living with Wildlife"
It provides useful educational facts, history and how the beavers provide valuable services. Native American legend has it that it was the beavers who taught the salmon to jump! A number of trees in the park were cut by the beavers, and some were protected by citizens with cages. Some trees died, because of inundation by the waters.  But overall, the beavers were doing an amazing job of natural stormwater retention, which developers are now required to do with their permits. It can be argued that the beaver pond was providing excellent water quality benefits, which is one of the main missions of SPU.

If you are concerned about this issue, contact Seattle Public Utilities. SPU has spent millions of dollars on improving urban streams and needs to hear from you about your opinion on this matter.

This post from "In North Seattle"
Blog' by Marc Phillips

Cause of beaver attack shrouded in mystery


At around 3pm yesterday a truck with a Seattle Public Utilities logo was spotted at NE 106th St and 8th Ave NE, and a man in an orange vest was chopping at the center of the recently discovered beaver dam in the adjacent park. This is a newer beaver family (recently spotted with new babies) than the more established residents ofMeadowbrook Park in Wedgwood. A concerned neighbor approached the SPU employee to ask what was going on, and was told they were "lowering the water in the pond." When asked why, the SPU employee would not explain. In response, the resident contacted several neighbors and city officials, stating the following facts:
- This is totally useless, as the beavers will just plug it up over night.
- The water level was already dramatically lowered from just a few days ago, evidenced by the fact the beaver deceiver was clearly visible and there was a significant un-vegetated ring of mud around the pond. Neither were visible last week.
- It sets a horrible example for people in the neighborhood. Next time someone wants to "take back the park" and vandalize the dam, they will be able to say "I saw city personnel doing it, so it must be ok!"
- It destroys the rich habitat that the beavers have created with their pond.
- There is already a mechanism for the controlling the ponds water level, the beaver deceivers. If that is plugged, then clean it out and the water level will be lowered far longer then attacking the dam with an axe.
In response, Cheryl Eastberg, SPU/Parks Project Coordinator for Seattle Parks and Recreation stated that SPU management has been contacted and told this must stop immediately, acknowledging this activity "not only damages habitat that we value highly, but is also a bad example for others."
According to Andy Ryan, Media Relations Coordinator for SPU, the agency "does perform, under strict guidelines, work on beaver dams throughout the city, to reduce flood risk." In response to the resident's report, he stated, "We're having one of our managers go out to the dam at Park #6, to see if this week's work was in compliance with the guidelines."

Photo credit - Ruth Williams

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