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February 6, 2013 -  3:10 pm

Kitsap County, North Kitsap Trails, Olympic Property Group, Pope ResourcesIt’s called the Beaver Deceiver, and it has nothing to do with any trick plays that Oregon might run against Oregon State during football season.

Instead, it’s an in-water flow device made of wire and wood that prevents beavers from building dams that block culverts and potentially damage property. Kitsap County’s newest Beaver Deceiver was installed recently in the Grovers Creek watershed in north Kitsap County after some industrious resident beavers continually blocked a culvert and created a nearly two-acre pond that threatened to wash out trails and a logging road that is heavily used by hikers, bikers and by Olympic Property Group.

Beavers are plentiful in north Kitsap County and can be found in nearly any area that has lakes, streams or wetlands.

This particular dam site is located on Pope Resources’ land near the White Horse Golf Course, just south of the town of Kingston. The area is adjacent to North Kitsap Heritage Park and the roads and trails are heavily used by hikers, runners, cyclists and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The original two-foot culvert was replaced in 2011 with a six-foot culvert that carried the water under the road. However, the beavers have repeatedly plugged the new culvert, causing water to wash over the road. The resulting erosion created a safety hazard as well as threatened to destroy the road.

The situation was expensive as well as destructive and dangerous. The cost to replace the original culvert with the larger pipe was $10,500. Additionally, the new culvert had to be unplugged three times at a cost of $500. OPG contracted with Absolute Nuisance Wildlife to trap and relocate the persistent critters, but to no avail. The state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife has restricted the release of beavers in alternate sites at this time due to high beaver populations in the state. So relocation of the beavers wasn’t an option.

Enter the Beaver Deceiver. After crews removed a 10-foot plug from the culvert, a group of community volunteers led by Evan Stoll quickly stepped in to install the Beaver Deceiver. The trapezoid-shaped fence structure prevents the beavers from building a dam directly in the culvert, thereby enabling water to continue to flow under the road. Yet it also enables beavers to maintain a habitat in the watershed. The installation was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be maintained by volunteers from the North Kitsap Trails Association and the North Kitsap Heritage Park Stewardship Committee.

In theory, the new Beaver Deceiver will enable man and beast to co-exist peacefully in north Kitsap County. Of course, time will tell.

 

 

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~ Jon Rose, President
Olympic Property Group
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