Beavers are really bringing people together in Natick. Three town groups—Natick’s Conservation Commission, Trails and Forest Stewardship Committee, and Open Space Advisory Committee—will unite for a town-wide beaver discussion on Wednesday, March 9 at 7pm
Update (3/11/22): Here’s the Natick Pegasus recording of the meeting:
“The impetus for the discussion is the impact beavers are having on the trails at Town Forest specifically,” says Claire Rundelli, Planner Conservation Agent, Natick Community and Economic Development. “The beaver dam within Little Jennings pond has caused such a backup of water it has flooded out a number of trail sections, including a portion of the main trail in Town Forest. It has also resulted in a bridge needing to be removed, as the high water levels had caused water to flow over the bridge which would have damaged the wood in the long-run if left in place.”
The discussion will take place in a public meeting due to the “sensitive nature of the possible solutions,” she says.
An expert in beaver management from Beaver Solutions is scheduled to present.
Solutions such as the flow devices used at Pickerel Pond and elsewhere locally, aren’t a good fit at the Town Forest. Other options would be to concede to the beavers and reroute the trails, or to trap the animals and put them down humanely (state law doesn’t allow relocating them).
“The Conservation Commission felt it was important to have the discussion in a way that the public could join in and offer opinions, as it is a big decision. We’ve included the Trails and Forest Stewardship and Open Space Advisory Committees to ensure that all relevant Town bodies are having a voice in the discussion as well,” Rundelli says.
Discussing the long-term viability of any solution is important given the number of dams in town, and due to considerations of whether some solutions would be impractical over time. Just because you get rid of today’s beavers doesn’t mean others won’t follow.
If you want to study up before zooming into the meeting, here’s a bunch of background material.
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