David Dargie, land manager for the Andover Village Improvement Society, spent the afternoon of a bitter cold, windy day recently waist-deep in water, all in the name of conservation.
Dargie, along with AVIS Trustees Andy Girdwood and David Bunting, installed a "beaver deceiver" flow-through device in a beaver dam on the Hammond Reservation.
Flooding caused by the beaver dam was threatening the septic system of a nearby home as well as the Hammond and Mary French Reservations, said Fred Snell, AVIS president.
As land owner of the Hammond Reservation, AVIS had a 10-day special permit in December from Andover's Board of Health and Conservation Commission, allowing AVIS to breech the beaver dam.
The beaver deceiver's pipe, at 20 feet long with an 18-inch diameter, will carry water through the dam.
"Beavers are an important part of maintaining healthy wetlands in Massachusetts. Wetlands store water to help control flooding and provide water flow during droughts. They provide habitat for many birds, reptile and other animals and help filter the water to keep it clean. Recently, the beaver population has increased and has caused flooding in areas populated by humans, resulting in conflicts," wrote Snell in an email to the Townsman. "The beavers, by instinct, work to stop any water rushing through a breach in a dam, but cannot figure how to plug a pipe suspended in the water. (A beaver deceiver) provides a good compromise by controlling the water level while preserving the habitat for the beavers."
- Bethany Bray