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Wellesley on alert as beavers return to town

Posted by Evan Allen  December 5, 2012 03:17 PM

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It looks like Wellesley’s beavers are back, and town officials have their fingers crossed that the animals are not planning to stay.

“We’re holding our breath that hopefully, we don’t have a new family moving in,” said Janet Bowser, Director of the town’s Natural Resources Commission.

Last year, she said, beavers built two dams in Fuller Brook, bordering Needham and the town’s Recycling and Disposal Facility. Their dams caused flooding, and the town had to have the beavers trapped and euthanized. It was the first time in the 15 years she has worked for the town, said Bowser, that beavers have caused problems – and officials were hoping that it was a one-time issue.

But Wellesley is a pretty nice town, so who can blame the beavers, really?

Department of Public Works employees have noticed some tree damage in the Longfellow Pond area within the past two weeks, said Bowser, that was undoubtedly caused by beavers. The Swellesley Report heard of the beavers' return, and has a picture of a chomped up tree.

Workers have strung mesh up around some of the other trees in the area, she said, to discourage the beavers.

So far, she said, there is no sign of any dams being built. Longfellow Pond, she said, is a little too deep for beavers – they like to build their dams in shallow waters. Plus, the beavers have not carted off the trees they’ve taken down – so they’re not using them to build.

Right now, said Bowser, the town is just keeping an eye out.

“Once you have them in an area, they do come back to mate,” she said.

Even if the beavers do start building dams in Wellesley, said Bowser, the town will only remove them if they prove damaging to the surrounding area.

“As long as there aren’t significant impacts to the environment, such as safety issues like flooding, we just leave them be,” said Bower. “It’s part of nature.”

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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