ORRINGTON, Maine — The colony of beavers on Swetts Pond Road who built the approximately 80-foot wide beaver dam that failed Friday night — in the same place a break occurred in 2001 — will soon be trapped, property owner Larry Pelletier told town selectmen Monday.
“It’s going to be a full-time job for the trapper,” he said. “There are a lot of beaver in there. It might be something we have to do every year.”
The beavers “will not be killed,” Town Manager Paul White stressed after the meeting. “They will be trapped” and then relocated.
The approximately 30-foot wide breach in the beaver dam temporarily wiped out Swetts Pond Road and a portion of the nearby railroad tracks, and early repair estimates put the cost at around a quarter million, White said.
Swetts Pond Road is expected to reopen by the end of the week, the town manager said.
The day after the flooding, Pelletier said, he started to work on removing portions of the beaver dam.
“I took it down this weekend and leveled it to the height of the water,” the landowner said. “The beavers have already started to work on that. I went down this morning and there were four beavers attacking that corner. I don’t think any beaver deceiver is going to work.”
A device called a “beaver deceiver,” which resembles a culvert that helps to regulate water levels, was installed after the last major flooding a decade ago, but over the years the beavers filled the device with sticks, rocks and mud.
“We watched the deceive start to fail and watched the water start to get higher,” Pelletier said.
There was a small breach at the beaver dam in October, and at that point Pelletier took a “proactive approach getting everybody together” including folks from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Warden Service, a wildlife biologist, and others “to come up with a solution,” the town manager said. “They’ve been leading [the discussion] and we’ve been listening.”
Since the beaver dam is located on the property of at least two, possibly three landowners, “the town’s hands have been tied,” and there was little that town leaders could do to fix the problem, White said.
Friday’s flood ruined any plans the Pelletier-led group had created.
“We all had plans to deal with this thing,” Pelletier said, adding later, “It just sucks it broke” before a solution was put in place.
During the meeting, resident Terry Pierson, White and each town councilor praised and thanked the fire and public works departments for their work during the flooding. White also made a pledge to whatever is needed to prevent another flood down the road.
“On behalf of the town, this need not, will not happen again,” White said. “Whatever we need to do, we will do.”