Those pesky beavers seem to be intent on building dams wherever they see flowing water.
While their dam-building prowess can be a boon for storing valuable water in the backcountry, it sometimes makes a mess when water backs up around Idaho roads and potentially floods them.
To combat this problem, Idaho Transportation Department maintenance worker Gary Cvecich went into the shop and welded channel iron and rebar into 4-foot by 3-foot panels that bolt together to force space between the culvert and a dam-building beaver. The “beaver stops” were put in place on Idaho 75 south of Stanley and Highway 21 at Banner Summit west of Stanley and Idaho 128 north of Ketchum.
“Every time you have a body of water and it has to narrow down and flow through a culvert, (beavers) can really jam that up quickly,” said Reed Hollinshead, information specialist for the Idaho Transportation Department. “It seems to be attractive to the beavers. It provides a good foundation for them to build a dam.”
Cvecich’s design is made to be removable and easy to clean.
“The device can easily be attached to a trailer hitch or (backhoe) bucket to remove beaver dams easily, instantly saving time and labor,” Cvecich said. “Dimensions can be adapted to fit any size culvert.”
Hollinshead said the rebar fence allows water to continue to flow and creates space should a beaver get busy building dams next to the culvert.
So far, the system seems to be working.
“We’ve only had one incident where a beaver has tried to build after we installed these devices,” Cvecich said.
He said the devices could be adapted and used statewide and save road workers time and money.
“We don’t have too much beaver activity in the Boise area, but there seems to be issues in the Preston and American Falls areas,” Hollinshead said.