The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 29, 2014

Ask Us: Beaver dam destruction ratted out

Q: Twice a beaver has erected a dam in the wetland surrounded by Highway 22 and County Roads 82 and 83 on Mankato's southeastern corner, and a backhoe was brought in to rip it out. Why was this done? There are places to leave nature the way it is, and this wetland would be a good place for local science teachers to bring students.

A: Ask Us Guy's first suspect, when it comes to beaver dam removal, is the county ditch management office. Their job, after all, is to keep the water flowing so that land is properly drained.

"That's not county tile, so I had nothing to do with it," said Blue Earth County ditch manager Craig Austinson.

O.K., Stadium Road is just to the north of the wetland, and that's a county road, so maybe the county's Public Works Department was involved.

"It's a MnDOT pond," said Public Works Director Al Forsberg.

But when MnDOT spokeswoman Rebecca Arndt was called to verify that the state was responsible, Arndt said she didn't believe that was a MnDOT-controlled wetland.

Ask Us Guy knows what you're thinking: "Maybe that cat that's been ripping the head off of area bunnies decided to take on larger rodents, somehow got it's paws on a backhoe and ... ."

But, no, Arndt called back a few minutes later with the real answer.

"Tony DeSantiago confessed to removing the beaver dam," Arndt said of the regional highway maintenance supervisor. "What happened is beavers got in there and built a dam, and area residents requested we remove it out of concern that water would back up in their basements."

The reader was correct that the beavers didn't give up after the dam was removed the first time.

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