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Monroe Battles Beavers Before Hurricane Sandy's Arrival

The Public Works Department cleared out beaver dams so reduce the chances of flooding from the heavy rain in the forecast.

Beavers cause constant headaches for residents living near wetlands in town as dams built by the animals raise the water table downstream, causing flood damage in yards when waterways are backed up. Add the heavy rains anticipated from Hurricane Sandy into the mix and the problem is magnified.

Animal Control Officer Ed Risko joined Public Works Department crews in clearing dams and allowing water to flow in wetlands on Fan Hill Road, Garder Road, at Guskie Pond on Huntingtown Road and at the Rail Trail near Newtown — at Swamp Road and Main Street.

Risko said the sites are scheduled for another clean up and for exclusion devices — piping to allow water to flow through a dam — after next week's storm.

A four man Public Works crew used a backhoe and a dump truck to clear a culvert on Fan Hill Road on Wednesday and, at one point, Risko said a telephone pole was used as a battering ram to barge through a dam on Garder Road.

On Friday, Public Works Dir. Doug Arndt said his department is trying to lower the water table back to its natural levels before the storm hits.

"Our guys are out there one day, then the beavers are out there the next," Arndt said. "They're amazing creatures who are intent to raise the water table."

As beavers' babies grow older, they strike out on their own upstream, increasing the problem of flooded yards and damaged trees for homeowners along the way, according to Arndt.

Sandbags Are Ready

Arndt said town crews are trying to clear debris from all drainage areas throughout town in preparation for the hurricane — not just areas with beaver dams.

"We know where we've had flooding in the past," Arndt said. "We have sandbags stationed nearby. There's an area off Flint Ridge that we watch carefully. We have a pallet there if there's heavy rain."

Arndt said Monroe's "on the edge" of the storm, which can shift in one direction or another, but he anticipates heavy wind and rain.

"We're ready to do what we normally do, respond to downed trees and open the roads," Arndt said.

Public Works coordinates with police dispatch for reports of blocked roadways and with Connecticut Light & Power when wires are involved so power can be turned off allowing trees to be safely cut and removed.

"We try to work in conjunction with them to maximize the number of homes that we can get power back to," Arndt said, adding crews start where the power comes into town and work their way in.

A meeting of emergency responders, town department heads and CL&P was scheduled Friday from 3 to 4 p.m.

"Like any good team, we get together before we get going," Arndt said of the meeting.

Heidi Perryman October 28, 2012 at 04:20 PM
If Monroe is worried about obstructions in Sandy's path, it should realize that since their made of mud and sticks beaver dams will collapse on their own in surge conditions. Instead of spending time and tax payer dollars on back hoes and telephone pole battering rams, they should be cleaning up areas that are less easy to remove with natural forces: concrete and tires and human-generated debris. The beavers will rebuild and you'll need all your manpower hours for helping residents sandbag, shoveling drains, and unplugging sewers. You have several beaver management experts a stones throw away, invest in some flow devices so that you won't be worried about water height next winter. Heidi Perryman Worth A Dam www.martinezbeavers.org

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