By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – An ongoing issue that has repeatedly caused flooding and a washout on the T’Railway in the Dennis Pond area has been resolved. The culprits were six to seven beavers that were damming culverts along the trail. The beavers have since been relocated.
“Gotta love the beavers. So what we’ve done is, we’ve trapped the beavers and removed them, and the couple of new culverts that the town put in should alleviate and fix that problem,” said Jamie Warren, Executive Director of the Newfoundland T’Railways Council.
Work will continue on this section of the trail, and the T’Railways Council hopes to install beaver gates.
“We’re going to try to put some beaver gates, or guards on the culverts maybe this fall or next spring,” said Warren. “It prevents the beaver from putting the dam inside the culvert, which makes it easier to remove and to clean up after the fact.”
The beavers were removed within the past month, but Warren said that the area will continue to be monitored to see if any come back.
“It’s been an ongoing issue. So from my understanding is there’s no beavers left there now, and Parks will keep monitoring the site to make sure that the beavers do not come back. If they do, we’ll continue to track and remove the beaver washouts again.”
Beavers often cause problems along the provincial T’Railways.
“Beavers can cause some big problems for all the water crossings across the T’Railway, not just that one spot in particular,” confirmed Warren. “We’re always getting trappers to remove beavers and/or cleaning out culverts on a regular basis as we see them, or as we know that they are out there.”
Addressing the issue of flooding around the Dennis Pond area has been attempted multiple times in the past, with Channel-Port aux Basques assisting with the repairs.
“I know the town fixed it earlier in the spring for us – which is good to have town partners. And then it washed out again, and then it got fixed again, and then it started filling back up again, until we realized there was a number of active beavers, which had to get removed prior to fixing it. Because there’s not much point fixing it if you still got beavers in the area who are going to dam it off again,” explained Warren.
The T’Railways Council had previously brought in gravel to fix the washouts, though with the beavers now removed, this should not be necessary again.
“Now that we removed the beavers, we shouldn’t have to do anymore repairs there unless there’s something major, or something happens that we’re not aware about. But once the culverts are able to flow free and clear with water through there now, so that area shouldn’t wash out anymore or cause any grief. But it was pointless to try to keep putting stuff back there without dealing with the beavers, as it’s going to washout and flood out again, and washout and flood out again. It’s just a cycle,” said Warren. “We’ll keep monitoring it through Cheesman’s Park and staff. And if we see beaver activity, we’ll be able to kind of address that then.”
The cost of bringing in materials to fix a washout depends largely on what resources are available in the area, and how far repair crews would have to venture along the trail to get to the damage.
“It all depends on what’s around the local area. Sometimes you need an excavator, sometimes you don’t. There’s no real determination to say it’s going to cost this much or that much. It’s easy access from in that particular area, so it’s not a remote access where you’ve got to drive 30 kilometers up the track to do any work,” noted Warren.
Putting in a bridge to bypass the area isn’t a viable solution.
“It would be much cheaper to remove beavers, and keep culverts clear, than to build a bridge over it, because they’re just going to flood more, right? You’d want some high bridge. It’s much easier to keep the culverts flowing freely than it would be to try and build over them. It just becomes a management piece,” explained Warren.
The department will hear soon enough if the problem persists.
“People will say water is building up there again,” said Warren. “Beavers are always a concern for us because culverts are already pinch points for water, and whenever a beaver plugs one it creates issues for the trail.”