Under the best of circumstances, Wood Street, which runs alongside the Sudbury River, is prone to flood in a bad storm. Introduce a family of beavers, and the situation goes from bad to worse.
That’s exactly what’s happened. A Wood Street resident recently discovered beavers have built a dam inside a culvert that runs under the roadway, nearly blocking the flow of water from the wetlands on one side to the Sudbury River on the other. DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan said the pooled water caused by the blocked culvert is threatening neighboring homes and septic systems, and that means the beavers must go.
On Wednesday Galligan sought approval from the Board of Health to trap and destroy the beavers. While beavers are a protected species in Massachusetts, state law prohibits relocating trapped wildlife, so once captured the only option will be to kill the animals.
Galligan said she wishes there was an alternative. “I feel bad about it, but it’s just one of those things you have to do.”
The Board of Health, which under state law has the authority to grant emergency trapping permits, approved Galligan’s request. Once the beavers are removed, Galligan said the DPW will break down the dam. “If we break the dam down without removing the beavers, they will just build it up again,” she said.
According to Mass Wildlife, beaver populations have experienced “extreme growth” in recent years, but Galligan said the town has never before had to trap the animals.
“I know of two other spots that had dams, but the beavers went away before we had to deal with them,” she said. “This one is different because it’s impacting residents.”
The DPW installed temporary pipes in the culvert to keep water flowing under Wood Street until the beavers can be removed.