FARMINGDALE — A population of pesky beavers on Northern Avenue could flood a section of the road if not removed quickly, town officials said Wednesday.

“The situation right there is getting worse every day,” Road Commissioner Steve Stratton said at Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “You’ve got a large beaver house above Northern Avenue and there are two or three dams.”

A beaver lodge is visible from a portion of Northern Avenue within a large wetland close to Cousins Lane. Nearby, two foundations are being installed on Cousins Lane, a short distance from wetland vegetation and trees that show signs of being gnawed on by beavers. Short trenches were dug to drain water from the construction sites toward the wetlands.

He has been clearing regularly a 24-inch culvert that the brook runs through under Northern Avenue, Stratton said, but the beavers keep clogging it up. He said they even reused the material that he has removed from the culvert to seal it back up.

Stratton expressed concern that the road could become flooded if the beavers were not relocated or discouraged from damming. The water level on Wednesday was about 6 feet lower than the crest of the road, but Stratton said levels could rise quickly if left unattended.

“Every time I unplug it, it goes nowhere,” he said at the meeting. “At the end of the month, I’m going to have to get a trapper in there.”

Farmingdale Animal Control Officer Andrew McKenna said Thursday that he was not aware of a beaver problem, but did say his position deals more with domestic animals unless the public is in imminent danger.

Instead of local animal control, responsibility would fall to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to determine the best way to combat the animals. DIF&W Biologist Keel Kemper said central Maine has been dealing with an “excess of beaver” for a number of years.

Selectman Jim Grant said beavers had been trapped in Farmingdale before, on Outlet Road. In the past, the town has used the service of Constable Greg Smith, who Grant said is an animal damage control officer certified by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

No formal motion was made at Wednesday’s meeting. Grant said Smith has to receive clearance from DIF&W and by any property owners affected before trapping animals.

“We’ve used his services several times over the years,” Grant said. “Because he’s been with the town for so long and his quick response times, we (go to) him whenever there is a problem.”

Kemper said beavers are a value species in their ecosystem because of their ability to modify habitats to benefit other animals, but an excess of beavers performing their duties could cause a problem in residential areas.

“When you have beavers showing up in inappropriate locations, you have to address that,” he said. “It’s always either flooding or taking down trees.”

Beavers respond to the sound of running water by damming, Kemper said, and see culverts as easy targets to stop water flow.

“Beavers just instinctively cannot stand the sound of running water,” he said. “They, of course, are creating that dam to create enough water depth to put in a house which they enter and exit underneath the water.”

Kemper said the department will trap and relocate beavers if the problem is caught early in the year. Beavers tend to lodge for long periods of time in the winter in their homes, so they need an appropriate amount of time to settle in a new area. If there is a problem later in the season — and the problem is severe enough — beavers could be killed and removed.

“If a beaver problem is in May, then that can be an appropriate time to trap a beaver and move him to another location, where he can live happily ever after,” Kemper said. “If you call me with that same problem in October, then live trapping isn’t viable because you don’t give the beaver enough time (to settle) before it freezes up.”

He was not aware of the specific problem in Farmingdale.

As hunting controls the deer population, there is a trapping season for beavers to help keep the number manageable. Beaver trapping season starts in Farmingdale — Wildlife Management District 22 — on Oct. 29 and runs until March 31.

“We try to take advantage of the trapping season because it’s efficient and it’s very cost-effective,” Kemper said. “Trappers like to trap, they make a little money off of it, but I haven’t seen any rich trappers.”

If a resident of any town experiences problems with beavers, he said, the most appropriate call would be to their district’s DIF&W biologist.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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