DPW’s Operations & Maintenance personnel joins DPW’s Environmental team for beaver dam home repairs

Pictured is the dam that two Ansbach resident beavers — Klaus and Sabine — have recently built. Here, Directorate of Public Works is in the process of installing a spillway for the beaver dam to prevent the pooling of water on the upstream side of the dam.

By Walter Christian Mattil, Director, USAG Ansbach DPW

ANSBACH, Germany (Feb. 23, 2017) — Beavers are very intelligent and adaptable creatures, and they are very good at doing many things.  Klaus and Sabine, our beavers living at Soldiers Lake, are no exception. But there are two things that beavers are exceptionally talented at doing: building beaver dams and having beaver babies!

To accomplish the latter, the beavers must construct the former. Upon completion, this dam will be their home. It is where they will live and raise their offspring in the following months.

You may not know much about beavers, but you probably know a thing or two about dams. Whenever a dam is constructed, a lake forms on the upstream side.  I’m certain we’d all like to see Soldiers Lake expand, but in this instance we have a problem: The location of their dam will flood the road leading to the Urlas/Shipton access control point.

To remedy this situation, Ansbach’s Directorate of Public Works is constructing a beaver dam spillway. This is a proven technique to prevent pooling of water on the upstream side of the dam,and it doesn’t seem to bother the beavers at all. Basically, a pipe is emplaced horizontally across the top of the dam. As a result, it permits excess water to drain from upstream and discharge downstream. In doing so, we can control the water on the upstream side of their dam but also preserve their home.

Beavers are also very territorial, and they need an adequate amount of land and trees to thrive. If any other beavers attempt to move into Soldiers Lake, they will be politely (or perhaps not-so-politely) asked to leave by Klaus and Sabine. Furthermore, after Sabine gives birth to their litter they will be forced to leave when they reach maturity. Klaus and Sabine will nip and bite them until they get the message — and venture out into the world in search of their new home, just like Klaus and Sabine did last summer.

Please use extreme caution and do not disturb or annoy the beavers. Of course they look very friendly, but they are wild animals.  They are also much larger than you think. When Sabine has her litter, she and Klaus will become extremely protective. Please enjoy our new residents … but enjoy them from afar.

Directorate of Public Works personnel install a spillway for a beaver dam at Soldiers Lake to prevent the pooling of water on the upstream side of the dam.

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