Beavers Move Into Cherry Brook, Flouting Stormwater Regs

Dam it!

This morning, the Owl put on her Weston Forest & Trail trustee hat (sadly, the Raiders hat has been retired temporarily while I try to get over Mr. Gruden’s failures as a human being) and headed out to an unnamed Conservation property on the northside. A report had surfaced that beavers were back along Cherry Brook and causing mayhem, which calls for CSI Owl – Conservation Situation Investigation.

Cherry Brook, as many residents know, runs through Weston from Wayland and then joins up with Stony Brook and Hobbs Brook and all three have a huge party before heading to the Charles River. It’s a very important town resource in terms of wetlands and wildlife. It also crosses at least three Conservation properties, depending on how you count them. Those who know the woods, bridges, and trails will probably guess where I am in this post, but I will counsel all y’all that you, as non-deputized CSI folks, need to stay on the trails and not bushwhack like I did this morning. Reason 1: ground hornets. Reason 2: ticks Reason 3: hunting season. Reason 4: Don’t be the subject of the next CSI Owl.

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Now, beavers are lovely beasts that benefit the environment in many ways. You can see this blog post on the town website about them, or you can check them out at the MassWildlife site. You may not want to know that last year a beaver couple was…how shall we say this?–re-homed to the happy hunting ground in the sky because they had chosen to build their fort in such a way that an upstream residential property on Cherry Brook was getting flooded. Let me emphasize that you cannot do this willy-nilly but Conservation permitting was necessary and then of course there’s the fact that the Owl will never speak to this resident again. They seem to be moving on okay with their lives anyway.

Suspicions of beaver activity were raised when the water was also raised around the so-called Troll Bridge. Yes, we’ve had a lot of rain, but not thaaaaaat much rain. At one point, the water covered the footings of the bridge. Hmmm. And then a wet spot on a more northern trail connection became impassable. And then it became clear, as Rees Tulloss, Conservation Commissioner said, “Houston, we have a beaver.” The trails are now bordered by water, and what was once a brook has become a wetland.

There is no word yet on whether the beaver or beavers have filed the appropriate Stormwater permitting documents. We do have regulations, you know. A check of the dam area this morning netted two ticks, a muddy brown WFTA K9 ranger, and no fuzzy residents to interview.

So, what to do? Well, since the current flooding does not affect residences (human residences–not sure how other beasties feel about their new pond–pretty well, I think since I saw a blue heron there last month), the Owl is hoping for tolerance. The current Conservation regime seems inclined to do the same. In fact, there are current conversations about how to raise the Troll Bridge so that the beaver can do its thing, and the humans can do theirs. Live and let live.

And that’s all for this edition of CSI Owl.

Brook or lake? Yes.


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