John Johnson Remembered

Deceiving the Beavers in Wenakeening Woods

by Paul Saulnier
April 17, 2016

Installed in December, 2014, the "deceiver" is moving lots of Spring runoff so now is a great time to go over and see for yourself. Enter off South Street across the street from Fatima Shrine.

Jonathan Briggs of CMMC (Central Mass Mosquito Control) starts the deceiving process by breaching the dam on Chicken Brook that the beavers have worked so hard to maintain over the last year.

Chicken Brook meanders through Holliston, crossing under Washington Street between Underwood and Oak Streets, under the rail trail between Cross and Summer streets, where it enters the 104 acre preserve owned by the Upper Charles Conservation Land Trust ( http://www.uppercharles.org/ ). Beavers have dammed up the brook near the Summer Street entrance to Wenakeening Woods, adjacent to 200 Summer Street (Wilde Company). The dam has raised the water level in yards upstream and flooded the footbridge from Mission Springs to the athletic fields.

CMMC is responsible for reducing or eliminating stagnant ponds that breed mosquitoes so installing beaver deceivers is a good fit for them to keep busy in the winter. CMMC recently completed the installation of a deceiver on Hopping Brook for the Conservation Commission and is considering constructing one in a beaver dam on a stream that runs between Mill and North Mill streets.

A beaver deceiver consists of several parts. The metal cage above shrouds the 15" pipe, keeping the inlet of the deceiver open and away from beavers eager to plug it up.

The cage is floated out into the pond and another section of pipe is added (above and below).

Sean Healy, above right, joins Jonathan Briggs in the deep end as other employees of CMMC push the completed beaver deceiver out into the pond.

When the floats are removed the cage and pipe sink and everything is held down with concrete blocks (above). The other end of the pipe is placed in the breached dam, with the high point of the pipe establishing the final level of the pond (below). Workers then put back most of the sticks and branches for the beavers to come in and finish the job of sealing the dam. But now no matter how high they build the dam, the water will remain at the level of the outlet pipe, which will also be covered with a cage to keep the beavers at bay.

The entire process was filmed for Heartbeat of Holliston to be aired in January, 2015, on HCAT. Above Mary Greendale interviews Katrina Proctor, Wetlands Program Manager for CMMC (http://www.cmmcp.org/).

 

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Comments (7)

This is a wonderful idea in solving the beaver problem ! To bad the Hopping Brook one is not working, the water level upstream is at an all time high....

- Ben Clarkson | 4/18/16 6:19 AM

Stan, Your Remington works but only until the next one moves in. The deceiver works for years. Set it and forget it.

- Paul Saulnier | 4/17/16 11:14 AM

A Remington .22 works pretty good too..

- Stan Coffin | 4/17/16 9:08 AM

Excellent work that will allow the beavers to remain and benefit your ponds for years to come. Technically this isn't a "beaver deceiver" which is a trademarked device used to protect culverts invented by Skip Lisle. I see your designs are Mike Callahan's "Pond Leveler" which is the right tool for what you need in this instance. People tend to use the term generically but it has a specific meaning. Have fun watching the wildlife that bloom at a healthy beaver pond! Heidi Perryman, Ph.D. Worth A Dam

- Heidi Perryman | 1/6/15 10:29 AM

So glad to see this approach being used.

- Laura | 12/26/14 10:43 PM

Great!

- Andrew Mades | 12/22/14 9:09 PM

Great article and description of how the deceiver works. Seems like a good balance between protecting the environment and the interests of abutters.

- Ted | 12/22/14 10:09 AM

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