Friday, February 24, 2012

Beaver Management Project To Help Protect Parks, Public Safety

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation's Nature Preserves and Natural
Resources Division will soon begin wildlife management projects that
will focus on the reduction and removal of the beaver populations at
Beatty Park and Park Road Park. The purpose of these projects is to
prevent further damage to the numerous trees that surround the lakes,
to protect the trees surrounding Lake Pointe Hall (Beatty), and to
improve public safety. The projects will begin as early as March 2012.

Staff will address the issue by laying wire fencing around shoreline
trees to prevent further damage caused by beavers. In Beatty Park,
more than 50 trees have already been protected. As a last resort, the
County will hire a wildlife damage control agent to set up traps to
control the beaver, and captured beavers will be put down.

Beatty Park

A recent survey of the trees within 50 feet of the shoreline
surrounding the lake at Beatty Park yielded 196 hardwood trees (4
inches in diameter or larger) that had mild to fatal damage from
beavers removing the bark. Scores of trees were chewed so severely
that they have fallen or will fall within the next few weeks.
Additionally, innumerable smaller shrubs and saplings were cut down
along many sections of the shoreline, which places the banks in danger
of eroding due to loss of vegetation.

Park Road Park

Park Road Park does not have the same level of activity, but there is
currently significant damage to many of the shoreline shrubs and small
trees. As such, the department wants to proactively address the issue
before it gets out of control. Additionally, the beaver lodge is
located on a critical slope and removal will be necessary to ensure
the long-term soil stability of the earthen structure.

The North American beaver is our largest rodent species, with adults
reaching up to 4 feet long and weighing as much as 60 pounds. They can
live for up to 20 years and live throughout most of the United States.
Their primary food source is cambium, the soft tissue just below the
bark of many hardwood tree species.

Beavers are important members of our wildlife because they help build
wetlands, reduce stream erosion, increase biodiversity and,
ultimately, help create forests. Depending on the location and size of
the population, beavers are typically allowed to do their work
unmolested in many of our nature preserves and in some of our parks.
However, the extensive damage, concern for public safety and the
threat of building damage requires the removal of these specific
groups of beaver in Beatty Park and Park Road Park.

For more information, contact the Nature Preserves and Natural
Resources Division at 704.432.4531.