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Groups help mitigate beaver dam problems

Beaver dams in Lava Hot Springs have been causing problems for residents in the area. The one off Dempsey Creek, for example, has flooded nearby roads in the past.

To help with the beaver dam’s problems, the Watershed Guardians installed a pond leveler in the same pond as the dam. The leveler helps maintain the pond’s water at a set level, regardless of the beavers’ actions.

“We set the level of the pond by adjusting where (the leveler) sets in the dam,” said Mike Settel, executive director of the Watershed Guardians. “We’re actually using the structure the beaver created to help keep the level where we want it to be.”

While the priority was to help with flooding, maintaining the pond’s level does more. By raising the water level it increases the amount of groundwater recharge, provides flows in-stream and helps with wildlife habitat. Particularly giving more water for fish.

Having the leveler could even help with fighting fires, according to Settel.

“It’d be very convenient for a tanker truck to come into this area, drop their inlet hose and fill up their tankers without having to drive all the way back to town or somewhere else,” he said.

Another device they installed was a beaver deceiver, it helps prevent beavers from plugging up things like a culvert pipe.

The Watershed Guardians are currently working on similar projects in Inkom and southern Bannock County.

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