Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The latest on our neighborhood beavers

Well they’re still out there alright, frolicking in the waters off Madison Park’s northern shore, blithely unaware that the City is rapidly moving towards a decision on whether to allow dredging within just a few yards of their snugly lodge located near the dock at the foot of 37th Avenue E. The Seattle Department of Planning & Development (DPD) reports that they expect to have a decision within two weeks on Broadmoor’s request to dredge the general area.

As we reported last month, the managers of the golf course say they need a less-obstructed water intake system for hydrating the grass during the summer months. Neighbors in the area of the beaver lodge worry about collateral damage to the beavers and other wildlife as a result of the proposed dredging. In particular, there was concern that the dredging operation would damage or destroy several suspected beaver tunnels that were thought to run underwater into the beaver lodge from the land near the dock (one of the tunnel entrances is shown below).

However, neighborhood activist Liz Brandzel notes that she has been told this by the DPD: "Biologists confirmed that beavers do not build tunnels from their lodge or from their dam to the shoreline. The dredging therefore would not affect the beavers in this way." The tunnels may, therefore, be the handiwork (or rather, the paw-work) of a different kind of rodent.

In any event, the public comment period on Broadmoor’s permit request has now ended, so the next opportunity for the public to be involved will occur when and if a dredging permit is granted. DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens tells me that a permit approval would be appealable for a period of two weeks. We’ve requested a copy of the permit decision when it’s issued and will be report what we know when we know it.
[Photo of beaver lodge by Dave Hutchins. Photo of beavers at play by Jana Wilkins. Photo of mystery tunnel by Bryan Tagas.]


  1. Noted Animal Behaviorist Will Lomen suggests that the mysterious tunnels belong to the water rats who took over Madison Park Beach a few summers ago. He postulates that since the rodents were evicted from "The Park" itself, and are bigger than Bryan Tagas' dogs, they may have moved north because of their similarity to their distant cousins, the McGilvra Beaver. When reminded that a beaver is a mammal and a water rat is a rodent Lomen acknowledged that point but noted that the two species don't have the intelligence to know the difference but they have formed an alliance for keeping the trash monitored around Madison Park garbage cans and dumpsters. This has caused an uproar in the neighborhood raccoon community and will be reported on by this blog in the near future as varmint and pest vacancies decrease and tunnel assessments increase.

  2. Lomen doesn't know what he's talking about. A beaver, also known as Castor Canadensis, is a large, nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent. That makes it a cuter relative of the Madison Park rat.

  3. Rodents are mammals, too. (So are we).


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