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August 16, 2013

Beavers rile residents in Danvers neighborhood

DANVERS — Even after the town breached a large dam and hired a trapper to catch the beavers that built it, Brentwood Circle neighbors say they are concerned about flooding, mosquitoes, inundated sewers and more beaver dams.

Neighbors and town officials met last week to discuss the problem, centered in a somewhat remote neighborhood off Route 62, not far from Endicott Park. Beaver Brook runs through wetlands around much of the neighborhood.

Town officials said they’ll do what they can to address residents’ concerns, but the problem is not an easy fix.

“This year, there has been a very significant increase in beaver activity in the area behind the houses on Brentwood Circle, which is a 7.8-acre portion of wetland,” David Saunders, a neighborhood resident, wrote in a letter to town officials explaining the problem.

“We have never seen flooding as bad as it has been in June and July,” said Saunders, whose family has lived there since 1973.

With the water rising, town officials hired a licensed trapper, and the Department of Public Works partially removed the dam and set traps, Saunders wrote, adding that a “more permanent solution” is needed.

Saunders suggested the use of “beaver deceivers,” a system of large plastic pipes and mesh fences that would allow the water to flow and is hard for beavers to block. They are in use at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield.

Public Health Inspector Mark Carleo said that he made at least 15 visits this week to the area after neighbors contacted him. He had checked the area frequently, given the heavy rain in late spring and early summer.

Carleo said it was not until a couple of weeks after the heavy rain that beavers intensified their activity and built a large dam — and that’s when the water started to become a problem. Carleo said he cannot issue an emergency permit to remove a beaver dam and hire a trapper just because of concerns about possible flooding.

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