Pecan Grove ( Pecan Grove and Senior Residence

May 3, 2008


Filed under: Pecan Farming — knewman @ 8:15 am

We’ve learned a lot we never wanted to know about beavers at the farm. The amount of destruction they can do is amazing. We have a 7 acre lake and a 2 acre pond on the farm. The following are some pictures of the beaver damage around the pond. Note that all pictures in this posting were taken in January and February 2008.

 Tree partly eaten by beavers by pond

This tree was partly eaten, but failed to fall over because of vines that tie it to other trees. The beavers must have some safety regulations that prevent them from eating more of a tree that doesn’t fall over when it should! Note the size of the wood chips, some larger than a quarter… enough to make a chain saw jealous.

Tree eaten by beavers

I’m told that beavers actually eat the wood of trees (not the bark) for their diet. Talk about a high fiber diet! They try to fall the trees into the pond, where they can dine without coming out of the water. In this case they’ve eaten the whole tree. In other cases we see trees that they only eat a small portion of… no idea why. Note the pile of branches to the right behind what’s left of this tree. That’s the entrance to the beaver’s house. They burrow a long tunnel into the bank which in this case is part of the earthen dam which creates the pond. The pile of brush hides the entrance to their tunnel. There are trees like these all around the pond… some with just the bark removed (they seem to want to kill the pine trees) to some that are just sharply pointed stumps.

It’s disconcerting to have wood eating critters on a farm with over 900 pecan trees!

This pond is in maps from the 1960’s. It was created by a long earthen dam with a cement spillway where the water exits the pond.

Man’s attempt to build a spillway

As you can see… the man-made spillway washed out. When it did the water cut down through the dam under the spillway, so the pond was gone. The beavers came to the rescue and built a beaver dam in the gap.

Angela standing on the beaver dam

Angela Opel is standing on the beaver dam. It is about 50 ft long and 15 ft high. It slopes very gently to the right from Angela, down to the creek bed. It is made of sticks and mud. The grass helps by putting roots down through the sticks and mud, holding it together. On the back side it has dried out nicely and is easy to walk on. Amazing to think that this could be built by a “dumb” animal.

Pond with beaver dam in the distance

So this is the pond that exists because of beavers. It was muddy when this was taken because of recent rain. The beaver dam is the area just above and slightly to the right of the center of the picture, where there is only grass… no bank.

The pond is full of fish!

Bass held by Ed and Kay Smalley

Ed and Kay Smalley (Ed manages NOV CTES).

Mike with bass

Mike Rosamond has the best luck of anyone so far.

Kenny and Ronda with bass

Ronda and Kenny practice false advertising… a lot of these bass were caught by Mike!

So… thanks to the beavers, we have a nice pond! We want to keep the beavers in check, so they don’t develop an appetite for pecan wood, but if we get rid of all of them the dam will disintegrate and we’ll loose the pond!

Now I’ll switch to the beavers in the lake. There is a broad creek area between the location for the Sr. Residence and the location of Dad and Mom’s house, that flows into the lake. The beavers have built a number of dams in this creek. In this case the beaver dams serve no useful purpose, and again they are eating a LOT of trees. So I decided to dig a hole through 3 of the dams to try and drain that area…

 Ken digging hole in beaver dam

A few days later… all holes had been patched! I repeated this fruitless effort a few times (I learn slow)… and finally gave up.

 Beaver damage by lake

Here’s some of the damage done by beavers in the wide creek bed beside the lake. 

So… we’ve been trapping and shooting (at) beavers in the lake.  The largest beaver trapped was 80 lb… we’re not too sure how many we’ve shot.  We’re trying to drain the lake down some to  work on the dam, but the beavers keep damming up the cut we’ve made to drain the lake down.  One good thing… the lake if full of hydrilla… we need to get rid of hydrilla.  Guess what the beavers use to dam  up the cut we’ve made?  A mixture of mud and hydrilla.  So now there’s a section of the lake near the cut with no hydrilla!

So far the score is humans 6, beavers 20… but we aren’t done yet.


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