Beaver damage

Two trees by a US Highway 52 retention pond show evidence of beaver activity. (Ken Klotzbach/

Can it be true? A wild beast stalking Apache Mall? Has a beaver set up housekeeping in the U.S. Highway 52 pond west of the mall and actually cut down one of the trees? Thanks, wood chips flying. -- Leon

Can't a rodent cut down trees without it leading to a bunch of dam questions?

(I tried to resist the low-hanging dam puns, but like the beaver, I thought, “gnaw.”)

Yes, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials confirm that a beaver has indeed taken up residence in the highway runoff pond and has taken down a couple of trees. (That’s not the work of a sloppy maintenance crew with tiny axes.)

MnDOT gets a handful of reports of beavers building structures in and around MnDOT structures each year, said Mike Dougherty, MnDOT District 6 director of communications.

MnDOT maintenance crews will work with other agencies to trap and relocate beavers if they block needed drainage, divert water onto roadways or knock trees over roadways. MnDOT works with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers if a tiny corps of (beaver) engineers interferes with drainage infrastructure.

Because that pond is a water mitigation structure that collects runoff from the highway, this busy beaver is probably fine where it’s at. For now. MnDOT officials will keep an eye on this industrious rodent.

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