Clay County is getting help in controlling beaver and the damage they cause to county roads, bridges and forests, through the Mississippi Beaver Control Assistance Program.
The Clay County Board of Supervisors accepted participation in the program Wednesday at their board meeting. The program focuses on beaver trapping and the removal of beaver dams along county roads and state highways.
President of the Board Floyd McKee said beaver are out of control in the county and something has to be done about it.
“They’re really, really bad,” McKee said. “Pine Creek, Sun Creek and all those creeks back there are bad.”
All 82 counties in Mississippi are eligible for enrollment in the program that cost $6,000 for fiscal year 2011. The Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District, who will pay for the program, is responsible for the clean up of county roads and bridges and have had major trouble keeping beaver from building dams in those areas. Tombigbee, as well as the county, will save money by allowing the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to take on the project.
McKee said county residents, especially land owners, have had complaints about beaver destroying their property, but the program should help reduce the damage and allow the creeks to flow much better.
“People are very concerned about it because its destroying the timber land and they want them off their property,” McKee said. “It’ll let water drain a lot better down the creeks, and it’ll drain a lot quicker.”
District 4 Supervisor Shelton Deanes said landowners will save money as well once the programs begins and the beaver are under control.
“The more beaver you trap and dispose of, the less money they have to pay a private individual to get beavers off their property,” Deanes said.
In 2009, there were 250 reported incidents of beaver damage to timber and 575 reported incidents of beaver damage to roads in Mississippi, according to the USDA Forestry Service. Through the Beaver Assistance Program, almost $70 million for repairs to roads and bridges and the restoration of forests in Mississippi will be saved.
The program doesn’t begin until October, but in the mean time, Mississippi State Extension gives some tips on how to control beaver without a license or permit. First, people should try to trap the beavers themselves, which is the most common, effective and most affordable way to control beaver. Residents who have problems with beaver should call a skilled trapper, who would be able to remove all beaver in a pond in only a few days.
Next, they advise people to remove the dam and drain the water by using shovels, rakes or other hand tools. To keep beaver away from trees and shrubs, surround the trees and shrubs with hardwood cloth, woven wire another metal barrier at least four feet high.