MONTROSE — Beaver activities, such as dam and lodge building, are widely hailed for improving water quality.
But in Montrose, village officials are ready for the furry rodents to take a break. That’s because their activities have plugged up the drain that enables the village to manage water levels at the village’s lake north of town. Village employee Bruce Fletcher said the lake’s water level has risen 2 feet in the past six months, causing flooding along the trail that runs east of the lake, as well as rising water all along the shoreline of the small lake that is a favorite spot for local fishermen.
“It’s been going on for a couple of years,” Fletcher said. “But it’s gotten to where we can’t unplug it ourselves anymore.”
The lake’s water level is normally managed through pipes that run underneath the dam at the north end of the lake. But beaver activity has clogged those pipes, causing the lake’s area to expand by as much as 15 feet in some places. So, volunteers have offered to dig out the drains from above and replace the existing corrugated pipe in an effort to remove the obstruction. Meanwhile, the beavers continue to build dams and lodges at several points on the lake.
Fletcher said catching the furry critters has become an exercise in futility.
“You catch the big ones, but their young migrate to the lake through the creeks,” he said.
Village President Carolyn Jansen said the village board isn’t sure what the final solution will be. “We’ve asked the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers to help, but they said it wasn’t their baby,” Jansen said. “They suggested we contact IDNR (Illinois Department of Natural Resources).