Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Protestors lay foundation for beavers to rebuild dam in Haskell Wetlands

June 2, 2010


A group of animal rights advocates laid a foundation of rocks, brush and logs Wednesday in an area of the Haskell/Baker Wetlands recently cleared by Douglas County Public Works.

The group hopes beavers will use the foundation to rebuild dams before the water level drops because of the summer weather.

“We are trying to encourage the beavers to rebuild this year rather than next year,” said Mike Caron, executive director of Save the Wakarusa Wetlands.

Caron said laying a rock base and plenty of logs would give beavers the “opportunity to get a dam built soon enough to catch the last of the spring rain.”

Crews removed a beaver dam from a culvert underneath 31st Street on May 21. This caused water levels to drop significantly in the northern half of the wetlands.

“Without that, this thing would dry up like a mud-flat all summer long,” Caron said.

He believes the dam was removed because the land underneath 31st Street “has about 12 inches of sand under it and was never intended for the traffic that’s on here.”

Keith Browning, Douglas County’s director of Public Works, has said the high water levels caused by the beaver dam could have created problems for 31st Street. He said he was concerned about the water seeping into the road’s sub-base, which would have caused large-scale pavement failures on the road.

The land is partly owned by Haskell Indian Nations University and Baker University. Students lined 31st Street to protest after the county removed the dam, but Caron and his group of 15 volunteers is determined to help the beavers in the wetlands.

“Here we have this wonderful treasure, and we have to do everything we can to protect it,” said volunteer Judy Carmen.

Douglas County officials said they’re not looking for a confrontation with the protesters, but they’ll make sure the water can still flow through that part of the wetlands.


Kyle Miller 7 years, 11 months ago

And I hope to god the Public Works comes right back and removes it all again!

Blessed4x 7 years, 11 months ago

Just let me know when and where and I'll be there to help.

whatadrag 7 years, 11 months ago

could we simply just remove the collected materials

riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago

With a few hours of excavator work this group could easily establish a small wetland there that wouldn't encroach on the right-of-way.

skinny 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree, Douglas County Public works need to go tear it down again and this time site or have arrested anyone who interferes.

LogicMan 7 years, 11 months ago

Pictures? If they've intentionally blocked the drain, they've possibly already committed a crime. Vandalism of public property?

Sunflower_Girl 7 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence = Bigot City? It's an OP Wannabe for sure. I bet the First Nations people speak your language a lot better than you speak theirs. There was a time when a compromise would have been reached - like the suggestion of a creation of another wetland area away from the road. Greedy people. Why don't you just pave your yards and heat up the earth a little more. Silk flowers don't require dirt. Rayon flowers don't require worms. And while you are at it, why don't you re-route the stream so it's convenient for you? Because, after all, it's all for your convenience.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Now let's be civil here and not act like kids and start throwing insults..

hurlingchunks 7 years, 11 months ago

I have t-shirts for sale. Get your Dam beaver shirt wile supplies last.

Blessed4x 7 years, 11 months ago

Holy crap, I think I about spewed coffee on my keyboard. You print 'em and I'll buy 'em.

Michael Stanclift 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder what the Beavers think about all this.

Nash45 7 years, 11 months ago

Beavers are rodents. That sad excuse for a wetlands area looks terrible and is nothing more than a mosquito pit. If you want to see a real wetland, look up Cheyenne Bottoms.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 11 months ago


The so-called "wetlands" is a man made health and public welfare danger.

It should be filled in and a proper one created from scratch in a proper area.

George_Braziller 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, It will become a mosquito pit now. Drain it and all that's left is sludge because everything that ate the larve has been driven away. It's like spraying for aphids but just killing the ladybugs and praying mantis that would normally keep them under control.

Jean1183 7 years, 11 months ago

Better still..........use the tasers then arrest them.

kernal 7 years, 11 months ago

It's pretty obvious these well meaning folks didn't think this out or do adequate, if any, research before they "donated supplies" to the beavers. Sunflower Girl, your immature rant isn't going to get you where you want to be with this situaton. Rayon flowers indeed!

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

it's great to see that the uneducated are back spewing garbage. apparently one can get away with threatening harm to federal lands as was done last week and the higher ups have no issue with it. Keep screaming fire in a crowded theatre and eventually someone who crossed the line already will realize that nothing will be done unless the potential victims say something about it. So much for the "Fighting Words" part of incitement to violence in the First Amendment. FYI to the dumb people; Haskell's property line goes to the mythical line of theft known as 32nd street where sellout academics have made deals with KDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to potentially create a flyway for the thoughtless. Thus the area in question is Haskell land with a right of way granted by the federal government back in the 1960's. Maybe Haskell and the BIA should revoke the right of way to teach a lesson. Show respect or deal with the consequences. Removal of the right of way has been offered as a carrot before in potential deals. May be it should be removed to make an example of all of this bad behavior.

heatherstorm1 7 years, 11 months ago

They are wasting tax payers money, arrest them.

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

oh to hear dumb and pointless comments

Armored_One 7 years, 11 months ago

If the land 30th street rest on is actually Haskell land, then maybe THEY should foot the bill for repairing and maintaining it, instead of the county?

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

Beaver fever run amuck.

It's just stagnate water, a road, unused land and a rodent.

Nobody wants his cause near as bad as he wants to talk about his cause. (Will Rogers, true caucasion/cherokee american)

mdrndgtl 7 years, 11 months ago

Great job, Caron. Those beavers just played you hard. I saw a group the other day taking bets they could get you to build their dens as well.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 11 months ago

'they paved paradise and put up a parking lot'

I admire Mr. Caron for holding firm to his belief.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

Have you been down 31st Street? There are a few dams visible from the road. I don't think the beavers are hurting at all. Look at all the small trees they have chewed down. Seems like a lot of drama. How 'bout you save it for your Mama!

CLARKKENT 7 years, 11 months ago




oldvet 7 years, 11 months ago

So now we have a fake beaver dam to support the fake wetlands...

yankeevet 7 years, 11 months ago

I support the wascally beavers; especially the wet ones..................

Joe Hyde 7 years, 11 months ago

I was unaware that the large pool of water lying north of 31st St. was backed up by a beaver dam that was plugging a road culvert. To my eyes, that pool was very pretty, and always it was interesting to glance at as I drove past -- lots of ducks, geese, and many other migratory birds. I also appreciated that pool being there because you could so easily see it from the road, whereas on the south side of 31st St. the main Wetlands tends to be concealed by tall perimeter vegetation (which is okay, too).

In terms of actual 31st St. road usage there's probably no way to tally the number of Haskell students and staff, plus the non-school affiliated Indian citizens living in and around Lawrence, who drive on East 31st St. on a regular basis. I can only guess that a fair number of Indian citizens do in fact use East 31st St., and they would all be significantly inconvenienced if that section of roadway ever collapsed or got washed out entirely due to saturation of the roadway's supporting subgrade.

When a beaver dam plugs the culvert, surface runoff backs up and water laps high against the road's north shoulder. In effect, the beaver plug turns a long section of East 31st St. into a lake dam. Which would be fine...IF East 31st St.'s subgrade had originally been built with a watertight clay core and other safety devices similar to the specifications used in building lake dams or high-stress river levees. But it wasn't

Since the East 31st St. road does not conform to lake dam or levee specs, care must be taken to keep water from lying high against the road shoulders for extended periods of time. The south side Wetlands achieves this protection of 31st St. by means of drains that let excess water escape the Wetlands into the Wakarusa River. But for the north side of the street, the only remedy is that culvert, the one that the beavers naturally want to plug up.

The solution for the north side activity is to reduce that area's attractiveness to beavers either by routinely unplugging the culvert whenever the animals close it off, or by installing a number of new culverts under 31st St. More culverts will rapidly drain off the north side's inflow, preventing a pool from forming there.

Neither action will harm the beavers. Once the north side lacks a pool of water deep enough to swim in they will again limit most of their activities to the main Wetlands area south of 31st St. This does not deprive the beavers. They can still get their city ya-ya's out by traveling up Naismith Creek into areas north of W. 27th St., where in a single night's work they can girdle or fell trees in creekside backyards owned by white people. (For a beaver, it doesn't get any better than that.)

seriouscat 7 years, 11 months ago

At first I was just amused by childishness of the beaver activists, but upon refletion, I have come to empathize with their POV somewhat.

Seems to me that we could've been spared all this drama if the city officials had had some foresite and communicated with the people in the area that this action was necessary. Why not go to the community leaders and tell them the situation and offer an opportunity tp relocate the beavers, before ripping down the habitat and leaving the beavers, who are a beloved community fixture, homelss next to a busy road where they are likely to get hit while searching for a new place to live?

Two words: communication and cooperation. This whole all or nothing us vs them mentality is ridiculous and childish.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Serious cat makes this a serious thread!

notajayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

"Two words: communication and cooperation."

Three words: Twenty year lawsuit

somebodynew 7 years, 11 months ago

Well seriouscat you may not live in, or been in Lawrence long. The problem with your two words "communication and cooperation" do NOT go hand in hand around here. I am quite positive that if they had communicated their plans ahead of time, there would have been a big demonstration and to get anything done would have required law enforcement intervention and a lot of weeping and crying and gnashing of teeth.

And just why should the County be required to notify "someone" (who knows whom) when they want to perform needed maintenence on a county owned area????

And Please, leaving the beavers homeleww next to a busy road???? Who built the dam in the first place - the beavers and right next to a busy road. Something tells me they know how to live next to a road since they built the dam thing. And homeless ?? They had to build it to have a home, and I would guess it is not the first beaver dam destroyed, either by nature or man, so I think you are the one being ridiculous and childish.

seriouscat 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah! Well i'mrubberandyourglue! and you are a bad person because we disagree!


I suspect that you are correct that communication and cooperation are a tough sell in Lawrence, KS. It is a pretty tough sell wherever you go actually. But at least for PR purposes they could have said that they tried to work with people in the area to relocate the beloved beavers in a mutually beneficial manner. Maybe if the beaver people were faced with a 'it's getting ripped out either way so if you want to do something about your neighborhood mascot you have x number of days to get it done', they would've done the whole silly dam building thing this article is about beforehand and we could've all been spared the drama. Maybe.

Instead the city came in with and ripped out a habitat with no warning or plan whatsoever regarding the animals.

People get attached to animal habitats in their communities. They are fun to have around and observe and there's nothing irrational or ridiculous about caring about them and wanting them to be safe.

By being heavy handed about it instead of diplomatic, the public works dept made themselves out to be a**holes, and now the anger and tears and teeth gnashing is less silly and more justified.

somebodynew 7 years, 11 months ago

NO, I am sorry if you thought I was calling you a bad person. I believe people can disagree about things and still respect them. I have no doubt that you believe in what you posted, and that is a valid perspective.

I have seen how things work around here tho, and disagree that it would have worked. And it does not neccessarily involve the wetlands. People tied themselves to trees to try to prevent the Riverfront Mall and later the camper at Borders in the tree. That is just how this community is. If you let them know, there will be some kind of protest and cause a big, ugly scene. And (being the skeptic that I am) I highly doubt that this group would have done anything for the beavers, other than protest and interfere with what appears to be a routine maintenence problem. I just don't get the outcry. Animals adapt - that is why they have survived. The beavers will relocate on their own and will save the future expenses (and outcry) down the road.

Yod don't agree. That is fine, I don't judge you by your opinion on a topic.

seriouscat 7 years, 11 months ago

No worries somebodynew. I just jump on people whenever they take the ad hominem approach, but you also had valid points.

You are right that I am fairly new to Lawrence. And as far as the beavers's just too bad that the environmental activism stuff in Lawrence has to be represented by people who are the least rational and realist and therefore no one takes any of them seriously. It makes for a lot of missed opportunities.

somebodynew 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, I am sorry, I need to change my style of writing I guess. You are not the first to accuse me of ad hominem attacks. I really don't mean to come off that way, I just disagree sometimes. Now, if I comment on Smitty those accusations might be correct.

And here you have a VERY valid point. I am not against environtal action and would support it more, but at least in this town you have to be extreme or you don't count. I just can't deal with that.

seriouscat 7 years, 11 months ago

It's cool dude. It's easy to fall into the default LJW posting style.

I think people are getting tired of the extremes in all mediums!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Whatever became of the Save the Stump gal? This kinda thing is right up her alley.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

I find beaver fascinating. We are kindred souls. I also need roads. 31st street is the only bypass for the bottleneck of 23rd street. Are we at the level of discord that those in favor of beavers at the exact location where the “dam” was removed hold their fellow citizens in such disdain that they would condemn them to ten to twenty more minutes across town? Is there no compromise? Is it really beavers or roads or is there something else at work here?

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

"I find beaver fascinating."

Hey, cut that dirty talk, kids might be reading this.

Danimal 7 years, 11 months ago

That swamp has been the source of more division and angst than anything else (other than emo kids) in town.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

Well their last effort did not turn out so well. Wasting my car may not be the solution?

Georgine McHenry 7 years, 11 months ago

If a culvert is supposed to drain water, then why hasn't the Public Works Dept. (it would be the City) not cleaned out the concrete "culvert" in front of the E + E Building? It is so full of run off dirt that the trees are at least 15 feet tall now! Water doesn't drain very well through there. I personally enjoyed the beavers. Nature at it's finest. I thought the heron's were awesome to watch as were all the geese and ducks.
I heard though, that 31st street was put there relunctantly with Haskell's permission. I really hate to see this "pond" emptied but it would a terrible tragedy if the road bed gave way and people were injured or killed.

kansasmutt 7 years, 11 months ago

Yummy BBQ beaver tail, mmmmummm good. I say get em on the grill and have a huge beaver fest. All the beaver you can dive into and eat for free. Just watch out for that beaver hair, it,l get in your teath and youl never get it spit out. KC Masterpiece works best.

strateup 7 years, 11 months ago

First profanity ever used on television "Ward don't you think you were a little hard on the beaver last night?" Said by June Cleaver

bearded_gnome 7 years, 11 months ago

All-Natural BeaverRepel Eliminate Beavers From Your Property in 60 Seconds Flat!

^^ google ad on my page here!!!! LMAO!

fifteen huh? all either greenie wheenies who are really opposed to people driving anything at all, or racist indians who are really trying to "stick it to whitey [Caron perhaps?]."


the water build up there is because of the road, 3st. what habitat was it that was torn down?

yes, if there had been prior notice of this, the same tiny group of fifteen would be chaining themselves, blocking 31st, chanting, confronting the PW guys who would be simply trying to do their job.

I agree, the beavers won't have anything to do with the stuff these people dragged in there.

and finally: LJW, we have fifteen extreme nuts, they drag some slag and other cr*p out there, and this is supposed to be a news story?

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

nice to see that no one here is smart enough to really say anything smart. what would one expect when their history comes condensed in textbooks that justify land theft and genocide as part of American or immigrant exceptionalism. The pilgrims initially thought that the disappearance of the Wampanoag peoples due to smallpox was part of god's intervention to provide for the chosen people of god? It's nice to see that three centuries later the descendants of these thieves still act like nothing happened, nothing's wrong, and such little evolution has happened that I can hear the same manifest denial on these posters as I read about the pilgrim thieves in the 1620's. The sins still occur and the ignorance of these posters is the proof.

notajayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

"nice to see that no one here is smart enough to really say anything smart."

Or maybe you're just not bright enough to understand what they're saying, tuschie.

Clue: If you think YOU're the only one that understands and EVERYBODY else is wrong, maybe you need a serious reality check.

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

nothing here has anything to do with biology, ecology, land preservation, federal envirnmental law, or Indian law. Just a bunch of people making comments to incite reaction.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

All those are wonderful and some may actually apply. How about transportation planning, traffic control, majority rule, due process, law and the like. Do they count or only the hand picked topic you chose to list.

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