Beavers Force Tree Removal Along Durango’s Animas River Trail – The Durango Herald

Parks and Recreation cut down three poplar trees that were in danger of falling

Beavers chewed through three cottonwood trees along the Animas River Trail, forcing City of Durango Parks and Recreation Department staff to cut down and remove the trees Monday. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends wrapping hardware cloth, sturdy wire mesh, or electric fencing around the base of trees to prevent damage from beavers. (Courtesy of the City of Durango)

Move over graffiti artists, the city of Durango has a new set of misfits.

Parks and Recreation sent crews Monday to remove three cottonwood trees along the Animas River Trail after beavers chewed through the trees and left them on the verge of falling.

“Parks and Recreation viewed (the trees) as a hazard and sent crews to cut down the (damaged) ones so they wouldn’t fall onto the trail,” said city spokesman Tom Sluis.

The beavers chewed through much of the cottonwood trees, but staff members were able to catch the trees before any of them fell, said Scott McClain, assistant parks manager for Durango.

The city typically wraps wire mesh around the base of trees along the river bank to protect them from beavers, but Parks and Recreation staff members had removed the mesh from trees after the trees began to grow in thread.

“They had taken out the wire mesh to replace it and hadn’t come back to put a new mesh back there,” McClain said.

Beavers chewed through three cottonwood trees along the Animas River Trail, forcing City of Durango Parks and Recreation Department staff to cut down and remove the trees Monday. Beavers are found along rivers in southwest Colorado, said John Livingston, spokesman for CPW’s southwest region. (Adobe Stock)

Rumors have swirled on social media about Colorado Parks and Wildlife removing and killing beavers, but the agency aims to leave the animals alone and only removes and relocates beavers on rare occasions, said John Livingston, CPW Southwest Region Spokesperson.

“Beavers are part of the landscape and they can be very beneficial, but they can be a bit destructive,” he said. “We are not going to kill beavers under any circumstances. It’s not something we do.

Counties and local municipalities will often set aside money to hire government trappers to remove beavers and other animals in the event of a conflict, but CPW sticks to relocation and education, a- he declared.

Although CPW uses relocation as a tool, the agency rarely uses it.

“The timing of beaver relocation can be tricky,” Livingston said. “What we tend to do is recommend to landowners ways to keep beavers from chewing on their trees. We always tend to teach the public how to live with wildlife, instead of just trying to solve a problem.

CPW recommends wrapping hardware cloth, strong wire mesh, or electric fencing around the base of trees to prevent damage from beavers.

Durango Parks and Recreation staff members removed wire mesh protecting trees from beavers along the Animas River Trail after the trees began to grow into the wire. Beavers began chewing on the trees before staff members could replace the wire netting. (Courtesy of the City of Durango)

The agency’s website also highlights a sand and paint concoction to ward off beavers. Homeowners and land managers can mix 5 ounces of mason’s sand with 1 quart of exterior latex paint and spread the mixture over the bottom 3½ feet of trees.

La Plata County spokesman Ted Holteen said the county has no involvement with beavers along the Animas River.

Although it may seem odd to have beavers in the city, Livingston said they live along rivers throughout the region.

“The Animas River, the Dolores River, the Piedra River all have beavers,” he said. “…We have a lot of good beaver habitat all over Colorado, but certainly here in the southwest as well.”

CPW doesn’t have a population estimate for how many beavers live along the Animas, but Livingston said it’s not uncommon for beavers to appear along the river and in other places. other water bodies in the Durango region.

The three beaver damaged trees along the Animas River Trail will not be lost.

Instead of going to beaver dams and lodges, they’ll go to the city’s mulch pile, which is then distributed to the public for landscaping in the summer, McClain said.

As for the beavers, Parks and Recreation plans to keep its eyes peeled for further damage. If beavers continue to gnaw trees, the ministry will seek to trap and relocate beavers.

“We’ll continue to monitor it, and if it looks like we’re going to continue to have a problem, then that’s probably where we’ll go next,” McClain said.

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