Res­i­dent seeks help against pesky beavers

State asked to solve beaver is­sue af­fect­ing Wal­dorf yard

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

Beavers are part of the county’s nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and have a big role to play in con­serv­ing land and cre­at­ing bal­ance in the nat­u­ral ecosys­tem.

But for Alice New­come, 83, of Pine­field, they have be­come a bit of a nui­sance. New­come’s Wal­dorf prop­erty sits right next to Mat­ta­woman Creek and has prop­erty that stretches di­rectly into the creek.

Her back­yard has a fence around it shield­ing it from the wa­ter. New­come said she nor­mally does not have any is­sues with the creek but, due to a beaver dam, the wa­ter has been backed up for weeks.

When it rains, she said, the wa­ter flows over the dam and al­le­vi­ates the is­sue for a bit. But when the rain stops, she said, “It rises up all over again.”

“This can be a real prob­lem. I need some­one to come out here and take care of it. I’ve called the county and no one seems to know what to do,” New­come said. “There is just so much stand­ing wa­ter and so many bugs around. With mos­qui­tos, that’s a big prob­lem. Es­pe­cially with that Zika go­ing around.”

New­come said she likes to in­vite peo­ple over to her house, but is afraid to do so be­cause of the po­ten­tial for wildlife and in­sects to be­come a bother.

Erin Pom­rekne, a spokes­woman for the Charles County gov­ern­ment, said the county can­not do any­thing with the dam be­cause it would re­quire a state per­mit to re­move the beavers from the area. Nor­mally when nui­sance an­i­mals are be­ing dealt with, she said, the state re­solves the is­sue.

The only way for per­mits to be ac­quired, Pom­rekne said, is from the state’s Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. And the county could not re­quest the per­mit them­selves, she said. It would have to be New­come who re­quests the per­mit.

Jay Ap­per­son, a spokesman for the Mary­land Deparm­tent of the En­vi­ron­ment, said, ac­cord­ing to MDE of­fi­cials, so long as there is no ma­chin­ery used in the process of re­mov­ing the dam, it can be taken down.

“We look at this the same way we look at de­bris re­moval,” Ap­per­son said. “So long as it is re­moved by ei­ther hand or land, and no ma­chin­ery or equip­ment is used in the stream, the dam is able to be re­moved.”

And al­though the depart­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment does deal with wildlife is­sues, he said, the state’s Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources nor­mally will tend to any nui­sance is­sues deal­ing with wildlife.

New­come said be­fore she even at­tempts to re­move the dam her­self, she will need help. As an 83-year-old woman turn­ing 84 in No­vem­ber, she said, there are not many peo­ple for her to call upon. Most of the res­i­dents who live in the area are older and there are not many “teenagers or young peo­ple” to help, she noted.

“I don’t have any teenagers here. Most of the ones in the neigh­bor­hood moved away,” New­come said. “I don’t have much help.”

Ap­per­son said the depart­ment does not re­move wildlife from their habi­tats de­spite nui­sance com­plaints, but the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources does.

The Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has a state wildlife nui­sance hot­line res­i­dents across the state can call that will re­move any nui­sance wildlife safely for both par­ties.

New­come said she called the line and will have of­fi­cials come out to help her some­time this week. But hav­ing to go through the hassle is a bit much for her, she said.

“I’m just glad I’ll fi­nally have it done,” she said.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL SYKES II

Alice New­come, 83, has an is­sue with a beaver dam, pic­tured left, in Mat­ta­woman Creek flood­ing her back­yard, right, af­ter too much wa­ter buildup. New­come has been seek­ing help from the county gov­ern­ment.

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