Vol. II No. 24 12/15/2021
Beavers and Bureaucrats
by John Hart
It's been months. The alert from a Stockbridge homeowner went out months ago about the rising water around their home. Beavers.
A solution was found over ten years ago when this first occurred. A beaver dam "control device" was installed, the water returned to its normal level, and all was good.
Now the water is back. Evidently the contract with the company that installed the device has lapsed. Being someone in town who pays attention to this stuff, I took a look. The beavers figured out how to make the "device" ineffective. They built their dam around and over it. The result? The rising water returned and flooded this homeowner's land again.
So the homeowners called the District One MA Highway Department and told them of the problem, that is, no one is maintaining the "device" on the west side of Rte. 7.
"No they haven't been aware of this." No results, no satisfaction.
They called their 'Commonwealth' Representative. Nada results.
Town Highway Department — not their jurisdiction.
Board of health — isn't currently a threat to their septic.
So, after their frustrating months I looked into it.
The beaver-defeating device was maintained twice annually for 10 plus(?) years and then maintenance stopped. Why? Although I serve on the Conservation Commission, I speak only for myself herein. I strongly suspect that the contract with the private company that installed and maintained the device lapsed, and no one pressed the "alarm" button — not the company, the Highway Department District One or Town Offices. No one knows about this issue anymore. Institutional memory gone... Poof! Yet there is imminent danger to a property owner.
Now someone wants a "STUDY"?! Are you kidding me? This was "studied" a decade ago! A solution was found, and it worked for years. Now no one remembers that; no one can find the contract, and no one is aware of the history.
We need help with enforcing maintenance clauses written into contracts made with private companies. This is just one example. There are other maintenance clauses put into place and then forgotten.
So, will this matter be resolved sooner or later? The actual time this needs to be done is now! We'll see. I only get to write in SU every 30 days so I'll keep you posted 30 days from now.
Prospect fox. Photo: Patrick White