Dam that’s a major piece of work

A widely-distributed article about the discovery of what’s probably the world’s largest beaver dam probably has thousands of landowners thinking “Glad it’s not on my place.”

Click here to read about the beaver dam about 2,700 feet long that was spotted via satellite in northern Canada. Scientists say the huge structure has probably been an on-going project for the large rodents since the 1970s.

In Kansas, and most other states, beavers are often cursed for the damage they do to private property. They’ve been known to feast on the bark of expensive ornamental trees in plush housing developments. They’ve also damned outlet structures on ponds and lakes that have led to flooding of roads and yards after rains.

At our farm beavers digging dens into steep shorelines have lead to at least three sizable landslides over the years. They also eventually girdled and killed the three ancient and sky-high white oaks that were the pride of our family. Clogging an overflow tube on a pond led to our driveway being severely washed out, too.

They are, of course, only doing what comes naturally. In western Kansas they’re valued because their dams on lightly flowing rivers like the Smoky Hill and Cimarron give waterfowl and fish rare places to thrive.

They’re an amazingly well-adapted animal. I sometimes enjoy watching them work and applaud the animals for their major engineering masterpiece in Canada.

But I’m still glad it’s not on our farm.