Troublesome beaver poses challenge for trapper clearing county ditch

Says beaver may have taken it

BROWN COUNTY — Comfrey trapper Matt Bowman said he likes trapping beaver, but a beaver may have escaped Bowman’s efforts in Mulligan Township by taking his trap earlier this month.

“It’s a challenge. I enjoy it. I grew up around it. It gets me outside with Mother Nature. I’ve trapped since I was young,” said Bowman.

Commissioners unanimously approved paying Bowman, who is the Watonwan County Public Works crew chief and highway inspector, $280 for the beaver trapping and ditch clean-out, motion by Commissioner Brian Braun, seconded by Tony Berg.

On April 17, Bowman trapped seven beavers in County Ditch (CD) 28, Section 17, Mulligan Township, near CR 20, about 1 1/2 miles west of CR 8.

After collecting the drowned beavers, Bowman said he was short one trap.

“It appeared that one beaver took off with the trap,” he said.

Assistant Brown County Highway Engineer Andrew Lang described the beaver situation to Brown County commissioners Tuesday.

“Beavers were starting to chew down smaller trees they use to make dens and dams in the Little Cottonwood River Watershed. Ditches were filling up and draining. If they build a dam and start blocking water, it causes problems like (river) bank sloughs and ditch maintenance problems,” Lang said.

“Beaver trapping on drainage ditches isn’t anything new. We’ve trapped them on a number of Little Cottonwood Watershed spots like CD 68 in Sigel Township, on Judicial Ditch 12 inside a culvert crossing on CR4 north of Springfield and in CD 8 in Hanska,” Lang said.

Sometimes beavers are known to put up a battle.

“We removed beaver dams around Hanska for about five years. Beavers rebuilt it before we trapped them about four years ago. Our highway maintenance man trapped a big male beaver there,” said Lang.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages property owners to work with local trappers to take beaver causing damage during the open trapping season. No permit is needed for a licensed trapper during the regular beaver season.

Commissioners unanimously approved awarding CD 10 tile line replacement repairs in Home Township to Litzau Farm Drainage for $51,936, motion by Commissioner Braun, seconded by Berg. Litzau had the low bid. The engineer’s estimate was $54,565.

The drainage system contains 53,500 feet of open ditch and 13,800 feet of county tile. Multiple segments of cracked, crushed, and misaligned tile were discovered in tile branch 5, section 16 last winter. Branch 5 replacement consists of about 2,600 feet of 15″ tile.

Commissioners unanimously approved Litzau’s $85,372 bid for JD 10, Brown/Blue Earth in Cottonwood, Lake Hanska, Linden and Cambria Townships, motion by Commissioner Berg, seconded by Scott Windschitl. The engineer’s estimate was $85,944. Work for both projects is proposed to start April 29.

The existing tile line, branch 13, section 7 has had multiple washout repairs and was televised last winter. Tree roots were found blocking water flow and multiple tile segments were cracked and misaligned. Branch 13 replacement consists of about 4,350 feet of 10-18″ tile.


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