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Krimgold Park wildlife mitigation has naturalist concerned about beavers in Woodbine

Linda Hagan of Westminster looks over a beaver dam at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The county is looking at ways to mitigate the impact of beaver activity around Krimgold's ponds and Hagan hopes to steer the county toward an ecologically friendly solution.
Linda Hagan of Westminster looks over a beaver dam at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The county is looking at ways to mitigate the impact of beaver activity around Krimgold's ponds and Hagan hopes to steer the county toward an ecologically friendly solution. (Dylan Slagle/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Linda Hagan offered her own suggestions about a wildlife dilemma taking place in the southern end of Carroll County when she spoke to the county commissioners during their Nov. 12 meeting.

Hagan, a lifelong Carroll resident, said she noticed a beaver lodge and dam near her Westminster home about a year ago, the first she had seen in the area for more than three decades. Hagan said as a result she and her neighbors were thrilled when they soon spotted eagles, wood ducks and other types of wildlife.

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So when the commissioners voted unanimously to allow a contractor to remove beaver dams and surrounding debris from some ponds at Krimgold Park in Woodbine, Hagan felt the need to speak up.

Her advice? Leave it to the beavers.

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“I think that the beavers are being made to be an enemy here, where we should be learning to live with our wildlife instead of destroying them,” said Hagan, who two years ago became a volunteer in Maryland’s Master Naturalist Program.

Linda Hagan, left, and Sandra Walker of Westminster look at signs of beaver activity at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The county is looking at ways to mitigate the impact of beaver activity around Krimgold's ponds and Hagan hopes to steer the county toward an ecologically friendly solution.
Linda Hagan, left, and Sandra Walker of Westminster look at signs of beaver activity at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The county is looking at ways to mitigate the impact of beaver activity around Krimgold's ponds and Hagan hopes to steer the county toward an ecologically friendly solution. (Dylan Slagle/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Hagan participated in the public comment portion of the Nov. 12 meeting, which came after the commissioners approved the bid presented by the county’s Department of Public Works. Hagan said she found out one day earlier about the wildlife mitigation at Krimgold Park, where Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control will be working to remove beavers, downed trees and blockages within the water retention ponds on site.

“I was upset that I didn’t know about it and couldn’t make a comment during the time before you decided to take that contract,” Hagan said to the commissioners.

Maureen Dunn, senior buyer for Carroll County’s Bureau of Purchasing, said during the meeting that the bid for $52,450 covers the removal of the dams and all other related work during the project.

Hagan said the beaver dam near her home didn’t last long ― someone shot the animal and left it for dead, she said, and within a month the dam and wildlife were gone. Because of that, Hagan asked the commissioners if they had considered an alternative, such as a different ecological restoration company, in getting rid of the beavers at Krimgold Park.

But the approval went through, and Department of Public Works Deputy Director Jason Green said Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control will be operating in two phases.

A tree shows signs of beaver activity around one of the ponds at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.
A tree shows signs of beaver activity around one of the ponds at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“It’s an ongoing problem,” Green said about the beavers. “What happens is they continually return to this area, whether it’s the same ones or it’s new ones coming into this area. It’s a natural habitat for them. That’s what we’re looking to do, kind of a long-term solution to help mitigate what’s going on at these locations. And also actually allow the beavers to maintain somewhat of a population there, to maintain that continuity of the environment.”

County Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, said in an email to the Times he wants the details of the plan fully disclosed as a way to eliminate any misinformation about killing the beavers and destroying their homes.

“As a avid outdoorsman, I am an advocate of wildlife management and its healthy preservation,” Bouchat said. “Therefore, I desire the public to be fully informed on what is being planned at the park ... not to kill beavers and cut down live trees. This park is in my neighborhood and I am a patron of its resources as well.”

Bouchat said if the issue is not addressed and the spillways become blocked, perhaps after a severe storm, Krimgold could be in a crisis.

“We have a responsibility to protect public safety and a failed dam could cause loss of life down stream,” Bouchat said.

A beaver lodge built into the bank of one of the ponds at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.
A beaver lodge built into the bank of one of the ponds at Krimgold Park in Woodbine Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Brad Weikert, Carroll County Bureau of Facilities manager, said the first phases involves Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control helping the county take down dead trees and any trees that have been chewed on by a beaver. The animal leaves a scent on those trees that attracts other beavers to the area, Weikert said, so removing them will help the situation.

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With a good bit of development going on around Woodbine, Weikert said he believes the beavers are attracted to the ponds and spillways within Krimgold Park.

“It’s a safe haven, I don’t blame them,” Weikert said. “We’d like to continue our relationship with the beavers at Krimgold Park, as long as [they’re] not clogging up the drains every single day.”

Green said the money set aside for the contract is part of the fiscal budget for 2021. He also said it’s up to Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control in how to handle the beavers once they’ve been displaced from Krimgold Park.

Hagan asked the commissioners during the meeting if anyone had reached out to a company called Ecotone, which can install flow devices into dams that allow for proper water level and provide the beavers protection. County Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said they appreciated Hagan’s comments and they would be considered.

“While nothing is guaranteed, the company pretty much said this should really, really help,” Weikert said about Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control. “Along with Phase 2 it should for all intents and purposes keep these beavers at bay for a good while.”

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