Beavers causing problems for Wake County drivers

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Some critters are causing problems for drivers on Green Level Church Road.

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht announced in his weekly Town of Cary blog that beavers are to blame for the bump in the road. The rodents built a dam in storm pipes near the intersection of Green Level Church Road and O’Kelly Chapel Road, and the rerouted water caused the pavement to settle.

There is a significant dip in the road on the far right northbound lane. It filled with rain water this week, and vehicles that hit the dip caused big splashes Friday.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Falyn Owens said it is illegal to live trap and relocate beavers in North Carolina. 

“Beavers are territorial and do not tolerate new beavers that have been relocated into their territory, leading to aggressive encounters,” Owens said by email.

“For this and other reasons, relocated wildlife usually attempt to return to their original territory, which puts them in danger of being hit by vehicles as they cross unfamiliar roads.”

Owens said beavers also occasionally test positive for rabies, so relocation is prohibited to prevent the disease from spreading.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is aware of the issue in Cary and is working to fix the pavement. NCDOT has a strategic option for getting rid of the rodents.

“We have a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture,” NCDOT spokesperson Steve Abbott said.

“They handle the removal itself, and then once that’s done, we go in and take out the dam. We have to wait until the water goes down and we’ll go check and see what damage is there. Then we decide what we need to do to fix it.”

Abbott said the USDA contract will ideally relocate the animals so that they won’t come back and rebuild.

NCDOT inspectors have not determined the extent of the damage to Green Level Church Road, but it is considered minor. Abbott said depending on the assessment, repairs for the road might be done as little as one day, but may need a little longer.

The state Wildlife Resources Commission has a Beaver Management Assistance Program which receives $4,000 each year from participating counties. 

“It’s difficult to estimate the damage costs of beaver activity in general because these costs are highly dependent on the value of the property affected and extent of damage caused. However, we do have data on estimated loss and repair costs,” biologist Falyn Owens said.

“In 2018, the program reported an estimated $9,083,814 in damages to roads, bridges, timber, crops, railroads, dams, ditches, city and county sewer systems, water treatment facilities, landscape plantings, and private property were prevented across North Carolina through beaver damage management activities.”

Wake County is currently enrolled in the program, so landowners who are experiencing beaver damage on their property can contact their local BMAP representative at 919-250-1050 or 704-873-6761 x111.

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