LETTER: City Killed the Beavers, But Did It Fix the Problem?

FRAMINGHAM – The city announced that they were going cull beavers two weeks after the culling process has been initiated.

Two days later after national news and uproar, they apologized for the “demise of the beaver”.

The city got state permission to use traps that otherwise were banned for being inhumane. Essentially it catches a beaver and holds it underwater until it drowns. For those that don’t know, beavers are like us- they are monogamous creatures that love their families and love to play and love life. They also breathe oxygen.

Beavers were here way before we were. Per an early publication, “HISTORY OF FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS. EARLY KNOWN AS DANFORTH’S FARMS. 1640—1880 WITH GENEALOGICAL REGISTER”, put out in 1887 by the Town of Framingham, the Macomber estate is described in detail. Beavers are talked about in detail they were everywhere including near the current Irving and Beaver streets, running along Beaver Dam Brook. There was an area of town near the north end of the Macomber estate called Beaver Dam. The beavers were here first.

So what’s the problem this time? There’s three of them and beavers have been made the scapegoat.

Firstly, there’s this land bridge that looks to be partially artificial and creating a pond out of the rest of the reservoir. There is a small culvert to let water pass below. This land bridge carries water, gas, and Singletary lane on it. It was built 100 years ago. Had the land bridge eroded away, some 300 residents would have lost services and going without water and gas for a few days for emergency repairs, would be inhumane to the humans.

Secondly and thirdly, residents have experienced flooding on Singletary Lane at Salem End Road and also at a separate location on the south side of Crosby Circle.

Let’s talk about the city’s role. There was sediment buildup in the culvert. This has been known about for years, and has caused some flooding in past. The city acknowledged in last few months that the wastewater and sewer system is 100 years old and we need to fix it.

The road atop the land bridge sinks close to the surface level of the water and hops up 3 feet on both ends. We spent $40,000 in pumping because this issue was known in early fall. Now we risk costly lawsuits filed by animal rights organizations who just by filing will cost us money that could go into a permanent fix.

If this was not a total eradication and somewhere in the area is a surviving pair of beavers, they will mate in early spring and produce 2-4 pups 105 days later.

In three years the beavers will be back.

Paul Douglas in a report “Flooding Frequency and Intensity are Increasing – Are You Factoring the Latest Trends?” tells us that in 7 years, 2010-2017, the country has experienced 25 five-hundred year storms. This trend will continue, and some studies suggest that New England will experience two 500 year storms every 5 years after 2030.

Is it time to raise the land bridge to grade or put in a bridge instead? If so the problem would be absolutely solved. Instead the city has killed beavers and declared “Mission Complete”, in true “Dubya” fashion, and they, like him may be terribly mistaken.

Next there is the responsibility of homeowners to take care of themselves. The area at Singletary at Salem End is filled with mostly million dollars homes. At the southern end of Crosby Circle, the houses are waterfront to Baiting Brook. Me, myself I live 200 feet from a pond.

I picked my house and did due diligence in determining risks before signing up for home owners insurance. People on the south end of Crosby likely were told they were buying in a FEMA flood zone and should be paying for flood insurance. Owners on the north side of Crosby Circle should have learned that their direct neighbors are in a FEMA flood zone. The buyers of million dollar homes on Salem End at Singletary would have had knowledge that our their windows that they could see water and while not in a flood zone, they were 200-500 feet from a FEMA flood zone.

Flood insurance for those in flood zones are required. Flood insurance for those near a flood zone is available as a special rider. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the average premium paid for homes in a low risk area averages $146-$474.

How does flood insurance work? Before an event can be designated a “flood,” water must cover at least 2 acres, or damage at least two properties. This was a true flood.

Anyone with flood insurance who had flooding while inconvenienced by it, they will be made whole. Any person with a million dollar home, should protect themselves as they feel is important. If you can see water out your window and are not on a hefty hill they should consider their risk and the value to replace from rain, hail, and other special non-customary hazards not in a standard homeowners policy.

If my home floods, shame on me for having no insurance on that, and I will learn after. If anyone was flooded in this event and had no insurance, shame on them. If you have a million dollar home with water views and don’t pick up low risk flood insurance and get flooded, shame on them as well.

As for the beavers. They were here 1000 years ago, and they were here 100 years ago when the land bridge was built. They were there when the Crosby Circle and Salem End and Singletary roads were built. They were there 50 years ago, they have a road named after them. They were here 10 years ago too when we started noticing bigger and badder hurricanes, rain and snow storms. They are here now, even as the city believes they are largely eradicated and they will be here, fifty years from now when none of us will be. Beyond murdering a few dozen life loving playful beautiful creatures in a manner inconsistent with 21st century human values, what has the city done to fix the problem? Nothing.​

Justin Kapust

Framingham

District 8

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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