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Sep 25

Busy Beaver

Posted on September 25, 2017 at 3:45 PM by Ryan Hiniker


Drainage update 9/25/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

JD34 (Le Ray Twp.) Preconstruction meeting will be held on September 27th.  This preconstruction meeting is for those individuals that will be affected by the upcoming drainage improvement project in Le Ray Township.  Those landowners affected by this project should be receiving notice in the mail with details of times and locations of this preconstruction meeting.


CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  We will be holding a landowner meeting to discuss costs associated with ongoing issues along the open ditch of this drainage system.


Project Updates

CD56 (Garden City Twp.) The contractor has finished all major aspects of this repair project.  The new concrete culvert crossing along 499 Avenue in Lincoln Township is in and complete.  The contractor is finishing up with a few “check list” items before calling this repair project complete.  Seeding contractors should be finishing up any additional seeding in the next week or two.


Busy Beavers:


We (Blue Earth County Drainage Department) have been seeing a huge increase in beaver-related issues this year.  We currently have five drainage systems with active beaver complaints.

Beavers are often thought of as cute and cuddly looking with their fury round bodies.  Did you know that an adult beaver can chew through a six inch tree in 15 minutes?   Lately the beaver populations have made a drastic increase.  Some say the spike in populations is due in part to the decreased demand for furs, so many people don’t trap beaver as much anymore.  Despite their cute looks, beaver can be very destructive to people’s property and structures. 

I was reading through some different articles on beavers and how to manage them.  Turns out there is some equipment the common person can purchase or actions they can take to prevent or minimize damage to property or trees.  Some of the easiest ideas include wrapping your trees close to the water’s edge with wire mesh or using electric fence methods to detour the beavers from getting close to your trees or property.


Beavers will often make dams out of the trees they cut down and the mud they collect.  These dams often cause others issues especially when they are blocking the flow of rivers, streams and drainage ditches.  It’s not just as simple as pulling the dam apart or out of the way.  Trust me from past experience, if you don’t remove the beaver or beavers first, they will rebuild that dam in very short time - often in the relatively same area. 
Removal methods usually include trapping the beaver.  There is a designated trapping season which includes beaver and other furry animals in Minnesota, but what happens if the damage is occurring outside of that trapping season?  If trappers are taking beaver in regular trapping season, no additional permits are required.  Under Minnesota State Statute, beavers can be trapped or removed without a permit during legal trapping season. 

Outside of the season, if the beaver is causing damage, the property owner or legal occupant has the right to remove the beaver if four conditions are met. 

1.   Landowner / occupant must have beaver damage to said property

2.   Landowner / occupant must authorize such removal of beaver

3.   The beaver must be trapped or removed on such said landowner / occupant’s property where it is causing such damage stated.

4.   The person taking the beaver must notify the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) within 24 hours, and conform with additional reporting requirements.

State, County or any other local government employees, while on duty representing such organization, do not need permits for beaver removal on lands under their jurisdiction.

For additional information on this subject, please feel free to contact the Blue Earth County Public Drainage Office or your local DNR office.  Click one or both of these links to read more about this subject.  I have several photos below showing some most recent issues with beavers in just the last month on drainage ditches around the area. 
cd56 beavercd56 beaver dam 2 

 The picture to the left is a CD56 culvert as of Tuesday 9/22/17...picture to the right is same culvert crossing two days after removing the dam in picture to the left.  The beavers that were not trapped (there were multiple beavers) rebuilt the dam in 48 hours within 30 feet of first dam.
cd86 beaver dam2cd86 beaver dam
These two photos are of a large beaver dam on CD86.  It's hard to tell its size from my pictures but there's 4-6 feet of water being held back behind that beaver dam.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of September 18 – September 22:


  • CD56 (Garden City& Lincoln Twp.)  Just a few last “punch list” items remain for the contractor on this repair project.  Beavers are still an ongoing issue on this open ditch system.  We actually removed a beaver dam that was inside of a cross culvert under a roadway, and the beaver rebuilt the dam within 48 hours or tearing the first one out.
  • CD05 (Medo Twp.)  Met with landowner about beaver issues on public ditch system.
  • CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Drainage ditch is almost dry at this point.  We are still awaiting a firm confirmation date from awarded contractor on an official start date for the open ditch cleaning.
  • CD56 Branch 20 (Lincoln Twp.) Contractor is nearing the end of this repair project with a new alignment with new HDPE pipe.  The contractor was able to get into some more solid soil conditions with clay and made quicker progress on a few days.  Only a few days remain and this repair project will also be finished up.


Please call with issues you observe on our public drainage system, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and only two of us in the drainage department.  We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we receive them.


We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist