Mud Bay Creek has been decimated by beaver
recent years. The creek crosses Hwy. 19A just east of the
railway crossing north of the Mud Bay log sort. As it is
illegal to disturb beaver dams, locals have been worried about
flooding, both downstream (if a dam broke) or upstream (if the dam
didn't break). Also the Ministry of Transport had been
nervously watching the dams cause erosion along highway shoulders,
and produce softening of the highway bed. The dams were on
sides of the highway.
Along with all these problems, the flooding of the local forest was killing the large conifers, some of which could conceivably fall on the highway, especially with the soil around their roots being softened by the beaver pond.
In addition, the dams have been preventing salmon from reaching traditional spawning beds, and local streamkeepers have been wringing their hands, praying for a resurgence of interest in the beaver hat and beaver fur coats.
Last year, however, an unknown "dam buster" solved all these problems, at least for a while. Before the beavers could rebuild, the MOT moved in to repair the streams for highway maintenance as well as salmon usage.
The result is a beautifully-landscaped area on both sides of Hwy. 19A, with many berms and ponds. These have the effect of diluting the current in the main stream, making the area less attractive to beavers. Also, FBSES is planting conifers and other shrub species which the beaver do not like, either for food or dam building. Alders and other beaver favourites will be "discouraged" from growing in this area.
Here are some photos of the tree planting following the work done by Sean Wong of the MOT and his crew:
(Click on a thumbnail to enlarge)
October 13, 2007 (Dianne Eddy, photographer)
October 13, 2007 (Some of Sean Wong's shots)
October 20, 2007 (Mud Bay Creek South and Cook Creek Relic Channel)