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Not Just Another Beaver Pond Leveler

Pond Leveler properly installed
Figure 1. A Properly Installed
Beaver Pond Leveler
(Click to enlarge)

The beaver pond leveler depicted in Figure 1 was developed as a nonlethal inexpensive means to resolve extensive flooding damage caused by beavers where landowners can tolerate their presence.

The leveler is designed to minimize current flow and the sound of flowing water. These two features are the most important stimuli that beaver respond to when building or repairing dams. When properly installed, these devices will help reduce land flooding, plugged road culverts, and water-control structures on ponds and small marshes.

The design is limited to stream flows of about 10 cubic feet per second (cfs) or less. Streams subject to periodic flash flooding or exceeding 10cfs are not suited for this style of leveler. The cost of this leveler is about $65 for materials and 8 hours in labor for construction and installation.

New York Law requires that landowners first obtain permission from the NYS DEC to disturb beaver dams. Please remember to do so if you plan on installing this or any other pond leveler.

Materials needed to construct a pond leveler
Figure 2. Materials and Tools for
Constructing a Pond Leveler
(Click to enlarge)

Materials Needed

Beaver pond levelers are basically a wire fence cylinder installed through a beaver dam, road culvert or stand pipe that beaver are plugging. They can be made of fence with mesh size less than 4"x 4". The NJA design works best with 1"x 2" galvanized fence reinforced with 3/4" flexible plastic tubing. To build a 16'x 20.5" leveler you will need the following materials and tools.
Item
3 - 6' Sections 1"x 2"x 6' Galvanized Wire Fence
4 - 64" Sections 3/4" PVC Flexible Plastic Pipe
2 - 63" Sections 3/4" PVC Flexible Plastic Pipe
6 - 3/4" Plastic Couplings
3 - 9' Steel Fence Posts
100 - Hog Rings
25'- #12 Galvanized Wire

Tools
Standard Pliers
Hog, Ring Pliers (Optional)
Side Cutting Pliers
Post Maul or Fence Post Driver

Construction

Building a pond leveler
Figure 3. Construct two (2) - 6´ wire cylinders
approximately 21" in diameter by overlapping the
cut end 7" and fastening with hog rings or twisted wire.
Construct one (1) - 6´ wire cylinder approximately
20.5´, in diameter by overlapping the cut end 8".

It is a rather simple matter to build this type of beaver pond leveler. One person alone with all materials and tools available can construct a 16´x 20.5" leveler in about 2 hours. Figures 3 through 7 depict the steps for completing construction of a beaver pond leveler.

A man constructing a pvc hoop
Figure 4. Construct four (4) - 3/4" pvc hoops
20.5"- in diameter by joining the ends of the
four (4) -64" pieces of flexible plastic pipe.
Construct two (2) - 3/4" pvc hoops approximately
20" in diameter with the two (2) 63" pieces of
plastic pipe.
(Click to enlarge)

A man placing a hoop inside the wire cylinder
Figure 5. Place two (2) - 20.5" pvc hoops
inside each of the two (2) 21" diameter wire
cylinders about 20" from the ends. Do the
same for the one (1) 20.5" diameter wire
cylinder by placing the remaining two (2) -20"
pvc hoops inside about 20" from the ends.
Secure all six (6) pvc hoops with wire.
(Click to enlarge)

Closing off one end of the wire cylinder
Figure 6. Close off one end of a 21" wire
cylinder by cutting back from the end along
four (4) lines about 10". Fold the cut ends in
and secure with hog rings or wire.
(Click to enlarge)

Putting the two wire cylinders together
Figure 7. Slide the 20.5" diameter wire cylinder
about 6" into one open end of each of the
two (2) - 21" diameter wire cylinders. Hog ring
or wire all three (3) cylinders together where they
overlap. You should now have a single 16, wire
cylinder of about 20.5" diameter with one end
wired closed.

At this point you are ready to transport to the beaver dam site. You can either join the three (3) wire cylinders together to create one, or you can transport them separately and connect them at the beaver dam location.

Installation

Driving fence posts in the dam
Figure 8. Driving Fence Posts in Nearest the Dam
(Click to enlarge)

Dig out the beaver dam by hand to a depth of 12 - 18". A pulaski ax or heavy potato fork make the best tools for this task. Dams should be disturbed first on the downstream side so that water pressure can be used to help push out the loosened debris. Place the leveler into this breach. The closed end should be on the upstream side of the dam. The downstream end of the leveler should protrude about 3' or less from the edge of the dam. The upstream end should protrude about 10 - 12' upstream of the dam.

Drive in two (2) steel fence posts at the locations depicted in Figure 8. Drive the third post in at the upstream end of the leveler. Secure the pond leveler to the fence posts with wire. The leveler should now be suspended in the deep water upstream of the dam. The beaver will most likely repair the breach in the dam on their own. However, if you prefer a neater looking job, you can backfill to the leveler at this time.

A complete installation at one site takes about 2 - 3 hours, depending on the size and construction of the dam. One person can usually install this type of leveler, but the job is easier and faster with two.

Maintenance

Most of the existing beaver pond levelers in use today require periodic maintenance. To keep this leveler operating at optimal efficiency you should inspect it at least every two months during the ice free period in New York. Clean away collected debris along the length of the upstream end at this time. Following spring break up you should also inspect the installation and make appropriate repairs or replacement. Because of rusting problems, this particular leveler will only last about 3 - 4 years in place. After this time a new leveler will need to be installed.

Other Installations

A Pond levelerat a road culvert
Figure 9. A Pond Leveler at a Road Culvert
(Click to enlarge)

At left is an adaption of this pond leveler design to solve a problem with beaver at a road culvert.


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