Beaver dams strangle New York town’s water

Beavers can wreak havoc with municipal water supplies by building dams that block the waterways.
Credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

A New York town is wrestling with how to handle a growing problem with beavers, whose dams are impeding the town’s drinking water. About 20 miles up the Hudson River from Albany, the town of Mechanicsburg relies on a reservoir for drinking water, but the beavers’ (Castor canadensis) dams are blocking the flow from the main stream that feeds it. Mechanicville Public Works Commissioner Anthony Gotti says his crew is involved in “a game of chess” with the beavers, taking down one dam as the beavers build another elsewhere.

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