Trapper puts quick end to beaver's reign over urban pond

A big male beaver who had settled in to a settling pond along Highway 62 is on his way to a new home in the upper reaches of the Elk Creek drainage.

Trapper LeRoy Hippe found the beaver this morning, secure in a chain-link wire trap.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials called on Hippe to remove the beaver from a string of ponds along the busy highway just across from Medford's Target store. The ponds, built in 2002 as part of a major interchange project, capture storm water so solids can settle out and vegetation can help filter out heavy metals and other pollutants before the water flows into Bear Creek.

While the ponds provide habitat to ducks, heron and other urban wildlife, the beaver's engineering prowess caused problems for the city's public works crews. His dam raised the level of the pond about a foot, backing pond water into a manhole city crews use to access a sewer pipe flowing under the area.

In the long term, the city likely will have to build up the manhole to prevent inundation, but getting the beaver out and removing his dam for good should put the water back at a manageable level for now, officials said.

— Anita Burke

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