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Are There Beavers Living in Booth Park?

A reader sent in this picture, asking: is this a collection of sticks and mud in Birmingham's Booth Park a beaver dam?

Could there be a beavers living along the Rouge River in Birmingham?

One reader was wondering that very thing, tweeting a picture of what appears to be a beaver dam along the wood chip trail in Birmingham's Booth Park.

According to the photographer, resident Mary Ellen Johnson, the photo was snapped this weekend during a walk along the trail. Her dog, she said, even used the collection of sticks, leaves and mud to cross the Rouge River as it runs through that section of Booth Park.

Beavers in the Rouge River have been top of mind for many area naturalists recently. In the spring newsletter for the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretative Center (EIC), the EIC's Rich Simek writes that he snapped a picture of a beaver swimming in the Rouge River in Dearborn in July 2012.

The sighting was a big deal: beaver trapping in the 19th century led to the local extinction of the species in the 1830's, but Simek's sighting could be a sign that water habitats are improving along the Rouge.

In addition, beaver dams are known to improve the natural habitat for other animals as wells, the national group Beavers, Wetlands, and Wildlife reports.

While the jury is still out on whether beavers have returned to Birmingham, some residents claim there are beavers living in the city's borders.

"My house backs up to the Rouge River overlooking Linden Park and I saw two beavers swimming down the Rouge River last spring when walking through the park," Michael Stewart writes on Patch. "They even stopped and played a little. I was very excited. I thought they were just passing through."

What kind of wildlife have you seen at Birmingham's parks lately?

JCR February 19, 2013 at 01:59 PM
The photo looks like a standard tangle or logjam caused by trees on the bank being undercut by the current and falling across the river. After the tree falls across the stream, it catches other floating wood debris and eventually silt and mud during times of high water. It's hard to tell from the small photo included in the article, but the branches and logs in beaver dams usually have tell-tale conical ends caused by the beavers teeth as they chew through.
M.E. Johnson February 19, 2013 at 02:45 PM
I took this photo. I believe a tree fell naturally across the river in the past 6 months but this dam looks like it was intentional and not a natural collection of twigs. (http://www.beaverdam.info/) This past summer a beaver was seen in the Rouge in Dearborn. (http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/beavers-sighted-in-the-rouge-river-what-does-it-mean#photo-13086862) I've seen Heron, deer and an owl along the Chip Trail. So...I'm hoping the Chip Trail is becoming a home to more wildlife.
Heidi Perryman February 20, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Not sure I see dam in that photo but I'm delighted you're interested in one! Since the jury's out at the moment, why not take the time to invest in some community beaver-education, learning about the good beavers do and how to mitigate problems before they get there! My own low-lying city was surprised by the arrival of beavers 5 years ago. There were concerns about flooding which we controlled with a flow device. Now because of the beaver created wetlands we regularly see otter, steelhead, heron and even mink in our tiny urban stream! One thing is certain: Beavers WILL come to the rogue river eventually, and you may as well be ready ! Heidi Perryman Worth A Dam www.martinezbeavers.org

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