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Does the city do anything about beaver damage to trees?

These two trees, located on the south side of the Bark River just down the steps from the Waukesha Farmer’s Market, have had their trunks wrapped in wire mesh to prevent beavers from doing further damage.

These two trees, located on the south side of the Bark River just down the steps from the Waukesha Farmer’s Market, have had their trunks wrapped in wire mesh to prevent beavers from doing further damage. Photo By Jill Rick

Jan. 15, 2013

Take a stroll along the Fox River through downtown Waukesha, and before too long, you're likely to come across a tree that has suffered recent beaver damage.

The city has been experiencing a period of elevated beaver activity along the river, something's that happened a few times over the past several years, said Pete Traczek of Waukesha's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Most of the gnawing activity has taken place in the Fox River Sanctuary area, but recently the beavers have moved upriver a bit and become more aggressive in their chewing behaviors.

In the sanctuary area, city workers typically just let nature take its course.

However, when the city becomes aware of damage to trees in other areas, especially to larger trees along the Riverwalk through downtown, workers start to keep a close eye on the trees being targeted.

If beavers keep after a particular tree, city workers will wrap the bottom few feet of the trunk in wire mesh to protect the tree and prevent more damage.

If a tree is so damaged that it could potentially fall down and cause damage or injury, it is usually removed.

Traczek has met with DNR wildlife officials to discuss other beaver-control options, including the possibility of trapping the animals, but the city currently has no plans to start trapping, Traczek said.

What do you want to know? Email your questions to now.you.now@me.com.

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