By RUSTY EBERT
---- — KEOSAUQUA — In the ongoing battle between a beaver and the government, score one for the beaver.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is a partner in the Indian Creek Watershed Project, has reversed a directive last year for Van Buren County to remove rip rap at the McKinney Pond.
The county is responsible for maintenance of structures that were built 20 years ago to help control sediment along the watershed.
Over the years there have been some complaints about the lake level and that the rip rap on the structure was too high, thus controlling the level of the lake, according to T.J. Mathis, NRCS. Taking the rock away would allow the inlet to control the lake level.
County Engineer Dave Barrett told supervisors the rip rap was removed, but a pesky beaver didn’t like that and took matters into his own paws.
“The beaver packed mud in and around the intake,” Barrett said. “He didn’t like the rip rap being removed.”
So, secondary road crews were called to remove the mud. And again, a second time.
Finally, the NRCS threw out the white flag and allowed the county to put the rip rap back, but at a lower level, to still allow the boxed culvert inlet to control the level.
Barrett told supervisors that county taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the additional rip rap. Two people attending wondered why the beaver just couldn’t be trapped.
For the time being, Barrett said, it is believed the beaver will be distracted by the new rip rap and will leave the intake alone.