Thursday, May 28, 2009

Raising the Waterdeck

OK bad pun, but there was no way to call if a roof. The beaver dam at the west end of Maxwell Lake broke last winter, draining the pond. And because the dam contols the level of Maxwell Lake, the lake dropped by more than 2 feet. When we installed the new wharf we had to estimate how much the water would come up when the beavers repaired their dam. I underestimated by about 4 inches.

Last Saturday the lake was back up to within a few inches of the wharf boards and waves were already slopping onto the deck. So I spent a day removing the deck, adding another layer of 2 x 8 joists, and then replacing the deck. Now we have several inches of freeboard.

I've had people ask what would happen if the beavers build their dam higher. They aren't likely to do that because they would flood their own home inside the lodge, which is only a few inches above the water. If the beavers decide to renovate there is a safety valve at the east end of Maxwell Lake. When the beaver dam is full the excess water flows both over the dam and out the east end of the lake toward the Hardisty Creek watershed. So even if the beavers raised the dam the water level wouldn't go higher. They wouldn't dam the east end of the lake because the water isn't flowing noisily. Beavers build dams in response to the sound of running water. No noise, no dam.

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