Beavers make their way to downtown Fort Wayne, destroy trees

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A lot of trees in downtown Fort Wayne are in trouble and the culprit is no secret.

“We have some beavers doing beaver things,” Dan Wire said. Wire is the Executive Director of the Tristate Watershed Alliance.

Beavers have joined the fun in downtown Fort Wayne and that’s causing some problems. Their chewing is rapidly killing trees.beaver2

“Just by their nature, they’re vegetarians, so they just eat green material and cottonwood bark is high on their list of appetizing things to eat,” Wire said.

So the city has started wrapping trees in wire to try and protect them.

“With the direction of the parks department, we’ve decided to let the beavers be beavers and we will just protect the assets that we feel are important and let the beavers find other nutrient, nutritious vegetation to eat,” Wire said.

There are ten stumps along the St. Joseph River, trees already destroyed by beavers, and the fear is the other ten around them are next. The city purchased about 1,000 feet of material to use and there are about 200 trees they need to wrap.

“We’ve probably stopped the beavers continued gnawing on trees on probably 30 already,” Wire said.

Wire shared a photo of a picture of a Three Rivers event from back in the early 1970’s close to the State Boulevard Bridge. More than 150 trees have been destroyed by beavers at this site since trees grew there. The area was mowed by Parks until the mid 1980’s. This was most likely the reenactment area before the Old Fort.                                                                                                          300- 2

Having trees die and fall in the river only creates problems and not just environmental ones.

“That becomes very costly to remove those. So if we can slow down the rate of trees dying along the river we’ll be money ahead in the long run,” Wire said.

For now the city and volunteers helping wrap the trees will try to save what they can. While not scaring beavers away, just suggesting they snack on something else.

“There’s plenty for the beaver to eat. What we want to do is make sure that we maintain the integrity of the shade trees that are so vital for a healthy riparian environment,” Wire said.

Beavers are nocturnal so it’s likely you won’t see them during the day. Even more, Wire suggested if you do see one, be careful. They can be big and they can be dangerous.