NEWPORT, Minn. (KMSP) - A pesky problem in Newport, Minnesota, is wiping out trees near the Mississippi River, and officials say it's not only a threat to property there, but to people as well.
The damage is often done in one night by one beaver, letting Mother Nature take care of the rest – which is another part of the problem.
“You can feel the wind today. Some of these trees are half chewed through, very easy for a gust of wind to blow a big tree over on somebody, and that’s a concern,” said trapper Andy Shoemaker.
Shoemaker has been trapping for decades, and a couple weeks ago, he got a call from the city of Newport.
“If you look close you can actually see drag marks from sticks, brush that they’re pulling back down into the river here,” he said.
On public property slated to become a park, the colony had been very busy.
“Right here is their home. It’s an old beaver lodge on the bank,” Shoemaker said, pointing to the structure.
The beaver has taken up residence next to and under a privately owned dock next door, stripping the tops of the felled trees to store bark for their winter food.
“You could tell every day when you came back there was more trees chewed,” said Matt Yokiel with Newport Public Works.
The city found it while clearing a house off flood plain property they’d purchased, the trees all along the public trail on top of the river dike. So, it’s a legal liability.
“If we didn’t trap them I think all these trees would end up being gone fairly soon,” Yokiel said.
“I got one out of here that I’m sure was at least 70 pounds and probably two others that were 60,” Shoemaker said.
He said Newport is one of ten stops just today to check traps and that the problems seem to be growing
That being said, the population is very healthy…
Less than a quarter mile up, there’s a whole separate colony of beavers, there’s a whole other one.