Are beavers to blame for Fanno Creek Trail flooding?

Anyone who rides along the Fanno Creek Trail in Tigard should be familiar with the constant, year-round problem of flooding at Scholls Ferry Road.

The underpass began flooding shortly after it was built. Originally the problem was confined to rainy wintery months but now the section of trail under Scholls Ferry is submerged even in the middle of the summer.

A number of factors are to blame for this situation.

Recently I discovered a stack of flyers posted on a pole near the underpass. They appear to be the work of a citizen and trail user who’s urging others to contact the city and ask for a solution.

Beavers to blame?The flyers describe the situation fairly accurately: building a bridge would be a long-term solution but in the mean time we need a short-term band-aid to address the fact that beaver dams are raising the creek level and exacerbating the flooding.

I like their suggestion of a metal grade being placed over the trail to raise its level above the water, so long as that metal grade doesn’t make the situation worse for bicycle and foot traffic along the trail.

The conclusion of the flyer, that “there are too many beavers in this area”, is the only major point I disagree with.

Beavers fall under this large umbrella called “nature” which is hard to control and rarely behaves the way we’d like.

Saying there are too many beavers and therefore they should be relocated is just about as effective as saying, “There’s too much water! We must relocate the water to another creek!”

Beavers, like water, can’t be monitored and controlled all the time. Eventually beavers will find their way back to Fanno Creek and build more dams. Additionally, beaver dams are an important part of the eco system and provide habitat for other animals important to the health of Fanno Creek.

And if that hippy-talk doesn’t sway you, keep in mind that relocating beavers costs money and takes time away from people who probably have better things to be doing. A temporary solution, like a metal grate or some type of barrier to keep the water off the trail, would be a much more prudent approach.

6 Responses

  1. Aaron W. says:

    Probably the same beaver that had previously dammed summer creek near 121st. The city removed it when they thought it had been abandoned.

  2. Brian says:

    On the other hand, just wait. The beavers on Fanno Creek move around. Further upstream there is an old beaver dam that has been abandoned and a new dam in the slough next to the path. One of the qualities of “nature” is that it changes.

    • Will says:

      I’m glad it made your day, and you might be happy to know the problem is slowly getting better (for now) as they’ve cleaned up a couple abandoned beaver dams.

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