Flood waters rush in Washington after beaver dam break

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Duvall, WA, United States (4E) – A surge of water and debris caused by a broken beaver dam located near Duvall, Washington has damaged a home and flooded a roadway Monday.

According to Lynne Miller, spokeswoman for the King County Office of Emergency Management, the incident happened around 11 a.m. after water from a 3- to 4-acre pond spilled down a natural drainage that forced road closures along Northeast 124th Street and state Highway 203.

There were no injuries reported.

Bob Siko, whose home was damaged by the floodwaters, said “I had a wall of water 4 to 5 feet high, 160 feet wide up behind my house, around both sides of my house.”

There was nobody home when water slammed through his property.

The homeowner reportedly informed the county early this year about his concerns on the beaver. After a county worker inspected the dam, Siko was told the Army Corps of Engineers would assess the area but he never heard from the said agency.

Miller, who claimed she did not know Siko’s dialogue with county officials, said King County had previously no issues with the beaver dam but she will check which county department, if any, responded to the complaint.

It was reported that Brian Calkins, the small-game manager at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the “massive failure of a beaver dam is not a common experience.”

Calkins added they are commonly washed away during heavy rainfall, “but not to the degree that it would cause the flooding of a home.”

Siko said he would seek answers eventually but for now he is focused on cleaning up.

Several streets in the area got flooded after the dam broke but road crews declared them open before 2:30 p.m.

In April 2009, a breached dam formed by a family of beavers released a 10-foot cascade of water, trees and debris crashing through a beachfront area in Clinton, Island County and destroying eight homes.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website noted that beavers live in colonies having two to 12 animals and are known to flood areas to protect themselves from predators, to reach their food supply and to have an underwater entrance to their lair.

Fish and Wildlife officials said beaver dams are normally made up of wood, stones, mud and plant parts. Beavers also let their dams spill when the water level is high.

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