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Should I buy land with a beaver pond?

 
Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 23
Location: Underhill, Vermont
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I'm considering buying land, it's 23 acres with about a 2-3 acre creek-fed beaver dam/pond, with about 2 acres of adjacent swampy wetland (on another parcel). It's a beautiful piece of land with a SW facing gentle slope leading down to the pond (this is where the house and permie area would be), which has a small, possibly seasonal stream feeding it. I see contoured swales going in on the slope, and diverting the creek into the swales and eventually draining into the pond. We would like to have chickens, ducks, turkeys and possibly sheep and goats on the property somewhere.

What I am wondering about is whether there is too much "nature" here for a proper permaculture setup (IE predators). The pond currently has a pack of 4-5 beaver. I imagine I will have trouble keeping my trees from becoming dam repair material? Will sepp holzer's "bone sauce" repel eager beavers? Secondly, there's a lot of wildlife attracted to the pond naturally, so I bet there's a lot of predators as well. Our area is known to have ermine, skunk, porcupine, coyote, fox, fisher cat, and bear. is it even possible to keep livestock alive (herding dog, maybe?) nearby this pond? I'm envisioning using a paddock shift system with living fences.

Is this a great opportunity (the sound of peepers and owl is almost deafening!) or will it be a source of never ending frustration?

- Jeff
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
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If you fenced the perimeter to keep in a large dog, you could get a pyrenees to protect the livestock. It wouldn't bother the beavers unless they bother the animals (if you wanted to keep them). In your place, I'd try to appreciate the beaver and let them stay. They were the original keyline permies - damming up streams to hold and spread out the water to enrich the landscape, and they did a wonderful job of it until their hides became more valued than the engineering work they did.

Beaver eventually clear wooded areas, tho, so I guess plant trees very far from the pond or try to make a beaver-proof fence around your orchard. But they'd open out any wooded areas, making them into better pasture.

You could have geese and pigs too. I've seen (butchered) geese sell for unbelievable prices - some people want them for Christmas and they can be almost impossible to find.
 
Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 23
Location: Underhill, Vermont
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I definitely want the beaver to stay - they maintain the beaver dam for free! no beaver=no dam= no pond
Geese are a possibility...
 
Kota Dubois
Posts: 171
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Since being a permie is all about being far sighted, I'd add that the end result of a beaver pond is a silted-up meadow which will one day be a very fertile garden. In the meantime, making sure that they have their favourite foods available -- willow, poplar and birches -- all of which grow rapidly, will add a level of protection to your food trees. Metal protectors around the trunks of the trees will also give some protection, even for the willow etc. that you want to grow big enough before handing them over to the big toothed crowd.
 
Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 23
Location: Underhill, Vermont
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Looking at old satellite imagery, the pond and dam have been there for a long time. There are fish in the pond, the sound of peepers at night is deafening. The dam is probably 500' long, and then there are 3 or 4 much smaller dams and ponds downstream of the big one. That's a great idea - perhaps I could try and keep an area along the shoreline stocked with Willow, Poplar and Birch.

 
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