At least one beaver is suspected of damming a drainage ditch southwest of Glidden, which could lead to farm field flooding if the problem isn’t mitigated.
In response, county leaders voted Tuesday to establish a $40 reward for whomever removes the varmint.
“The supervisors, they have to get the beaver,” County Engineer Dave Paulson said. “They have a duty.”
That’s because county supervisors are tasked with maintaining drainage districts in Iowa. There is a substantial amount of perforated plastic tubing — commonly referred to as tiling — buried in western Iowa farm fields that carries excess water from them.
The beaver dam in question — which is about three miles southwest of Glidden — is backing up water in a field ditch that drains some of that tiling.
Beavers make dams to raise water levels to submerge the entrances to their lodges, which protects them from predators. Beavers have large front teeth they use to fell trees, and they construct their dams of sticks, grasses, moss and mud.
Paulson estimates the ditch dam near Glidden has raised the water level upstream of it by three to four feet.
“The farmer probably saw it while he was harvesting,” Paulson said. “We usually hear about (the dams) this time of year after harvest, but it’s not in a bunch of locations. Maybe one or two a year.”
The demand for beaver pelts has diminished in recent years, which has led to a higher beaver population and more nuisance complaints about them, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
That also led the local county supervisors to put a dead-or-alive bounty on the Glidden beaver. They hope to convince a county roads or conservation employee with trapping experience to remove it.
“You don’t think there might be six of them, do you?” Supervisor Dean Schettler asked Tuesday morning before the bounty vote.
“There could be,” Paulson said.
Supervisor Neil Bock, a longtime trapper, said $40 is the going rate that counties are paying trappers for beaver mitigation.
“It’s usually at least a pair of them,” Bock said of how many beavers might occupy a single lodge. “You just don’t know until you get out there. Could be two. Could be six.”
He said trappers can use snares, foothold traps or live traps to capture beavers. They sometimes use green wood and beaver castor — a smelly oil the animals secrete — to lure them.
When the dam has been vacated, county workers likely will use an excavator to remove it from the ditch, Paulson said.