Webbs Mill flooded by beaver again?

Yan-tonz

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Jun 23, 2018
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Smithville, NJ
Hey all,

I visited Webbs Mill bog this past April and the water levels were very high, almost to the boardwalk. A friend visited today and said water levels were even higher. I have been in 2018 and 2019, when the site was much drier. I've seen on the board that this site has flooded due to beaver in the past. Does anyone know how that issue was originally resolved?
 

Teegate

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That issue was not resolved. The beaver keep blocking the stream even after many individuals have spent countless hours removing their work. I would go there all the time and work on it but it is really a waste of time. Without some sort of remedy such as a design change it will forever occur.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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That issue was not resolved. The beaver keep blocking the stream even after many individuals have spent countless hours removing their work. I would go there all the time and work on it but it is really a waste of time. Without some sort of remedy such as a design change it will forever occur.
Or complete removal of all the beaver, be it one way or the other.
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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Right now the flooding is not due to new beaver activity but to the culvert pipe going under the road downstream being clogged, with none of the offending material showing signs of being cut by beaver. There was virtually no flow coming out of the pipe and the water was rushing over and across the roadbed, which is high enough to back up the levels at the bog to the highest level I think I've seen. In a more natural setting a stream will meander and change course as blockages occur but the road and associated culverts here do not allow that. The water has nowhere to go but up. As of now it is flowing again, but just as with the beaver activity, it will need keeping up with.
 

Teegate

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More than one large pipe is needed there.
 

Teegate

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As I have mentioned before, I would check on it more often but Jessica is all for the beavers and gives me a hard time when I open it up.
 
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Gibby

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Apr 4, 2011
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I was there late yesterday afternoon and I had never seen the water that close to 539. I had the impression that if there was a substantial local rain, the water may back up to the height of the highway.
 

GermanG

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It was discussed once before to just plow that road away. It really is just a headache.
You nailed it. That road is only there because it pre-dates 539. There are East/West roads connecting it to 539 on both sides of Webbs Mill Branch and it no longer serves a purpose, considering the problems occurring there. I also remember it being discussed by the powers that be and there seemed to be agreement. It may have been put on the back burner behind more pressing projects. Perhaps it's time to revisit it
 
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Yan-tonz

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Jun 23, 2018
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Smithville, NJ
I wonder if the flora of the bog will grow back this summer after such a long period of submergence.. Also, might anyone know who in Ocean County we could contact to ask about maintaining/unclogging the culvert?
 

Teegate

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Well, it had been determined in the past that it is more than Ocean County that has to make decisions. If it was them I think the problem would have been solved already.
 

GermanG

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I wonder if the flora of the bog will grow back this summer after such a long period of submergence.. Also, might anyone know who in Ocean County we could contact to ask about maintaining/unclogging the culvert?
Most of the plants found there are disturbance-oriented ones, and the flooding is merely another form of disturbance. If enough time passes between flooding they will come back, some faster than others.

As far as maintenance goes, the site is part of Greenwood Forest WMA, which is state jurisdiction. They are spread pretty thin and I wouldn't expect them to be able to do the constant clearing of the culvert clogging and beaver activity that would be needed. Their biologists have removed beaver in the past, but it is difficult to get all of them, and if the habitat is right, they can eventually move back in from elsewhere. Anyone who tries to solve their bird feeder problem with traps or an air rifle usually finds this out (fun hobby though! ;))

If the road embankment was partially removed, it would have to be done with care, perhaps lowering the elevation a bit at a time, as it would be just as detrimental to drain the site too much.
 
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1Jerseydevil

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Feb 14, 2009
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I don't care one way or the other, just asking a question and a comment.
Would this area even exist to the extent it is if the road in question never existed? If so keep in mind swamps naturally fill in, dry out without human interference, and the ecosystem changes. I do realize the opposite is occurring here.
GermanG stated that most of the plants wouldn't exist here if not for disturbance, so is this really a "natural" area?
Beavers and humans are the only animals that change the environment for their personal use. Unlike humans, beavers only change a very small area and in turn, create a new ecosystem. It's only us humans that deem this unacceptable, really?

Moving on, between political bickering and money appear to be the reason for lack of maintenance, why not let nature take it's course?
By that I mean the water will rise to road level and eventually overflow. That, in turn, will create a channel that will lower the water level accordingly, ahh, but then we still have those pesky beavers. LOL:smug:
 

bobpbx

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I don't care one way or the other, just asking a question and a comment.
Would this area even exist to the extent it is if the road in question never existed? If so keep in mind swamps naturally fill in, dry out without human interference, and the ecosystem changes. I do realize the opposite is occurring here.
GermanG stated that most of the plants wouldn't exist here if not for disturbance, so is this really a "natural" area?
Beavers and humans are the only animals that change the environment for their personal use. Unlike humans, beavers only change a very small area and in turn, create a new ecosystem. It's only us humans that deem this unacceptable, really?

Moving on, between political bickering and money appear to be the reason for lack of maintenance, why not let nature take it's course?
By that I mean the water will rise to road level and eventually overflow. That, in turn, will create a channel that will lower the water level accordingly, ahh, but then we still have those pesky beavers. LOL:smug:
:) Very circular post JD.
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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I don't care one way or the other, just asking a question and a comment.
Would this area even exist to the extent it is if the road in question never existed? If so keep in mind swamps naturally fill in, dry out without human interference, and the ecosystem changes. I do realize the opposite is occurring here.
GermanG stated that most of the plants wouldn't exist here if not for disturbance, so is this really a "natural" area?
Beavers and humans are the only animals that change the environment for their personal use. Unlike humans, beavers only change a very small area and in turn, create a new ecosystem. It's only us humans that deem this unacceptable, really?

Moving on, between political bickering and money appear to be the reason for lack of maintenance, why not let nature take it's course?
By that I mean the water will rise to road level and eventually overflow. That, in turn, will create a channel that will lower the water level accordingly, ahh, but then we still have those pesky beavers. LOL:smug:
Disturbance does not have to be human-caused, or even from busy beavers. Forest fire has been the single biggest source of disturbance in the pine barrens since it formed. A hot fire that sweeps through a forested wetland opens up the canopy to encourage species such as those found at Webbs Mill. Before man was better equipped at fighting fire, they spread unstopped and covered larger areas, often burning the same sites multiple times in a short period, creating even more open habitats in both uplands and wetlands.

As far as letting nature take its course, that ship has long-sailed. Because we need to protect the continuously encroaching human development from forest fire, we have eliminated the opportunities for natural creation of the patchwork pattern of forest that once existed here. The vast stands of mature, closed canopy forest may look pretty to most, but are fairly sterile from a diversity standpoint and have a greatly reduced number of both plant and animal species, including many of our rare and T&E species.

That said, I normal lean towards letting nature take its course in most cases. But this specific site is special. Its proximity to the paved road and the boardwalk passing through it has long made it a valuable outdoor classroom, accessible to individuals who might not be capable of driving backwoods roads or stomping through brushy wetlands. One of my first trips to the pines in the late 70s was on a field trip that included the bog during one of my classes at Rutgers. The Ocean County Parks Dept. regularly takes people there to educate them on the rare species and habitats they require, and the value of wetland protection. I know of many other similar organized groups that have visited the site.

So........that's why! ;)
 

1Jerseydevil

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Not meaning to be argumentative [but most likely will be seen as such] just referring back to a previous comment of mine. You did address the forest fires I was going to bring up. Aren't beavers part of nature? Nature like the rest of the world is in a constant state of flux meaning nothing remains the same forever, but apparently some of us humans want it to. So, from nature's viewpoint what is this flooding really hurting, nature adapts accordingly. The only thing being hurt here is human feelings. You didn't address my question, what if the road never existed.
 
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bobpbx

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I know you are asking German, but I'd like to chime in. Your question raises many more questions. First, Webb's Mill Bog would not exist without human development. That area was scraped right down to bare sand at one time. Maybe the development of 539 had something to do with that, or maybe Mr. Webb had a hand in it, but nature did not do that. The road with the culverts was created in the 19th century. Back then, it was likely a stream crossing over a sandy bottom; maybe no dike of sand to back up all the water at all. And yes, we humans have our feelings hurt. Back in the 80's, it was pristine, and never flooded. We humans long for that bog the way it used to be.
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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Little Egg Harbor
Bob, I'm also fairly confident that this site was human-created, but was merely pointing out that humans and beaver are not the only sources of disturbance.

Addressing JD, I can only refer back to my comments about the value of this specific site. Beavers are indeed natural, and on any other site I'd say have at it, but this site isn't worth managing simply for the mere benefit of the species present. Those habitats can be found elsewhere. It is worth saving for another reason. Think of it as similar to an arboretum, which is anything but a natural forest, but serves an important function as an educational site.

Most on this forum have the vehicles, proper boots, physical ability and the drive to see these species in more remote, totally natural environments. But we often forget that it's not all about us. I've taken countless van loads of mostly seniors to this site in the last 27 years. And most of them would never have gotten to see these species if it wasn't for a so easily accessibly site.
 
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