By Aaron Calvin
A black bear in Stowe was seen this month struggling to cross the Little River after heavy rains caused flooding throughout Lamoille and Vermont. The bear ran across the recreation trail and disappeared into a nearby cornfield.
While some bears have been seen roaming nearby mountain bike trails or Mt. Mansfield is also at a time when the bears will be most active.
Brenna Galdenzi, of Protect Our Wildlife, witnessed the bear incident. She was reminded by this to do simple things that people can avoid confrontations.
Galdenzi suggests that, in addition to removing bird feeders and garbage cans, you should also secure chickens, beehives, and small livestock behind an electric fence. Store animal feed inside a garage or shed to deter bears. It is not a good idea to let dogs chase bears. This can cause problems for both the dog and bear.
It’s not surprising that the Lamoille and its tributaries were the most affected by the recent floods.
Will Eldridge is a biologist at the Agency of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife division. He says that if floods in 2023 are anything like the Tropical Storm Irene, many places in Lamoille county experienced higher rainfall than 2011. Fish communities will likely suffer from “massive losses.”
In general, the younger fish are the ones who have the most difficulty swimming against the flow and holding their position. The young are the least able to maintain their position. These populations are fine in large streams but tend to be better off in smaller ones, such as headwater streams.”
Eldridge cautioned that fish shouldn’t be grieved overly. Fish populations will rebound in a few years as long as people do not remove debris, such at rocks and branches from waterways, which they believe could cause more flooding.
The trees and boulders in a stream can act as fish hotels. This is where the majority of fish reproduce in a river. The cover also protects them from the high flow.
Eldridge stated that the greatest risk of water contamination is due to the possible E.coli bacteria. Anglers, however, can reduce this risk by choosing lakes and ponds. If you cook your fish properly, it should be fine to eat.
Tyler Brown, a Fish and Wildlife biologist who specializes in beavers, says that beavers are aquatic mammals and have adapted well to the flooding.
The Lamoille river burst through its banks and destroyed the dams of beavers. It won’t take long for the second-largest rodent in the world to return to the water to rebuild. This is similar to people who tear down their damaged homes and replace them with sheetrock and new wood.
Brown believes that beaver created wetlands serve a vital ecological function. Even the flood-prone ponds in Stowe’s Memorial Park, which are flooded by heavy rainfall, have definite ecological value.
These beaver-dams can help spread flood energy across a larger area when you have rain storms. They are able to absorb an enormous amount of water.
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