Efner Lake Association, Corinth, NY 12822        



 September 4, 2009



Dear Resident of Efner Lake and its Environs,

The Efner Lake Association would like to make sure that residents of Efner Lake and the surrounding area are up to date on the laws concerning human interference with beaver activity in New York State.

Over the years, many of you have expressed concerns about the beaver population on Efner Lake and the effects their dams have on the lake and its environs. At times, some people also have taken it upon themselves to remove the dam in the outlet. Unfortunately, this practice has negative consequences. No one should destroy a beaver dam. It is against the law in New York to remove a beaver dam without the permission of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of the State of New York. This applies even if you own the property upon which the dam is built. There are good reasons for this.

 *   Removing a dam can cause a surge of water below the dam that can quickly create a flood that destroys other people’s property. Buildings can be flooded, land eroded, vegetation destroyed, property ruined, and man-made dams collapsed. A downstream property owner suffered serious damage several years ago when the dam at the Efner Lake outlet was removed.

 *   Damage can also be done to the lake above. Sudden changes in water level can cause fish kills, unusual erosion, and drag sediments from the lake that, in turn, can clog the water bodies below the lake. It can also kill both animals and vegetation.

 *   People can get caught in the surge, causing them injury or death. This happened to a canoeist on Efner Lake a couple of years ago

 *   Water near dams often contains beaver feces. These feces can carry a disease called giardia. Normally the concentrations are small and contained so that humans are not harmed unless they foolishly drink water close to beaver areas. However, if water containing the bacteria is carried out during the process of ripping out the dam, it can enter water used by others for drinking and transmit the disease to them.

 *   The removal of the dam almost immediately compels the beaver to begin rebuilding. This means trees (often owned by others) are cut down, which promotes erosion.

A few other points to consider:

 *   Those removing a dam without permit commit a crime. They also are usually trespassers, which can be a crime and may lead to the remover being financially liable for the trespass.

 *   Dam removers may be forced to pay for the damages caused to other people’s property.

 *   Dam removers can be held liable for injuries and death caused by the removal. This includes serious criminal penalties.

No property owner has the right to take action against beavers because he or she thinks there is too much or too little water on their property or for any other reason. It violates the law and shows a lack of concern for fellow property owners. If you believe you have a problem caused by beaver activity, consult with DEC officials, the owner of the property housing the dam, and with fellow lake property owners. Do not take it upon yourself to destroy it. Simply put, it isn't yours and you could significantly harm others.

We would appreciate the cooperation of all neighbors in reporting any destructive activity, including removal of beaver dams. To report such activity, please call the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Dispatch Center at (877)457-5680. The Center is in contact with both DEC and local law enforcement personnel.

Please see the Efner Lake Association website for more beaver information: www.efnerlake.org


Robert McGraw, President, Efner Lake Association