Lake Association, Corinth, NY 12822
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
* 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
* 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)
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