Friday, September 11, 2009

Beaver Conflicts in Massachusetts: Letter to Legislators

Dear Senator Moore and Representative Fernandes,

This has been an eventful year in regards to beaver, coyote, fox and raccoon conflicts for the citizens of Massachusetts....  Many of the the towns that fall within your districts have experienced problems that include attacks on people, farm animals and pets, flooding of property and roads, and threats to public water wells resulting from beaver dam breaks or beaver pond expansions.  This summer a serious Beaver related flooding incident in Milford occurred and in Boylston, rabid foxes attacked multiple residents causing bodily injury - just to name a few.  These situations affecting people, municipalities and state budgets in a time when existing dollars are already being stretched beyond the breaking point.  The city of Gloucester MA is still dealing with the aftermath of contaminated reservoirs from mid August literally costing the city, people and businesses 100's of thousands of dollars.  The likely culprit? Beaver pond sediment.  The good news here is there is a simple, positive solution to changing this costly path we are on and one that the legislature can act on now.

My name is Herb Bergquist residing in Shelburne, MA and president of a new conservation organization here in Massachusetts called the "Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management".  As a group, we are extremely concerned about the rising incidence of animal/human conflicts and attacks going on across the Commonwealth.   Ever since 1996, when the Question One Ballot Initiative took away the ability to proactively manage our wildlife populations using the most effective devices available; beaver, coyote, fox and raccoon populations have increased dramatically... creating the foundation for much of the issues we are seeing today.  The bottom line is that the current trapping laws are excessively restrictive and do not allow for the use of the most advanced, effective, and safe devices by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Original bill HB736 "Protecting our Natural Resources" (NOW HB4172) has recently been reported out of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, and can help put Massachusetts back on track to responsible wildlife management using the most effective, efficient  devices available by our DFW, with the welfare of the animal as a high priority. It is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.   However, it has been amended to a point where it will not effectively, proactively address beaver, fox or coyote population management and aid in the reduction, or provide a timely proper reaction to wildlife attacks like the recent one in your district.

With your help we can make significant changes in the current law - Voice your support for meaningful amendments to HB4172 that will address the concerns of your constituents.  Please contact the original sponsors of this important bill to find out how you can help.  Conflicts like the ones your constituents are experiencing are not isolated incidences and they can be avoided in the future if appropriate modifications to the current trapping laws are made. This is a statewide issue that will take an appropriate, legislative response.  A response that reflects a responsible approach to managing wildlife with the best tools available.  Please assist us in getting our Division of Fish & Wildlife professionals the critical tools they need to do their job responsibly, proactively and ethically.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more and check out our website at:  There is a wealth of information on this site concerning proper management of our wildlife.


Herb Bergquist - Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management

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