Beaver dam breaks flooding country club

Muddy Pond is largely empty of water after a beaver dam broke late last week, flooding the Rutland Country Club.

Muddy Pond has emptied into the Rutland Country Club, according to city officials.

Fire Chief William Lovett, who is also the city’s emergency management officer, said he got a call shortly after 8 a.m. Nov. 11 about the flooding. He said he was unsure at the time if the pond was the city’s responsibility — it straddles the town line on land owned by the country club — and unsure how to find out with offices closed for Veterans Day, he decided his best move was to go have a look and worry about jurisdiction later.

“The dam itself had breached,” Lovett said. “I contacted our three friends at the state who helped me resolve the Dunklee dam project. ... I also brought the emergency coordinator for the town up.”

By noon, Lovett said, the water level was down by 3 or 4 feet.

“Muddy Pond is not a deep pond, as you would think by the name,” Lovett said. “It’s more of a swamp with a couple of deep holes in it. By 2 o’clock, there was not much water left in it.”

Muddy Pond is also situated alongside the Carriage Trail, which connects Pine Hill Park to Proctor. Shelley Lutz of the Pine Hill Partnership said there was no damage to the trail. Lovett said some water and silt made it to Giorgetti Park, but did no real damage. There was damage to the golf course, and Lovett said neighbors told him roughly the same thing had happened a decade or so ago.

“It seemed a lot of the damage stayed in the contour of that first run that was carved,” Lovett said. “I’m sure 10 or 12 years ago wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last.”

Lovett said the water had been held back by a beaver dam with some man-made alterations, though he said the beavers resisted those alterations.

“Somebody had at one time installed some plastic culverts,” he said. “I understand the beavers didn’t appreciate that so they chewed the end off and plugged it with a tree. ... If nothing else, the little creatures are pretty persistent.”

Lovett said that because it was a beaver dam, the state’s dam safety engineer declared he had no jurisdiction. He said the pond would likely refill when the beavers restored the dam.

Calls to the country club went unreturned. Joan Gamble, who lives across the street, said she went to see the damage for herself when she heard about the dam giving out and saw where a golf cart bridge had been washed away.

“Where it washed out, what was interesting — usually the stream of water that comes down from Muddy Pond to the golf course is a trickle,” she said. “You could see from the damage it was a huge flow. ... They were out there pretty quickly with their excavators fixing everything.”


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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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