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City taking steps to protect trees on Cedar River Trail from beaver damage

The city wrapped this tree in metal mesh to protect it from further damage. - Brian Beckley, Renton Reporter
The city wrapped this tree in metal mesh to protect it from further damage.
— image credit: Brian Beckley, Renton Reporter

A busy new resident has moved in along the lower Cedar River, prompting the city to take action to protect its trees.

A large beaver or two has made his or her home in the river for the past several years; but according to Renton Urban Forestry and Natural Resource Manager Terry Flatley, this is the first time in quite awhile the animals have moved into the lower portions of the river, but the trees show the damage.

“We’ve seen some really large beavers … chewing on trees,” Flatley said recently. “Once the beaver chews around the tree, they get weak.”

And then they fall over, including one that is presently lying on the side of the river featuring the tell-tale bite marks showing it was felled by a beaver.

Beavers are large rodents that live in water and chew trees for food and to use the logs to build dams and lodges. They are herbivores and no threat to humans.

In response, the city has begun wrapping the bases of some trees along the lower trail with a metal mesh screen, in the hopes of encouraging the animal to find something else to chew on.

“We’re hoping we can protect these trees,” he said.

Other trees along the trail that were deemed “beyond repair” were removed by city staff to prevent them from potentially falling back toward the trail and the people who use it.

Flatley said the beaver living in the river is about the size of a cocker spaniel and is only a danger to the trees along the river.

“We’re hoping he sees these trees wrapped up and moves on,” Flatley said.

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