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Heard Up North: Undoing what beavers hath wrought

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Spring cleanup is a major feature of life in the North Country. After even a light winter like the one we just had, there's a lot of grit, leaves and mud to contend with. For Bruce Reynolds, it's a day's work: Reynolds cleans up trash, dead animals, and beaver dams for the state Department of Transportation.

Nora Flaherty caught up with Reynolds by the side of the road near Canton last spring, and he's today's "Heard Up North."

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Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

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Bruce Reynolds works for the Department of Transportation and faces roadside clean-up each spring. Beaver dams become problematic at this time of year since they can flood roads. The particular dam that Reynolds was working on wasthreatening a state highway and neededto be removed. “We used a machine the other day, and now we’re just keeping an eye on it,” said Reynolds.

“Beavers are wild animals that swim around in the water, and the more water they can make for a pond, the better and happier they are,” explained Reynolds. The beavers use rocks, tree limbs, gravel and weeds to construct their dams.

 “If we let this go and didn’t take care of the trash we pick up each day, and take care of these every day on the side of the road, what would it be like? What would it look like?” asked Reynolds. He explained that working by the side of the road has made him view traffic in a new light, and he said, “Traffic is an eye-opener when you work here. If you’re driving around every day, you don’t see what we see.” For example, even when signs are put up, most cars do not slow down for the department of transportation.

Reynolds also asked that drivers refrain from throwing trash out of their cars while on the road and said, “You wouldn’t believe the trash that we pick up every year.”

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