Beavers to blame for flooding in Tyronza

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

TYRONZA, AR (KAIT) - Officials with the city of Tyronza Wednesday told Region 8 News flooding issues are becoming a growing concern. The city said it has tried working with area farmers and the Arkansas Highway Department on ways to alleviate minor flooding throughout town. According to Mayor Marion Bearden, farmers have leveled their land and taken away the natural drainage system. The other problem is that beavers have build dams along the most important ditch, Bearden said.

"The main problem we have is that we've got one large ditch that runs beside our post office that carries about 80% of our rainwater out of the city," said Bearden. "We have beavers that keep coming in and building these beaver dams. Believe me. It doesn't take long to realize you've got problems because our ditch beside our post office starts backing up."

Bearden said she understood the problems facing farmers. She told Region 8 News 70% of all crops are still in the ground.

"Our farmers in this area have been averaging about two days a week to harvest," said Bearden.

Bearden said the beaver dam is located on farm land just off Highway 63. She said farmers can't get to the area to clean up because they have to work on their harvest during dry days. On wet days, large earth moving equipment can't get to the ditch.

"When you've had as much rain as what we've experienced this year, it's a bad problem," said Bearden. "We need some help. I'm not sure where we're going to get it from, but we need some help to try to look at the overall picture. Maybe we can get the farmers to realize what kind of problems can come from their leveling of the ground."

The city has two employees that are qualified to work on drainage and sewage. Donald Bilyeu, Water Superintendent, said he has cleared out the beaver dam at least four times.

"I've come out here 3 or 4 times and pulled out the dams. The little devils build it back overnight. They're chief engineers," said Bilyeu. "In the meantime, we're having to come through under the interstate over into the ditches that the farmers use for drainage. The beavers love it."

Bilyeu said the highway department has installed wiring around the ditch the goes underneath future I-555.

"It's out of the state right of way. Of course, the part that comes under the interstate, they corrected their part. The part that is giving us problems is the farmer's right of way, but it's not their fault because they can't control them either," said Bilyeu. "They don't have time to fool with them and we've just been doing the best we can to keep the ditches clean to where things drain and the citizens have good drainage and we don't have complaints."

Bearden said the city doesn't have funding necessary to make major drainage improvements.

"We proposed to the highway department to maybe run it parallel to Highway 63 to the same river, the Tyronza River. It eventually flows through going through all this farm land and Highway 322 and down," said Bearden. "The highway department did come out and shoot the grade for us. They told us it was feasible, but they couldn't dig the ditch out for us."

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