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Webb's Mill Bog in Trouble

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Beavers may be nature's engineers, but the talented residents of Webb's Mill Bog are wreaking havoc with a globally rare habitat that is home to a number of rare plants. Webbs Mill is located within Greenwood Wildlife Management Area off Route 539 in Lacey Township.

Webb's Mill Bog is a Pinelands area that is a haven for botanists, who come from all over to view globally rare plants such as bog asphodel and pale beaksedge; a variety of orchids; and carnivorous plants, just to name a few. But the bog has been flooded for the past few years as a result of a beaver dam and lodge that has - unfortunately - done just what beavers intend it to do: flood the area, resulting in a large pond where these rare plants once flourished.

What was once a bog is now a pond with the water level at or above the walkway provided by DEP. Photo courtesy of Ralph Knutsen.
Photo courtesy of Ralph Knutsen

The State had invested in this area by constructing a boardwalk through the bog, so visitors can view and photograph the abundant plantlife without walking through the area, thereby preventing any accidental damage. As the photo shows, the pond is at or over the walkway now, and is virtually "drowning" much of the flora that had thrived here.

The beaver dam and lodge that is causing the flooding of Webb's Mill bog.
Photo courtesy of Ralph Knutsen

Here is the dam and lodge that is the source of the problem. It is my understanding that the beavers had been relocated by the State DEP in the past, but either returned or new beavers moved in. This has been an ongoing problem, but according to botanists specializing in the Pinelands, it is imperative the water be drained this month in order for the endangered species to survive.

One humane and cost-efficient method might be to insert a pipe through the dam, which beavers do not know how to stop up, then allowing for draining of the pond,according to Russ Juelg of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. The beavers would get discouraged at the constant draining and eventually relocate, at which tim the lodge could be permanently dismantled.

In the meantime, a sign has been posted at the bog encouraging visitors to call State DEP and Fish & Wildlife offices before it's too late:

Photo courtesy of Ralph Knutsen

READERS: Feel free to contact either the DEP Commissioner or Fish and Wildlife Director with your concerns!

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