Beavers Save Salt Lake City Water

Dam stops fuel spill

Ryan O'Hanlon

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Salt Lake City, thank your local beavers. Were it not for them, you might be drinking/watering/irrigating with diesel fuel this morning.

A beaver dam helped stop a Chevron pipeline’s 8,000-gallon diesel fuel spill from spreading into a reservoir in Willard Bay State Park, which supplies water to Salt Lake City. The two beavers in the dam were soaked in diesel fuel and are being treated at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

“They are doing fairly well. One is coping better than the other,” DaLyn Erickson, executive director of the rehabilitation center, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “There is some evidence they did at least sample some of the food left for them overnight. We are doing what we can and hoping for the best.”

The benign beavers are thought to be yearlings and possibly siblings. Wildlife rehabilitators are cleaning the fuel from the beavers’ fur with dish-washing liquid, a standard and effective means of removing oil products from fur, feathers, and other animal parts.

Locals can donate “fresh willow and cottonwood branches” to feed the beavers during treatment.

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