Rockingham discusses flooding problems

The Rockingham Selectboard discussed working with Skip Lisle of Grafton’s Beaver Deceivers at their Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 meeting. Photo provided

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – At the Rockingham Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, board members discussed a request to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for relief of beaver issues in rural Rockingham.

Municipal Manager Scott Pickup had recently sent a letter to Game Warden Dave Taddei requesting relief from ongoing damage associated with beaver activities on both Parker Hill and Cambridgeport Roads. Pickup said that Rockingham had tried numerous nonlethal methods, including a deceiver installation on Cambridgeport road, but they were still experiencing flooding issues.

Board member Bonnie North asked if the beavers would be shot and Pickup said the last resort was to kill any beavers, but the concern was the damage done to the road.

Board member Rick Cowan connected with Skip Lisle of Grafton’s Beaver Deceivers who wrote a letter to the selectboard. Cowan read Lisle’s letter which included his guarantee of a “99% chance I can solve these problems.”

In the letter, Lisle explained that conflicts with beavers exist where roads intersect or low-gradient areas occur. He said culverts and small bridges are a magnet for beaver dams and killing beavers will not solve the problem. He suggested the Town of Rockingham adopt a policy for relief solutions. Lisle added that high-quality flow devices save taxpayer money and wildlife habitat.

In 1970, Lisle built the original Beaver Deceiver on a culvert along a Town Road in Grafton. Lisle states, “It is the longest continuous, nonlethal, flow device-defense of a road culvert in the world.” Lisle also pointed out that the road has not cost the town any extra funding in the clearing of the culvert or repair of the road, nor have any beavers been killed. With 50 years of experience, Lisle is world renowned. He has written numerous publications and co-wrote the Eurasian Beaver Handbook.

Lisle said the location of beaver damming is physics, and low-gradient areas are “economy zones” where damming efforts are justified by the creation of large habitats. These dams withstand large-flow events like the heavy rains Rockingham continues to experience.

Cowan asked if Highway Director Andy Howarth and Lisle could trade information. Chair Peter Golec suggested Pickup meet with Howarth and Lisle. Pickup agreed they could show him Cambridgeport Road.

For more information, and to see the wetlands in Grafton resulting from the original Beaver Deceiver, visit

The next, subsequent selectboard meeting was on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m., at which VHB presented the design on the Depot Street Bridge with the Tri-Board meeting to be held on Sept. 27.


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