Crews can soon begin dredging in a 1,000 square yard area next to a beaver lodge east of the Montlake cut in Lake Washington, the city announced in a decision today (.pdf). Broadmoor, a wealthy gated community in Madison Park, applied for the permit to clear lake sediment near a water pump that supplies irrigation to the Broadmoor Golf Club's private golf course.

The proposal has raised hackles among some nearby residents—residents who don't live in Broadmoor—as reported last month by the Madison Park Blog. "Neighbors in the area of the beaver lodge worry about collateral damage to the beavers and other wildlife as a result of the proposed dredging. In particular, there was concern that the dredging operation would damage or destroy several suspected beaver tunnels that were thought to run underwater into the beaver lodge from the land near the dock," the blog reported.

The city's Department of Planning and Development noted the beaver issue in its decision:

There also appears to be about 5 to 6 beavers present in the vicinity. There is a beaver lodge approximately 50 feet away from the proposed project area. It has not really been determined if the beavers are actually using the lodge at present. However, comments from area residents have indicated that the beavers are using the lodge. The city will take that under advisement and have discussed potential impacts with Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) biologists consulting with
their beaver experts.

Beavers are found to breed between January and March. Litters of one to eight kits (average of four) are produced between April and June. Beavers are protected as fur bearing animals, but restrictions on development activity within the vicinity of a beaver lodge are not regulated.

Applicants agreed to "dredge area approximately 5 to 6 feet deep that would result in less material being dredged and requiring less time to complete the work," the city reports. "This proposal has been determined to not have a significant adverse impact upon the environment."

Dredging is allowed to begin on April 1, the end of the beavers' breeding season.