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Beaver, Massachusetts off legal hook after dam break causes New Lebanon flooding

Jul 11, 2023 12:11 pm

Raymond Pignone reports in Columbia-Greene Media that a Massachusetts beaver whose dam broke recently flooding the town of New Lebanon, will not be sued, but has lost their home. The state of Massachusetts is also probably off the legal hook, after the dam broke on June 29 on Smith Mountain within Pittsfield State Forest in Hancock. New Lebanon Town Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling said, “Residents are upset, saying Massachusetts should be held liable, but proving that will be hard.... If somebody’s home suffered serious damage, and they have documented evidence that the state didn’t do something it was supposed to do or if the state has been put on notice and ignored it, I’d have our lawyers on it in a minute. But there is nothing showing.” Department of Environmental Protection communications director Ilyse Wolberg said, “The Office of Dam Safety will work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s wildlife management vendor to identify a solution to prevent the beaver dam from becoming re-established." The New Lebanon town hall and 15 to 20 homes were damaged in the deluge, with deposits of silt and debris in backyards and town parks. The dam was six feet high and 100 foot long, holding back three acres of water about four feet deep. Houghtling said the town is working with the Columbia County Emergency Management Office on a state or federal emergency grant to help the recovery effort. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

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