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Trapper to reduce beaver numbers
Glynn County officials Tuesday took steps to address a rodent problem that has caused flooding in local water systems for the past three years.

At the request of Public Works Director Becky Rowell, the Glynn County Commission Finance Committee approved at its meeting at the Harold Pate Building an agreement with South Georgia Wildlife Management in Hortense to reduce the county's beaver population. The mammals have obstructed the county's drainage system, causing flooding problems during heavy rains.

Rowell said she has searched for a company to handle the problem for the past few years. Previously, the county used excavators to remove beaver dams that caused flooding, but in many cases, she said the creatures would rebuild their homes overnight.

"They're brilliant engineers," she said. "They know exactly where to build their dams, but they're overtaking the county."

The agreement with South Georgia Wildlife Management's Brian McKee comes at no cost to the county, and leaves McKee responsible for the disposal or sale of the beavers, Rowell said.

The contract with South Georgia Wildlife Management would be valid through December 2018, and provides only for the humane trapping, killing and disposal of the beavers.

Rowell said the contract is not intended to bring about total extermination, only for the "thinning of the population."

Here are three more things to know about the finance committee's meeting:

The committee recommended removal of unused structures at Blythe Island Regional Park. Recreation and Parks Director Wesley Davis said a freshwater dock and archery structures at the park are no longer used, and as a result, pose a hazard to park visitors. He asked for permission to remove them using funds from his department's budget.

Sidewalks and bike trails on St. Simons Island were approved for improvement. County engineer Paul Andrews said the Georgia Department of Transportation has signed off on a grant-funded project to widen and improve sidewalks on Kings Way from the triangle at the entrance of St. Simons Island to Mallery Street. The county would use special purpose local option sales tax interest to fund its share of the project. Andrews said the St. Simons Island Land Trust identified this leg of the bike trail as an area for improvement in its trail improvement master plan.

The committee recommended funding a new election calendar. Elections Superintendent Tina Edwards reported the 2014 election calendar has changed drastically this year, after the Georgia General Assembly shifted the state's election calendar to match the federal calendar. As a result, she said the primary election has been moved to May 20, a few months before its typical time in July. The new primary now falls before the start of the 2015 fiscal year, and therefore more than $50,000 needs to be added to the 2013-2014 budget to cover the cost, Edwards said.

The Glynn County Commission will vote on the finance committee's recommendations at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the old county courthouse, 701 G St., Brunswick.

* Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at kquimby@thebrunswicknews.com, or at 265-8320, ext. 321.



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