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Preventing Rodent Burrows in Earthen Embankments

Preventing Rodent Burrows in Earthen Embankments


[Music] Rosemaire: So the problem is, that rodents are
burrowing through our earthen embankment
canals. The water from the canal then flows into the
rodent burrow and erodes the the burrow hole
and makes it larger and larger until the canal embankment can breach or fail. Tim: The failure is due to that rodent burrowing in from the side, underneath out into the middle of the canal and intervening into that the envelope of seepage or
envelope of wetness that’s in the embankment. Jim: When we get a canal failure from rodent activity some of the problems that, that causes is a disruption of the delivery of water, for irrigation or whatever purpose, which can cause major problems and then just
the immediate effects of erosion and where the
water goes. We’ve had cases where roads have been
washed out, basements flooded, houses flooded and even fields of crops and orchards have been
eroded by that water being released from the
canal. Darrel: There’s a wide range of tools that people
in the field use to control rodents and burrowing
animals. Some are acceptable means some are not
depending on the location. Jim: Some of the methods that are used to
prevent rodents from burrowing into our
embankments are: eradicating by shooting the animals, poisoning
and putting a protective layer on the
embankment that they cannot burrow into. Some of the issues with these methods are their
long-term sustainability, their cost effectiveness
and then the impact that could have the environment and other species. Tim: The typical cost of rodent mitigation is
about $180,000 on our process. We have on going full-time trappers that we hire,
we are always buying traps, buying chemicals,
gopher bait, so the cost of it is extremely high. Jim: In the Pacific Northwest there are hundreds
of miles of canals and laterals that can be
impacted by burrowing rodents. Rosemarie: I’m optimistic that with the prize
competition we’ll be able to get some
communication out to the public so that we can get some innovative solutions. Tim: The ideal solution is be able to control it for
the long range period of time, five years or
longer. Jim: Reclamation is very excited to see what
comes out, what solutions are proposed during
this price challenge because this is a big problem that way on are still looking for
good solutions. Rosemarie: So, we’re looking forward to receiving a lot of different innovative solutions but the ideal solution would not necessarily eradicate the rodents, it would simply prevent them from burrowing into our earthen embankments. To learn more go to: www.usbr.gov/research/challenges [Music] [Special Thanks: Camera, David Walsh, Kirsten Strough, Alexander Stephens]

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