By Charlotte Smith
The largest rodent in North America, the beaver, has contributed to flooding in Bladen and Columbus counites according to officials. Mr. Dean Morris and Mr. E. W. Bowen with the Bladen County Beaver Management Committee proposed a new beaver management program partnership between Bladen and Columbus counties to the Bladen County Board of Commissioners on Monday evening.
The local board of commissioners met on Monday evening for a regular scheduled meeting with a full agenda. There were only two agenda items the board voted on without a unanimous decision. The first was the beaver management project.
The beaver management committee is made of Mr. Bowen, Jr., Mr. Morris, Commissioner David Gooden, Mr. Steve Guyton, and Mr. Dan Ward. Commissioner David Gooden was the only commissioner not in attendance at the commissioners board meeting, but he did have an excused absence for the meeting according to Chairman of the board Charles Peterson.
Mr. Bowen and Mr. Morris explained the Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP) proposal for the beaver management program on behalf of the committee. The proposed Cooperative Agreement with USDA/APHISs would be a shared full time federal position to continue with BMAP, covering the landowner fee portion of the BMAP. The fee would be pro-rated for the remaining year with an effective date of October 1, 2019.
The partnership for the management program will be with Columbus County if the neighboring county commissioners agree to the proposal as well, Morris explained.
Chairman Peterson raised questions about the cost of the program. The proposal sheet submitted to the commissioners had the estimated costs for the year would be $68,000 with Bladen County paying $34,000, which included the land owner’s portion of $6,000.
After some dispute over the actual cost of the program, Peterson said, “I think the land owners should have some skin in the game.”
Mr. Morris noted the figures submitted to the commissioners were incorrect because next year the fees will increase and the figures were not prorated due to the program starting in October instead of in July.
The fee to the Bladen County, if Columbus County agrees to the program as well, will be $25,125, which will cover the BMAP services from October until June of 2020 and includes the owner’s portion. The costs of the BMAP not including the owner’s portion would be $22,875, according to Morris.
The motion was made to approve the proposal with Bladen County sharing the costs of the BMAP with Columbus County. The motion also included the county covering the land owner’s costs for the BMAP. All the attending commissioners voted yes with the exception of a single no vote coming from Commissioner Peterson.
The other agenda item the commissioners did not vote unanimously on was the Advisory Board Appointment of the Recreation Committee. The Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority appointment was voted on unanimously to re-appoint Tim Tart of Clarkton and Gary Roberts of Bladenboro.
However, when the motion was made to re-appoint Jennifer Fruchey of Elizabethtown to the Recreation Committee, Commissioner Arthur Bullock nominated Walter Rhodie. The motion to re-appoint Fruchey was passed with only three votes for Rhodie.
View the entire commissioner’s meeting on their YouTube Channel: