FOLEY – Removing a massive beaver dam that includes its own hot tub is among the additional drainage improvements planned in south Foley as officials work to reduce flooding in the area.

In July, the city began a project to remove debris and sediment on the Bon Secour River. The material was left after Hurricane Sally struck the area in 2020. Darrell Russell, Foley public works director, said that debris was removed, but officials found that the river was still not draining.

He said Greenco, the company hired to clear the debris, removed the material in the designated area, but the river was still obstructed downstream.

“They got on it and got their stuff done,” Russell said. “But we realized that what they’d done wasn’t draining a lot of water adjacent to our property on the road. My street supervisor went out with the Greenco people and found a massive, massive beaver dam. It was like the Taj Mahal.”

One item found in the dam was a hot tub that appeared to have been washed into the river during Hurricane Sally.

“My impression, from what I’ve been told by my people and by the company, is that if we don’t remove it, we basically just wasted our time,” Russell said. “It’s huge. It even has its own hot tub. Really hot literally is a hot tub and they got it built in.”

He said Greenco crews are still in the area and water levels are low due to little recent rainfall.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said crews cleared a large amount of debris from the stream.

“They did a fantastic job of cleaning it out all the way from Hickory and from Michigan down past the fork,” Hellmich said. “Then they noticed that south of there at the very end of our property, it wasn’t draining where it should have been.” 

The beavers will be trapped and removed and the dam will be demolished, the mayor said.

“We need to do this because if we don’t, we will just keep backing up,” Hellmich said.