In 2020 the eastern prairie fringed orchid (the most endangered, federally-listed plant in the Northeast) was threatened by flooding by beavers. This extremely rare orchid occurs at only a single location in the Northeast. Beavers dammed a nearby railroad culvert, and the resulting flood covered the orchid habitat with 6 inches of water. “Who ya gonna call?” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately called Skip Lisle. Skip invented the beaver deceiver technology and has adjusted and perfected his methods over the years to address each unique situation. Skip dropped everything and traveled to Maine the next day to help us with our dilemma. Within hours the flood waters receded and a plan for permanently solving the issue (and saving the beavers!) was formulated. Skip expertly installed three flow devices. Now we can adjust the water levels in the fen to provide the orchids with the optimal water regime. The beavers are still happily working downstream of the orchid habitat. We can’t thank Skip enough for single-handedly saving an endangered species!
“A man working a job he loves!”
I’ve known and worked with Skip Lisle since he worked for the Penobscot Indian Nation many years ago. He’s one of the most committed wetland scientists I’ve ever met. When I hired Skip to work on projects, he not only built the best beaver deceivers, he stood by his work. Once, when I was checking a beaver deceiver months after his installation, Skip was at the site when I arrived. We hadn’t planned to meet. That day he demonstrated his commitment to a project’s long term success. Moreover, he never charged extra for double or triple checking his beaver deceivers. Like beavers themselves, he’s a work-a-holic, tweaking each design to achieve maximum wetland conservation, eliminating the need to live-trap, relocate, or kill the animals. The world needs more professional ecologists like Skip. Wetland-dependent species have a true friend in Skip.
We bought our forever-home on 50 acres that includes a manmade pond with a road going by to one more house. Within a few months beavers had clogged the culvert there and were building a beautiful dam along the upstream side of the road. Our boring little pond became a vibrant ecosystem and a front row seat to an amazing keystone species. After talking with the neighbors, I learned there had been an annual genocide of the beavers that would try to take up residence there. For 35 years they had been killed and their work destroyed to keep a couple inches of water off a gravel road. I became determined to find a solution to get water flowing through the culvert but allow the beavers to stay. And I did.
By the time I got Skip here I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. He immediately went to work and slogged through the worst Virginia heat and bugs to make us a flow device suited precisely to our situation. I’ve never seen anyone but a beaver work harder! He also taught us even more about the value of the wetland we were creating at the sacrifice of a few trees. Now we get to keep our dam and our beaver family, protect our road, and share the value of coexisting with beavers with others. We will be forever grateful to Skip and can’t recommend him enough!
In 25 years as a beaver manager and researcher I have seen hundreds of attempted solutions to beaver-human conflicts. In quality and value, none compare to Skip Lisle’s elegant, original flow device designs. Highly effective, durable, and sensitive to the many ecological considerations involved, they are a reflection of his broad knowledge of construction, beavers, and wetland ecosystems. They are pure landscape art!
Skip Lisle offers that rare combination of “can-do” competence, creativity, and courtesy. He ably tamed our beavers with promptness and professionalism. Our California town, Martinez, still fondly remembers the man from Vermont, and his solution to save our Downtown!
Historically, a trapping-based “defense” of Elbow Pond Road has periodically eliminated resident beavers, and associated ecological values, but not property damage. Newly arriving beavers have ensured that many yards of gravel—and thousands of tax dollars—have washed away into downstream wetlands, closing the road for months. When the road was re-built, at great cost, the expensive new culverts were also immediately clogged. The obvious inefficiency of this approach forced us to look at other options.
It’s a big deal to find a solution to constantly blocked culverts. Thanks to Skip Lisle, we have done just that at a small fraction of the money we have previously poured into road repairs (what cost would the future have brought?). We are delighted to now have healthy, beaver-created wetland ecosystems and a long-lasting system in place that reliably prevents damage to the road and the town budget.
I first met Skip in his capacity as a wildlife/wetlands biologist for the Penobscot Indian Nation in the 1990s. I was immediately impressed by the depth of his knowledge of beaver ecology, his passion for the work, and his enthusiasm and willingness to help a sister tribe protect our roads from flooding while keeping our beaver populations and beaver flowages intact. Wetlands and, in particular, culturally significant wetland plants such as muskrat root and sweet grass, are a very important tribal resource. Skip’s skills have been invaluable in protecting these values. He’s the best at what he does! I highly recommend his services.
Before Skip arrived, I watched fish swimming over the town road by my house. Skip is one of those rare people with both a fine mechanical imagination and a profound understanding of animals, particularly beavers. He is totally devoted to doing the best possible job, and is tireless in his attention to detail. Each flow device he builds is tailored to perfectly match the unique characteristics of a given site. His devotion to high-quality workmanship is a pleasure to observe. The road will never be fish habitat again.
It has been my pleasure to know and work with Skip Lisle for nearly twenty years. Skip created many of the innovative technologies used today to humanely resolve conflicts with beavers. He continues to take his designs to creative new heights based on his intimate knowledge of beavers and the wetlands they create. He is an environmental entrepreneur providing long-lasting remedies for flooding and other conflicts, which save money well beyond the costs of alternative, short-term responses such as killing and dam removal. Skip has long been a leader in educating the public and advocating for the beneficial environmental services provided by live beavers. He is truly one of the founders of the humane approach to living with wildlife that strives to make the world a better place for people and wild animals.
The Beaver Deceiver Skip Lisle engineered and installed for our wildlife impoundment is working well. After 20 years of beaver problems, less than satisfactory solutions, and much backhoe work, we’ve finally been given a break. Thank you, Skip!
Skip has all of the qualities one looks for in an individual and a contractor. His integrity and incredible knowledge base allow him to solve beaver management issues in a very professional manner.