They’re Canada’s national symbol. And they’re also some homeowners’ worst nightmare.
Beavers chomp down trees and build unruly dams, flooding agricultural fields and washing out roads.
But before you consider breaking up a beaver dam, be sure to consider all the legal consequences that come with it.
Last month, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry fined an Alberta mining company for illegally dismantling a beaver dam near Savant Lake in Northwestern Ontario.
In 2013, the Calgary-based Pacific Iron Ore Corporation hired a local excavation company to destroy a dam near Six Mile Lake Road so they could expand their drilling in the area.
Last month, Pacific Iron was fined $1,500 for unlawfully destroying the dam.
Although it’s legal to remove a beaver dam from private land, the Ministry says it should be a last-ditch effort. The Ministry recommends making your property unwelcome by planting trees and vegetation that beavers detest (such as elderberry, ninebark, and twinberry), and wrapping individual trees in meter-high, galvanized wire fencing, heavy cloth, or chicken wire. Homeowners can also paint tree trunks with a sand and paint mix to protect trees from any damage from the buck-toothed pests.
The aptly named “beaver baffler” can also be installed as a long-term solution to the rodent occupancy. The beaver baffler consists of two large-diameter drainpipes that are installed at the deepest part of the beaver pond and far downstream.
If all other techniques fail, landowners can remove the dam. That being said, landowners must contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada at least 10 days before the process begins, and the landowner will be held liable for any property damage that occurs downstream as a result of the removal, since large quantities of water will be released once the dam is broken up.
Landowners can also humanely kill or hire a licensed trapper to remove beavers. Although momentarily effective, this action won’t stop another beaver from moving in and setting up shop on your property once again.