Beavers are ecological heroes that provide incredible benefits to their environment and everyone with whom it’s shared. These benefits include storing water during droughts, creating wildfire resilient wetlands, flood mitigation, increasing water quality, enhancing biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
However, beavers are often trapped due to concerns around their impact to human infrastructure, eliminating not only the beavers, but the ecosystem benefits they provide. Fortunately, there are evidence-based methods that allow beavers to remain on the land while preserving and protecting human infrastructure.
Coexistence solutions include installing flow devices in beaver ponds, tree wrapping, diversionary planting, and exclusion fencing. Alternatives to trapping and relocation have been tested and proven in communities across North America, providing real-world examples of what human-beaver coexistence looks like.
Beaver coexistence strategies are detailed in The Fur-Bearers’ Beaver Coexistence Handbook for Municipalities and Landowners, found in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.
How Beavers Help Communities and Ecosystems
- Beavers create habitats that are resilient against wildfires
- Beaver activity helps maintain rare butterfly species and increase plant diversity
- Beaver activity benefits aquatic biodiversity and systems
- Beavers create and maintain vital wetlands during extreme droughts
- The ecoystem services of beavers is valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually
Trapping Isn't A Long Term Solution
Traditional beaver management has focused on trapping, killing, or relocating beavers. However, these are neither viable long-term approaches nor viewed favourably by the public. When a beaver is killed or removed from their ecosystem, other beavers may move in and recolonize the area, an outcome that results in the needless deaths of beavers, wastes resources, and ultimately solves nothing.
Effective management approaches address specific, local challenges and implement coexistence management strategies accordingly, so that beavers can remain in their habitat and any damage or risk to human infrastructure is mitigated.
To read an example of how a municipality shifted its beaver management strategy from killing to coexistence, click here to read an overview of how the City of Airdrie, Alberta, responded to beavers living its Nose Creek corridor.