Beaver conflicts are common. We provide easy, cost-effective solutions from trained professionals.
Beaver Problems and Solutions
Beavers have been native to California for millions of years, but they were almost completely removed as a result of the fur trade. Humans moved into the bountiful areas beavers used to call home, and now a recovering beaver population finds itself in conflict over land. Landowners are in the predicament of incurring possible property damage from flooding or unwanted tree chewing if a beaver moves onto their property.
Oftentimes beavers will be killed if conflicts arise, but that practice is more expensive in the long-run because other beavers are likely to move in.
Luckily, there are easy, cost-effective solutions that allow us to live with beavers worry-free and enjoy the benefits they bring to the area. We at the SLO Beaver Brigade are trained in managing beaver conflicts and are here to help you turn any beaver problem into a long lasting solution.
Why Live Alongside Beavers?
Beavers are water bringers.
With the challenges we face from drought, wildfires and water shortages, there has never been a more important time to protect and sustain the water on our land, and beavers do just that by naturally restoring our rivers and streams.
By building dams and digging channels, they provide themselves with safe habitat and turn degraded streams into lush wetlands. These healthy wetlands bring huge benefits such as recharging the groundwater, lessening the intensity of floods, creating fire breaks, and providing a crucial habitat for our wildlife.
They are an oasis of life, and if you’ve never been to a beaver pond in person, we’d love to lead you on a tour. You can sign up for a Watery Walk to a beaver dam with Audrey and Cooper.
Lethal Trapping: Outdated and Costly
Lethal trapping of beavers has been the common practice in California, and it is the reason our beaver population has remained so low. Last year, between 1,000 and 2,500 beavers were legally killed. However, beaver trapping is a short term solution that proves to be more costly and damaging in the long run. Once a beaver is removed from an area, that real estate is up for grabs, and another beaver is likely to move in. This can cause headaches and constant worry of future tree damage or flooding. With beaver management techniques, a landowner can rest assured that their trees and property are safe, whether beavers are currently there or not.
In some developed areas, it is just not feasible for a beaver cohabitation solution to be used. In this case, it would be beneficial to relocate the beavers to an area that needs them. However, per California state law, beavers are classified as pests so they are not allowed to be relocated. That means that if a landowner cannot live with a beaver, they have to be killed. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. In other states such as Washington and Oregon beavers can be relocated, and they have had great success using beavers as restoration tools.
Why do beavers chew trees?Beavers chew trees for two reasons: food and building materials. They can’t digest the hard inner wood, so beavers strip off and eat the leaves and softer outer bark. This leaves them with good, cleaned wood sticks and logs that are perfect for building dams and lodges. This way the beavers can create ponds of deep water that not only keep them safe, but are lush wetland habitats that encourage more trees to grow.
Non-lethal solutions Chewing trees is the most common human-beaver conflict. Oftentimes, beavers will be lethally trapped to prevent them from felling trees on private property. However, there are low-maintenance, cost-effective solutions that will protect your trees. There are two main ways to protect your trees from beavers: wire-wrapping and sand-painting.
Wire-wrapping is the process of enclosing the tree with wire fencing from ground level to breast height. Leaving enough room for the tree to grow ensures the tree stays healthy and the beavers can’t get in. This process should be redone every 2-3 years to accommodate tree growth. If you want to encourage the beavers to stay in the area, it is best to select only a few trees to protect, so that the beavers have enough food to remain. If you want to passively remove the beavers from your property, wrapping enough trees usually forces the beavers to move on to a new area.
Sand-painting entails painting the tree with a mixture of paint and sand from ground level to breast height. Paint can be mixed to match the color of the bark making it practically impossible to notice. The sand content in the paint hurts the beaver’s teeth, so they won’t chew on it, but is perfectly safe for the tree. This process should be redone every 2 years.
Beavers build dams in rivers and streams that spread out the water, widen the channel and create a deep pond for them to live in. This can mean unwanted flooding for a stream on your property. Luckily, we have the technology to control the water level of beaver ponds, so that flooding is prevented and the lush beaver wetland and all of its benefits can remain. Pond Leveler devices A.K.A Flow Control devices (seen above) are a trusted and reliable tool that have solved beaver flooding conflicts for over 20 years. Over a thousand devices have been successfully installed all over the U.S and Canada and continue to work to this day.
A pipe is run through the beaver dam at a certain height, and essentially acts as a leak through the dam. The water then flows through the pipe so the height of the pond can never rise above the pipe level. An exclusion fence is attached at the pipe inlet to prevent beavers from getting close. This boundary creates enough space that the beavers cannot feel the flow of water leaving their pond. And, as long as the water depth is at least 3 feet, the beavers will likely stay. A successful flow device installation would result in a stable, flood-proof beaver pond that continuously brings benefits to you and the land and water around you.
For more information see the attached self-help guide or contact us at the SLO Beaver Brigade so we can help you find a cohabitation strategy.
Blocked culverts or drainages
Human made infrastructure like culverts and other drainage structures create natural choke points in rivers and streams that are ideal for a beaver to build a dam and create a pond. Thankfully, nearly all man-made structures can be prevented from beaver damming. There are several strategies that can be taken to either prevent damming or control flow through a dam depending on the situation. With a little thoughtful engineering any area can be made cohabitable for beaver and human use.
For more information see attached links or contact us at the SLO Beaver Brigade so we can help you find a cohabitation strategy.
For more information see the attached self-help guide or contact us at the firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you find a cohabitation strategy.