Beaver Dams affecting Township Property or Infrastructure
The Township may need to deal with potential flood threats caused by beaver dams. Where dams occur on Township property, the municipality has authority to remove or alter the dams to minimize or control the negative impacts of flooding on a Township road or property.
While performing routine road patrols or in receiving comments or complaints from the public, the Public Works Department may become aware of beaver activities that represent potential problems for municipal property or infrastructure. In these instances, the Public Works Department will make an assessment as to whether municipal property is, or soon will be, damaged as a result of beaver activities. The safest and most effective method to address problems associated with beaver activity will be identified and implemented.
If the beaver dam or blockage is located on municipal property: the Public Works Department will remove the dam or blockage. If there are risks to public safety or property, the Township may contact a licenced trapper to trap or dispatch the beaver(s).
If the beaver dam is located on private property: the landowner will be asked, in writing, by the Public Works Department to have the dam removed or altered in such a manner as to prevent flooding damage to adjacent municipal property. Alternatively, the landowner’s permission will be obtained in writing for a Township representative to enter onto the property to remove or alter the dam. This may also include the services of a licenced trapper to relocate or dispatch the beaver prior to the alteration of the dam.
If the landowner refuses access to the property: or if the landowner refuses to allow action to control the beaver population, the landowner will be sent a registered letter from the municipality informing them that they could be held liable for any damages caused to municipal property or harm caused to the public as a result of the beaver dam being suddenly breached or washed out.
Beaver Dams affecting Private or Adjacent Property
Landowners have the right to protect their property against damage from beavers. Although there are some restrictions, you can remove beavers and beaver dams on your property providing that it is done in a humane way and that some simple rules are followed.
Always try to remove the beavers before or at the same time as breaching the dam. If you just breach or remove the dam, beavers can and will rebuild it right away which will result in wasted effort. It is considered cruelty to animals if you breach the dam in late fall or in winter without first removing the beavers; if the water level drops in the pond by their lodge and feed bed, they may not be able to access their home and food supply which is all they have to get them through the winter.
Breach the dam a little bit at a time so you do not cause washouts, excessive sediment discharge or flooding downstream.
Work with your neighbours or other affected landowners to implement a long-term monitoring and maintenance program, but be aware that not all landowners will accept responsibility for beaver activity on their property, even when it is affecting others. In such circumstances, you cannot enter onto a neighbour’s land without their permission.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997