It’s no surprise anymore that we share our communities with a variety of wildlife. Suburban development and population increases are constantly displacing wildlife to new areas, which may include your property or community. Whitetail deer are almost always at the forefront of suburban fringe wildlife complaints, but what about beavers? What’s their deal?
Beavers can be a mixed blessing.
To some, beavers are seen as beneficial neighbors due to their instinctive activities which improve habitat for other wildlife by creating natural wetlands and increasing biodiversity through that habitat modification. But to others, beavers are considered a damaging nuisance due to their felling of trees for feeding and dam construction. Under severe cases, their habits have an inverse effect on their habitat creation skills, causing destruction of the local wildlife habitat and negatively impacting local species. It is important to understand what the beavers in question are doing, how they will affect your area in the future, and what you want to do about it, if anything. Defining your idea of success is of utmost importance in the design of any wildlife management program.
As wildlife managers, our success depends on gaining accurate information from the site, including your objectives. Would success in your mind be limited to simply preventing beavers from cutting down your apple orchard or other individual target species? Or do you want to also prevent them from damming the pond, creeks, and culverts in your community? In some instances it may be an easy decision when lack of attention to these actions could lead to flooding of the area, road washouts, and other habitat damage from a simple rain event. Other times the lines are not so clear.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself –
- What exactly are you trying to stop or prevent?
- Can any level of beaver activity be tolerated at the site?
- Do you want the beavers to stay or leave the site?
- What management techniques would you prefer to implement?
Based on the answers to these questions and others, we can begin to develop a comprehensive strategy for your individual property and work towards managing the beavers at hand.
Sharing our communities with wildlife will always require a balancing act, as it should be when the name of the game is management. By identifying your concerns and preferences, while understanding the beaver’s biology, you can successfully begin to manage the animal and their home; in harmony with your home!
In future blog articles we will dig a little deeper into the specifics of this issue and some options on corrective actions. See you soon!