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Managing Human-Beaver Conflicts

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It must be said: Beavers can be a pain in the a**.​ They can chew down trees, and their dams can cause flooding of infrastructure that we as humans value. Yet the ecological benefits of allowing beavers to engineer their complex ponds and wetlands means that humans need to develop a larger cultural carrying capacity and to tolerate beavers at a much higher level than is currently the case.
When properly designed, installed, and maintained, modern management tools such as tree wrapping, flow devices, beaver deceivers, exclusion fencing, etc., are effective at preventing beaver damage and ultimately less expensive than the continuous cycle of trapping and killing beavers. We can keep culverts clear and prevent beaver dams from flooding infrastructure without lethal methods of control.
Ben Goldfarb writes in Eager that there are two different measures of how many beavers can exist. There is biological carrying capacity, which is the number of animals a given habitat can sustain. Then there is cultural carrying capacity, which is how many beavers humans can tolerate. Right now, our community has a very low cultural carrying capacity, which needs to change. 
Blocked Culverts

Road culverts are the most common sites for problematic beaver damming. A blocked road culvert can quickly cause dangerous and expensive road safety issues. Fortunately nearly every road culvert can be protected from beavers in a cost-effective, long-term, environmentally friendly and humane manner. 

Which beaver control method is best depends upon the site. Installers use several different designs that are customized for each site. Important considerations include: type and size of the culvert, road bed elevation, seasonal water flows, stream topography, fish and wildlife passage, and habitat.

Beaver Dam Flooding

Beavers build dams for protection from predators, but sometimes these dams can cause flooding issues for people. When this occurs the size of the beaver pond can often be controlled to prevent flooding damage to human property with a well-designed Flexible Pond Leveler pipe system.

This beaver pond leveler is designed to prevent detection and blockage by beavers. It creates a permanent leak in the dam to keep water flowing despite the presence of beavers. It controls the beaver pond level to allow humans to coexist with beavers without conflict.

Blocked Drainage Systems

Structures designed to drain water, such as man-made dam spillways and retention ponds, are common sites for beaver problems. A blocked drainage structure can quickly cause dangerous and expensive flooding issues. Fortunately nearly every man-made drainage structure can be protected from beavers in a cost-effective, long-term, environmentally friendly and humane manner. Flow device designs are customized for the specifics of each site. Important considerations include: the type and size of the drain structure, seasonal water flows, desired water level, tolerance for water level fluctuations, etc. CLICK HERE to find out more about different types of flow devices.

Tree Wrapping Diagram
Culvert Blocked By Beaver Damming Activity
Culvert Fencing
If you are experiencing flooding problems or blocked road culverts and drains caused by beavers in Illinois, Jeff Boland-Prom of Midwest Beaver Management received training from the Beaver Institute as a Beaver Wetland Professional, is a member in good standing in the Beaver Institute's International BeaverCorps Association, and installs flow devices with maintenance agreements.
For more information:
Managing Human-Beaver Conflicts
Fact Sheets on Flow Devices from Beaver Solutions
Flow Device Efficacy
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