Every year in Maine Beavers cause massive amounts of damage to roads and forests. At one time beaver trapping was much more common. These days beaver trapping, and trapping in general, is largely a minority activity. With less trapping and predation pressures on beaver their numbers have skyrocketed over the last several decades. While wetlands are amazing, beautiful, and absolutely critical to several other species existence they can also cause lots of problems. Beavers are considered a bit of a keystone species because the damming actions creates wetlands which create life opportunities for countless species. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The real problem arise when beaver damming activity conflicts with human desires to drive on roads. A wetland on the side of the road could easily overflow during periods of heavy rain or spring runoff from melting snows. When this happens while roadways can be washed away. Not only is this a terrible inconvenience for people, but it could present several safety hazards and issues. Imagine an ambulance racing down the road with a patient needed to get to the hospital only to find the road is missing where there once was one. Or a car driving through some water on the road only to find out it’s a pot hole large enough to swallow the car! The costs to repair and maintain the roads costs everyone.
The other common problem we see is when beavers begin making a new wetland, or flowage, in an area they haven’t been in a long time. Often the flooding action of building the wetland can flood fie3lds, woods, and sometimes homes. With an increase in water that affords the beavers protection from predators and can put them closer to valuable trees on your property or orchard.
Striking a balance between the negative effects of beaver damming activities and the positives of wetland creation is where Maine Wildlife Management excels. One of the best methods for finding balance between people and beavers is designing, constructing, and maintaining beaver deceivers. These are structures that protect culverts from being plugged. They often have a mixture of fencing and piping. The fencing gives the beavers something to dam against, and the piping allows us to maintain the water levels and let water flow through the dam. The benefit is beavers get to maintain a beaver dam, and the threat of flooding is greatly reduced or eliminated.
An important part of beaver management also involves trapping and removal. Often it’s the first step to reduce pressure in an area. The larger a beaver family is, the more resources it needs and the larger the wetland it creates. By keeping the beavers numbers low it ensure that they do not grow beyond capacity and that they remain healthy due to an abundance of forage and resources.
For select tree that beavers may be damaging we can wrap all trees in hardware cloth and wire to prevent chewing. This is effective with large sugar maples along the stream, orchards, or other smaller areas of trees. For large plantations such as timber stands, reducing the number of beaver present through trapping and relocation or removal can be one of the most cost efficient methods to protecting your investments.
Maine Wildlife Management offers full service beaver removal, trapping, relocation, wetland management and water level management to protect your driveway, road, or culverts. We also offer long term plans for yearly clean out and maintenance of deceivers, as there can be some maintenance concerns over time such as heavy loads of leaves washing downstream or ice dams that occasionally bend things up. For all water level control, beaver control, and crop tree protection help call Maine Wildlife Management today for a free inspection and consultation. We’ll help you stay safe, protect your investments, and enjoy the benefits that beaver bring all at the same time.
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