The natural behaviour of beavers can cause flooding and other related damage in urban areas.
The City’s approach balances beaver preservation with public safety and protection of property.
- If beaver activity does not affect a drainage catchment area, we do not intervene.
- If beaver activity negatively affects the City’s drainage system or causes property damage, we address the problems with as little impact on the beavers as possible.
- When we take more proactive measures, such as wrapping trees with wire and removing dam-building materials, we attempt to maintain sustainable water levels for beavers while ensuring that community drainage systems function properly.
- We sometimes install pond-leveling devices to maintain adequate water flow through dams and provide fish with upstream access.
- We monitor beaver activity on a regular basis to determine its impact upon City drainage systems.
Did you know?
Upon investigating flooding of the Mary Hill Bypass in early 2006, the City discovered the cause was a beaver dam in a culvert nearby. The beaver was not destroyed. This flooding could have:
- forced the closure of the Mary Hill Bypass, resulting in hours of gridlock;
- made it impossible for emergency vehicles to respond to medical emergencies;
- resulted in hazardous driving conditions, causing road closures and/or accidents and possibly loss of life.
In another instance, beaver damage to a tree caused it to fall onto and crush the roof of a vehicle. Luckily the vehicle was parked in storage and nobody was injured.
Had the tree fallen near a home or public walking trails, there could have been serious injury or property damage.
Additional Management Methods
As a last resort, trapping may be carried out to address a high risk of flooding, property damage or public safety. When this is necessary, the City hires a provincially licensed trapper, who sets traps only in targeted areas and submerges them under water. Traps are not placed on the trails or in locations accessed by leashed pets or children.
We continue to investigate alternatives to trapping as new ideas arise, and to consult with other municipalities, provincial agencies and private sector consultants.
To that end, the City uses a number of provincially-approved methods in an attempt to manage beavers in the various watersheds throughout the community. A combination of the techniques noted above seems to achieve the best results, but there are many challenges. For example:
- The more trees we wrap, the further inland the beavers travel to cut down trees for their dams.
- The more materials we remove from the dam, the more trees the beavers cut down, which devastates the surrounding environment and landscapes.
- Beaver dams, culverts and levelling devices require constant monitoring and cleaning, as beavers continue to bring in more materials to build dams and plug pond-levelling devices.
- Without sufficient numbers of natural predators in the area, the rate of beaver proliferation has increased in the community.
- The larger beaver populations are establishing new ponds throughout the watershed or create new wetlands (flooded areas) adjacent to the watershed.
Engineering and Public Works
Location and Mailing Address
City Hall Annex (Above the Bank of Montreal)
200-2564 Shaughnessy St
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 3G4
8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)