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Beavers

beaver profile


What to do about the beavers?

Recent water quality results on the lake (See http://lacbernard.ca/environment/samplingresults/2012/2012.htm) draw a parallel between high e-coli counts and beaver populations near beaver lodges. There currently 13 active and inactive beaver lodges on the lake, prompting some cottagers to ask about options for beaver management and for more information on the role of beavers in the area's ecosystem.

We have compiled some information to assist cottagers in making informed decisions around beaver management. We recognize that there are many differing opinions on trapping beavers.

Some context on why beavers do what they do, and what it means to us.

gnawed tree
  • Beavers aim to fell trees near a water source so that they can return as quickly as possible to the water to consume the green shoots of poplars and other deciduous trees. In the water, they are free from predators (these are wolves, coyotes and to a lesser degree, bears).
  • There are often 5 or 6 beavers in a lodge.
  • Beavers will dig channels near the shoreline enabling them to swim under felled trees. This process may increase sediment in the water.
  • The entrance to a beaver's lodge is also below the water line. In creeks, beavers build dams to protect the entrance to their lodges and to bring the water - their natural protector - closer to their source of food.
  • Beavers may not be the only or primary cause of increased e-coli (polluted run-off and faulty septic systems are the culprits here).

Approaches to beaver management:

Damage to your trees
If you're concerned about beavers felling trees which may damage your property, you may wish to wrap soft deciduous trees in chicken wire, protecting the first three or four feet from the ground up. The same may be done for wooden posts supporting decks, stairs or buildings. We have asked the MRC des Collines to provide information about whether property owners have responsibilities in the event that beavers on their property cause damage to other properties. This information will be added to the website when it becomes available.

Trapping
Fall and early winter is the best time for trapping. Trappers are most keen to trap beavers at this time because the beavers' pelts are higher quality. Trappers currently charge per beaver (approximately $60-$75 per animal) or may offer a bulk rate per lodge. It is also a safer time, because there are fewer cottagers and people and dogs are unlikely to be swimming.

If you wish to trap, here are the necessary steps to follow:

1. Get a permit from MRC des Collines (see below)
2. Keep open communication with your neighbours - responsibilities and risks may be shared
3. Hire a licensed trapper
4. Put up signs indicating that there are active traps in the area. Beaver traps are very powerful and could easily injure or kill a dog. The trapper may have signs available.

Trappers 
Richard Moore: RSSM3@sympatico.ca, Tel. 819 457-1335. We have had good experiences with Richard Moore who is helping to trap beavers in Fish Creek (the inlet) Fall 2012. He is pleasant and professional and has a reputation for completing the job. 

Claude Groulx: 819-790-9014, also comes highly recommended as someone who completes the work.

Permit
Estelle Clément, agente de secrétariat, Direction des opérations intégéres (DOI),  telephone: 819 246-4827 ext 230, email:  estelle.clement@mrnf.gouv.qc.ca

If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch via beavers@lacbernard.ca

beaver front

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