Solutions to So-called Problems Caused by Beavers

As with wildlife in general, 'problems' caused by beavers are in the eye of the beholder. In a natural setting, what beavers do from day to day is a critical part of any ecosystem. Occasionally, however, beaver activities come in conflict with what human beings have planned for a particular piece of land. In such situations, there is never a need to resort to lethal means as a method of 'control'.

For more information, you can contact us or other groups knowledgeable about beavers. Listing a group here does not mean that the Refuge necessarily endorses or agrees with the information they provide.

Here are some references for information on solutions or reasons why learning to cohabit with beavers is beneficial to all:

The Beaver Baffler

Culverts and bafflers, looking upstream from road
Culverts and bafflers, looking upstream from road

At Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, beavers dammed three four-foot-diameter culverts under Piney Hollow Road, flooding a farmer’s field across the road. Township officials decided that the only solution was to get rid of the beavers. We suggested a beaver baffler, to keep the beavers from building in the culverts. The township cooperated by building three five-foot-long cones made of heavy concrete reinforcing mesh, but we felt that the length of these would be inadequate, as beavers might build along and around them.

View of culverts and road from upstream
View of culverts and road from upstream
View of culverts and road from upstream
View of culverts and road from upstream

We enlisted the help of Brian Graff of Dolgeville, NY, who had successfully installed a beaver baffler in a road culvert near his homestead, not far from Beaversprite Sanctuary. The Graffs, along with a few other volunteers, helped clear out the culverts and installed a 15-foot-long cylindrical Beaver Baffler with three layers. The core was made of concrete reinforcing mesh wrapped with 1" by 2" mesh fencing wire, around which a larger cylinder of reinforcing mesh was placed, held by wires which kept it separated from the core by a 6" space. One end of this contraption was closed by a piece of reinforcing mesh and the other end forced into the upstream mouth of one of the culverts. We used one of the township stops in another and left the third culvert open so that beavers and other animals could pass up and down stream without having to come out on the road. The downstream ends of the two stopped culverts were capped with reinforcing mesh. All devices were kept firmly in place by metal fence posts driven deep into the bottom mud.

The Beaver Baffler developed by Graff is a modified version of the Beaver Stop™ invented by Neil Thurber of Alberta, Canada.

The installed devices dramatically lowered water level in the neighbor’s field, and the beavers have not tried to rebuild around the stops.

Beaver Stop™

Thurber Beaver Stop
Thurber Beaver Stop

For more information about the Thurber Beaver Stop™, contact Neil Thurber, Beaver Stop Consulting, Inc., 3219 Coleman Road, NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2L 1G6, phone (403) 282-6136.

Beaver Deceiver

Snohomish County Beaver Deceiver
Snohomish County Beaver Deceiver

This has apparently been used successfully in Snohomish County, Washington.

According to Sharon Brown of Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife, "The shape can be rectangular, or trapezoidal, with sides at least twice the width of the culvert or spillway opening. Either metal or wood posts are used with large mesh fencing of 8, 6 or 4 gauge. The smaller the gauge #, the thicker the wire; 8 ga. is easier for beginners. If the stream bottom is muddy, a floor of the same material is laid first to prevent beavers from burrowing underneath the fence." (personal communication, 7 December 2015)


Tree Cages

Beaver gnawing on tree
Beaver gnawing on tree

To protect trees from being felled by beavers, there is a simple solution: put cages around the bases. We used cylinders of 2" by 4" by 3’ heavy wire fencing. These cages should be large enough in diameter to encircle the trees with at least a 6" space between wire and trunk. A 12" space would be better, as beavers may gnaw between the wires of the mesh. Cut the horizontal wires at one end and next to the vertical wires, and then fashion the cylinder by hooking long ends around the vertical wires. The guards can be removed by merely unhooking the wires.

Beaver with tree cages

You can download a sheet containing this information.


Relocation (translocation)

This is almost never a satisfactory 'solution' for many reasons:

Here is a limited reference list for the problems of translocation: