Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Tufted titmous, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Canada geese, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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River otter den, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Shelft fungus, photo by Dave Sauder
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Eastern painted turtles, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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St Andrew's cross, photo by Sage Russell
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White-tailed deer, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Pearl crescent butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bumblebee on buttonbush, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern gray squirrel, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields and bogs. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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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 Beaver Stop, contact Canada Culvert.

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:

  1. McKinstry, Mark C. and Anderson, Stanley H. 2002. Survival, fates, and success of transplanted beavers, Castor canadensis, in Wyoming. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 116:60-68.
  2. From 1994 to 1999 we trapped and relocated 234 Beaver to 14 areas throughout Wyoming to improve riparian habitat and create natural wetlands. We attached radio transmitters to 114 Beaver and subsequently determined movements and mortality of release Beaver...Mortality and emigration (including transmitter failure) accounted for the loss of 30% and 51%, respectively, of telemetered Beaver within 6 months of release. ...2-3.5 year-old Beaver had higher average success (measured in days of occupancy at the release site) than older animals. Animals < 2 years old had 100% mortality and emigration losses within 6 months of release.
  3. Petro, Vanessa M. 2013. Evaluating "nuisance" beaver relocation as a tool to increase coho salmon habitat in the Alsea Basin of the central Oregon Coast Range.
  4. I trapped and transported 38 individuals to the nine release sites where dams constructed by beavers would benefit coho salmon productivity. All adult and sub-adult beavers were equipped with tail-mount transmitters. ... All radio-tagged individuals dispersed from their release sites. Survival 16 weeks post-release was 47%. Twelve of the radio-tagged beavers died within 90 days of release. Three cause-specific sources of mortality were identified including predation, natural causes, and human related. Mountain lions (Puma concolor) were responsible for the majority of predation based mortalities. Of the 38 nuisance beavers relocated, only five individuals contributed to the nine dams constructed post-release.
  5. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife accessed 2018-07-26
  6. Live trapping and moving beavers elsewhere (translocating) is often cost-prohibitive. Also, research has shown that beavers seldom survive relocation, and those that do often move great distances from the release site.