New research shows that the North American beaver is on the move northwards, looking for new places to live in the Canadian tundra.
Beavers move into new areas for a lot of reasons, and the hunt for new real estate also takes place in the ponds and streams of cottage country. Young beavers leave their family at age two and strike off on their own to find new territory.
So is it a good sign if you have beavers moving into your cottage neighbourhood? Some people do worry about their potential impact.
Beavers are known as ecosystem engineers, which means that they can really change the local environment to suit their needs. Once they’ve found a prime location, they get to work chewing down trees to build dams, canals, and lodges. These construction projects change water levels, blocking streams and creating deep, still-water ponds.
But beavers are also key to attracting plants and wildlife to an area. By creating new pond habitats, beavers build a home for wildlife like wood ducks, great blue herons, green frogs, moose, and many more species. Their environmental renovations also slow water flow, which can improve water quality and prevent flooding downstream from the lodge.
But if you’re worried about the tree loss and flooding that can accompany the arrival of beavers, Dr. Glynnis Hood, Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Alberta, has some solutions.
Pond levellers, also known as beaver bafflers, are a low-cost solution where drainage pipes are installed through the beaver dam itself to manage flooding. And to save trees, wire fencing can be installed around the trunk to prevent them from being chewed. If you run into issues with beavers on your property, your best bet is to consult with your local natural resources office to find the best way to solve the problem.