Friends of Our Watershed” is a new segment of our water program newsletter where we introduce you to important species that share our local watershed.

In our previous Friends of our Watershed we learned all about beavers. Despite the numerous services and benefits that this keystone species brings to our local ecosystem, many landowners find them to be a nuisance. Until recently, in many states you could simply purchase a permit to shoot, trap, or drown beavers indiscriminately. Within one century, our country’s beaver population has dropped from 60 million to 100,000.

There are many different ways that humans and beavers can coexist. Beaver dams that lead to flooding are typically the largest nuisance for most homeowners and often occur when beavers dam a culvert. Luckily, there are many different ways that these issues can be resolved without shooting, trapping, or drowning our furry friends. Allowing beavers to remain in an area while solving the specific problem (for example, a felled tree or flooded yard) can also preserve the benefits our watersheds garner from our beaver friends.

One interesting tool that we would like to highlight is a Beaver Deceiver, which is a trapezoidal shaped culvert fence that was invented in the 1990s. You can use one of these fences to block the culvert, and the fence forces the beavers to build their dam in a direction away from the culvert. By using this type of flow device, you can sustain the many beneficial qualities that beavers bring to our ecosystems, while reducing the impacts of flooding with an inexpensive technology that requires little maintenance.