While the beavers living on the foreshore are busy, busy, busy proceeding with their project adjacent to the nature trail, the humans trying to mitigate the results of their work must wait for the paperwork to arrive.
Janet Aitken, president of SABNES – or the Nature Bay Society, said plans are being discussed, but before they can be carried out a permit must be obtained from the province for working in and around the lake.
The issue arose because the beavers, in an attempt to build a pond on the railway side of the nature trail, have built a dam that has been flooding the trail. Although humans have been poking holes in the dam to drain the water, the beavers have risen to the challenge, working hard at night to repair the damage. SABNES and the city will be working together on the plan.
“We have some ideas, but we don’t really have a plan yet,” said Rob Hein, the city’s manager of roads and parks.
He said the city has talked with an environmental consultant regarding pipe work in the area, and staff have been given a book on how to work with beavers.
“We’ve got some ideas on how to control the level of water on the back side of the path between the path and railway… We won’t be doing anything until we’ve had a chance to sit down with SABNES, get their buy in and then take it to council.”
Hein explains: “They dam things to raise the water level, so when it ices over, they have enough water so they can access food sources.”
Rather than raising the water level, one option would be to lower the ground level in the area where the beavers are seeking more water.
Hein says flooding of the trail points to a bigger issue.
“The long-term question is, how many beavers can you allow to live in the area? They will just multiply and move out and create more room for themselves. These are basically kits who have grown up, the parents have kicked them out and they have to create their own area.”
Aitken refers to a David Suzuki documentary expounding on the environmental benefits of beavers, but also of their single-mindedness. If you relocate the beaver, she recounts, it’s like leaving the lights on in the cabin, cold beer in the fridge and the door open.
“Somebody else will move in.”