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Preventing Conflict With Beavers :)

After some research and a few telephone calls I had a great chat with Bart Brown, Fish & Wildlife Technical Specialist, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources & Forestry.

I requested our conversation be put in an email so that I don’t butcher his information while I was sharing it.

The email response is below:

Hello Mira,

It was nice chatting with you about the beaver dam(s) on Riley Lake and the elevated lake level over the past week or so. I am aware we have had a significant rainfall in our district in that time period of which that may account for the increased water level on the lake. The information below will advise you of landowner rights and how those affected by beaver problems can resolve this issue.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry does not participate in problem beaver removal or control. The Ministry has no legislative authority to require a landowner to manage beaver on their property.

PRIVATE LAND

If beaver damage (chewing down trees) is occurring on private land, property owners can contact us to request trapper contact information.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act allows for alteration or destruction of a beaver dam in protection of their property.

This includes destroying or opening part of a beaver dam on another individual’s property (with that individuals permission). However, this does not exempt them from:

The need for property owner permission to access the beaver dam on their private land. Failure to obtain landowner permission may result in Trespassing charges being laid by the land owner.

Potential civil liability through damages to others both upstream and downstream, caused by their actions (opening the dam).

CROWN LAND

If folks on the lake determined that the dam is on Crown land the ministry could permit those affected property owners to undertake this project. However as mentioned below the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry does not participate in problem beaver removal or control.  If / when destroying or opening a beaver dam, determining the level that the water should be lowered to is up to the person(s) who are opening the dam. The Ministry is not involved in that decision. If there are other property owners on this watercourse (Riley Lake) that may be affected by lowering the water level they may want to speak with them first to determine if this will affect those property owners.

Applicability of sections of the Fisheries Act which prohibits destruction or alteration of fish habitat.

If / when destroying or opening a beaver dam, determining the level the water should be lowered to is up to the person(s) who are opening the dam. The Ministry is not involved in that decision. If there are other property owners on this watercourse (Riley Lake) that may be affected by lowering the water level they may want to speak with them first to determine if this will affect those property owners.

For more information on resolving beaver conflicts please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-conflicts-beavers.

Thank you for calling our office Mira, I hope this information helps clarify roles and responsibilities related to managing issues associated with problem beaver activity.

Bart Brown

Fish & Wildlife Technical Specialist

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources & Forestry

7A Bay Street

Parry Sound, ON

P2A 1S4


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