Common problems and solutions
The two most common problems associated with beavers are flooding that results from blocked structures (such as culverts) and damage caused to trees.
Flooding becomes a crisis after unusually heavy rain or snow enters bodies of water with significant blockages. While beaver dams sometimes contribute to this type of flooding, they can also store water during periods of drought and slow down the movement of water from land to river systems, thereby preventing more serious floods and significant financial damage downstream.
Damage to trees in urban and suburban areas is likely to be noticed before it becomes critical, but perhaps not before a valuable tree or two has been lost. Operators of commercial forests attribute millions of dollars of timber loss annually to beavers.
Beavers play an important role in establishing and maintaining wetlands — learning to live peacefully with these animals is important to the health of their environment. Beaver dams enhance their environment by:
- Providing habitat for many sensitive plant and animal species.
- Improving water quality.
- Controlling floods by slowing water movement.
Beaver colonies and dams also provide an accessible and educational opportunity for people to learn about local ecosystems and enjoy wildlife through observation and photography. Expanding public education in areas where beavers live can lead to public appreciation for their large contributions.