Cost-Effective Beaver Management

Claims & Responses about Cost-Effective Beaver Management

Claim: The Law is Expensive for Cities, Towns, and Property Owners

   -  Solving beaver problems used to be free - trappers used body gripping traps during recreational trapping season to remove problem beavers and now it costs a lot of money to hire a problem animal control agent, in part because box/cage traps are expensive for the trappers.

   -  Water flow devices are expensive.

MSPCA Response:

   -  It is erroneous to say that beaver problems used to be solved for free when recreational trapping was allowed because trapping is not an effective, long-term solution for people experiencing problems with beavers; trapping beavers only opens habitat for others to move into and the problems occur again.

   -  Even when recreational trapping was allowed there were property damage costs that had to be paid - private landowners, major railroads, highway departments, public utilities, state and federal agencies, private businesses, and conservation groups have all experienced the expense associated with repeated dam breaching and constant culvert clearings.

   -  Compare the costs of daily labor and backhoe use for a highway department working to keep roadways clear with a one-time installation of a water flow device that will need minimal (once or twice annually) maintenance and will be effective for as long as 10 years.  Beaver Solutions of Hadley, Mass., estimates that the average annualized cost of installing flow pipes in beaver dams is $370-465 per year over 7 years and the average annualized cost for culvert protection is $335-385 per year over 7 years. 

   -  Even when the conibear trap was unrestricted, there were growing complaints about beaver.  According to MassWildlife there were 270 complaints in 1993 and 405 in 1996, prior to any trapping restrictions.   The trapping season is in the winter, so that trappers can trap when the pelts are prime, not when beavers may be active and causing conflict.

   -  Removing beaver endangers the wetland, which provides many benefits: water table and drinking water aquifer recharge; decreased erosion; reduction of waterborne particles and toxins; decreased downstream flooding; and maintenance of downstream flows during dry periods.  One company alone, Beaver Solutions, has successfully prevented flooding and protected thousands of acres of wetlands by using water control devices in several hundred locations across the Commonwealth.