Residents upset about beavers being trapped in southeast community wetland

CALGARY — Jen Corbett discovered a dead beaver in a trap behind her home in the southeast Calgary community of Riverstone a few days ago, something she says has been ongoing since her family moved there last fall.

“For the past three years they’ve been trapping and killing them,” said Corbett.

“As opposed to finding other solutions that aren’t lethal, that would include maybe grates on the culverts or water levellers or other implementations that would allow us to co-exist with them.”

Corbett says discussion has been happening on a community Facebook group and many of her neighbours aren’t happy with the beaver trapping.

She says the developer, Brookfield Properties, is looking for a better solution and trying to get the City of Calgary’s advice for beavers in the wetland that connects to the Bow River. 

The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society introduced a beaver co-existence project at the end of September. 

“In the past the tactic has been removal of beavers, which is a euphemism for killing beavers because beavers don’t relocate very well,” said Katie Bakken, community engagement manager for the society.

Bakken says volunteers spent the last weekend in September working with the province and a number of other agencies to tackle one problem area in the park at Marshall Springs.

Two beaver dams caused flooding over the pathway, creating a dangerous situation for park users. A team of workers installed a series of pond levellers that lowered the water level and should prevent the resident beavers from installing more dams.

“We want people to see the positive side of living with beavers,” said Bakken. “Let (the beavers) do their thing, let’s just temper their activity a little bit, they need six feet of water to survive winter, they don’t need 10, so we only brought it down by a foot here and it alleviated the pathway flood right away.”

Bakken says this technique can be used most places beavers are living. It reduces flooding while giving the beavers the habitat they need.

She says no one knows how many beavers are in the park but knows of at least a dozen lodges, each containing anywhere from one to 10 animals.

“This time of year they’re collecting small branches that have fresh foliage,” said Bakken. “They bring them down to the bottom of the pond and they actually plant them in the mud, when you plant them in the mud they actually root so they’re planting forests in the bottom of their ponds so they have fresh food all winter long.”

Learn more about then Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society online:

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