Lester the beaver must move as dam causes concerns in Ottawa’s south end

OTTAWA — The future of a Beaver Dam in Ottawa’s south end is in doubt.

The habitat is located along a pathway in Sawmill Creek near the Fawn Meadows Park, and near homes.

The beaver, which some local residents have named ‘Lester’ for the road that runs behind the dam, has been busy.

“I guess the beaver has built in this area over the past couple of months,” says Robert Grant, who lives nearby,

“We’ve had a lot of people come visit the dam, we’ve had at least two groups of our friends bring their young children to come and learn about the dam.”

However, Lester may soon be on the move. 

The city of Ottawa tells CTV News Ottawa there are concerns over high water levels caused by the Beaver Dam, and it is following local and provincial guidelines. Staff will hire a trapper to relocate the beaver.

“While we understand the value this beaver has brought to the community, the city’s primary concern is the safety of its residents and those using Fawn Meadow Park and its surrounding area,” said Adrian Richardson, area manager, Parks & Grounds with the city of Ottawa.

“The City is following the guidelines of the Ottawa Wildlife Strategy and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) on this practice and hired an OMNR licensed trapper.”

Richardson tells CTV News Ottawa the Beaver Dam has caused water levels to increase “by as high as six feet and has flooded the forest around.” Richardson adds the high water levels, “Pose a risk to the vegetation and trees close by and can damage infrastructure. There is also the risk of sudden rupture of the dam, creating a public safety hazard.”

A letter sent to residents said city staff recently lowered the dam to relieve water pressure, but despite the best efforts high water levels continue to pose a threat to residents, residential property and city infrastructure.

“It’s not too big of a deal,” says a Adrian Turner, while walking his dog near the path, “My house isn’t nearby so it’s not really too concerning; but, some of the residents there might have some issues with the water levels rising because they have some lower backyards.”

Other residents like Greg Lister would also like the see the beaver stay.

“It’s a very unique thing I find, I’ve never had this opportunity to close to home, and I’m very grateful,” said Lister.

Grant tells CTV News Ottawa that he hasn’t seen the water come near the pathway.

“It’s a wonderful education for the children in our area, it increases the biodiversity,” he says. “It’s just awesome to see a beaver when you’re out for a walk and he doesn’t hurt anyone; he doesn’t play loud music at night.”

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