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Dam Management

Water Level Control Devices

In certain situations a water level control device (WLCD) can be highly effective in controlling levels by enabling drainage to the desired height while maintaining suitable beaver habitat with its benefits.

WLCDs are simple devices which include plastic perforated pipes, wooden boxes with mesh bottoms or perforated culverts made from layers of wire mesh.

Inserting a flow regulator into dam to control pond water height [Photo courtesy Skip Lyle]

Baffling a beaver!

Beaver are thought to be stimulated to repair breaches in their dams by the sound, feel, and sight of running water – a logical response as a draining pond can quickly leave them exposed to predators.

‘Beaver bafflers’ are one form of WLCD. They are essentially a conduit that diverts water around or through a dam in such a way that the beavers are not stirred to plug the gap causing it.   They can be constructed of plastic or metal pipe, wooden troughs, or metal mesh fencing formed into culverts.

Breaching of dams

Beaver dams can be breached either to temporarily relieve local flooding, or before installation of WLCDs or exclusion fencing – or when water needs to be drained prior to dam removal.

The breaching of dams should only be undertaken when more effective solutions are not currently possible. Care is required to minimize or prevent any unintended consequences – including downstream erosion, siltation and possible flooding, as well as longer-term alteration of wildlife habitat.