Living with beavers: tips and tools for coexistence

January 27, 2022 - 1:53pm

A beaver chews a stick at the Oregon Zoo.

Coexisting with beavers

Besides humans, few animals do more to engineer the landscape than beavers. Their dams and lodges create entire wetland ecosystems that prevent drought and forest fires, create fertile soils, improve water quality and provide homes for salmon, waterfowl and other wildlife.

Beavers have been shaping our environment for more than 10 million years, and in less than a century they were nearly wiped out by the fur trade. Today, they are making a comeback, and most of Oregon's waterways are once again home to beavers. But as they reclaim their ancestral homes, they encounter human development, which can lead to problems such as flooding or damage to vegetation.

With prevention and planning, beavers and humans can coexist. Learn more about effective strategies and find links for more information:

Wire mesh caging

Encircle trees and shrubs with protective caging to prevent beavers from accessing them.

Beaver-repellant paint

Brush on an abrasive mix of sand and latex paint matched to the tree color to prevent gnawing.

Beaver deceiver

Where state, federal and local regulations allow, a mesh and pipe device can lower water behind the beaver dam while protecting the culvert and allowing beavers to continue building their dam. This device should be installed by trained professionals.

Pond leveler

Where state, federal and local regulations allow, a mesh and pipe device can prevent. flooding by creating a permanent leak in the beaver dam. This device should be installed by trained professionals.

If you're having trouble with beavers on your property, you can contact your local department of fish and wildlife office for help. If you're in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has resources available on how to live with beavers.