Known for their creation of large wetland complexes, North American beavers (Castor canadensis) are both ecosystem engineers and a keystone species. In urban settings, however, beaver activity has the potential to cause conflicts through removal of trees and flooding of property and public infrastructure. Municipalities can implement certain strategies that may support co-existence with beavers in urban areas.
In response to beaver activity in Port Moody, Council has directed staff to develop a beaver management plan that promotes co-existence, outlines best management practices, and recommends strategies that use alternatives to lethal methods and/or relocation whenever possible. While the focus of the plan will be to provide guidance toward implementing strategies for co-existing with beavers, the plan must also address compliance with all provincial and federal regulations, including those related to fish passage, as well as risk and liabilities associated with flooding, property damage, ecological impacts, and human health and safety. The beaver management plan will guide staff in making decisions about beavers in a manner that appropriately and respectfully balances co-existence with risk management and regulatory compliance.
The City anticipates the beaver management plan will be made available on this page in spring 2019, after it has been approved by Council.
Beavers in Suter Brook Creek
A beaver colony that was previously located in Pigeon Creek has taken up residence in a reach of Suter Brook Creek, near Port Moody City Hall and the Public Works Yard. Beaver activity in this area has caused localized flooding and the temporary closure of a trail that runs alongside the creek (September/October 2018). The City will be working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and The Fur-Bearers, a local non-profit organization, on the design and installation of a flow device, an apparatus that reduces and stabilizes water levels at a desired height behind a beaver dam.
The use of the flow device will help to maintain the safe operation of the existing drainage system connected to Suter Brook Creek and reduce the negative effects of localized flooding. This is an interim co-existence strategy; at this time, it’s not known whether the installation of the flow device will be a short-term measure or part of a long-term solution. After the beaver management plan has been adopted by Council, staff will look to the plan for guidance on appropriate strategies that will help to achieve co-existence with beavers.
The flow device will not be installed until after the 2018 fall salmon run, as Suter Brook Creek is an important watercourse for salmon enhancement in Port Moody. The City has been advised that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will partially or fully remove beaver dams (starting October 23, 2018) to allow adult salmon to reach their spawning areas upstream.
Tree removal notice: The City has determined that several cottonwood trees located in this area (the reach of Suter Brook Creek near City Hall and the Public Works Yard) pose a hazard and must be removed to protect public safety. One large tree on the trail side of the creek has been girdled (chewed through the bark all the way around) by beavers; six medium-sized trees are hazardous for reasons unrelated to beaver activity. Tree removal work will begin on October 27, 2018. Later in the season, the City will remove a number of willow and other trees behind the Works Yard, on the lower reach of Suter Brook Creek. Damage to these trees is related to beaver activity in the area.
- Questions and answers
- Media release about beavers in Pigeon Creek December 2017
- More information about beavers, flow devices, and co-existing with wildlife can be found at: