|The City of Port Moody has been working to safely remove a beaver family, along with their den and food cache, from a City storm sewer pipe in Pigeon Creek, to prevent a potential blockage that could cause flooding and damage to property in and around Port Moody’s Klahanie neighbourhood. Unfortunately, over the weekend of December 16, 2017, a beaver kit died during the City’s efforts to remove it from the drainage pipe.
“Council and City staff are heartbroken at the tragic loss of this beaver, for which we accept full responsibility,” says Mayor Mike Clay. “Although removing the beavers and their den from the pipe had to be done to protect the integrity of the storm drains and prevent a serious flooding risk in Klahanie, this process has ended terribly, and there are no words to express our disappointment at this outcome. We know how important this beaver family is to the Klahanie community, and we share your sadness.”
The City’s efforts to exclude the beavers from the storm sewer pipe began on December 1, 2017. Consultants and staff tried several methods to encourage the beavers to leave the pipe, including a temporary wire mesh screen with a one way door, using beaver scent as an attractant, and breaching the beavers’ dam. The City was able to get all of the beavers out of the pipe, and gave them some time to rehabituate in Pigeon Creek. However, during this time, one of the beaver kits kept finding a way back into the pipe.
On December 15, 2017, consultants and staff breached the beavers’ dam and were relatively certain the remaining kit had left the pipe. However, the City did not wish to proceed with installing a permanent grate over the pipe outlet until the kit had been observed outside the pipe. Consultants and staff continued to try to draw the kit out of the pipe with no success, and decided to leave an elevated live trap inside the pipe, behind the temporary screen. If the trap was empty in the morning, the City could reasonably assume the kit was no longer in the pipe; if the kit was inside the trap in the morning, the consultant could pull the trap out and release the kit safely into the creek once the permanent grate was installed. The City added a bypass pipe in the dam, so that water could continue to flow through it – this would keep the water level low in the creek and inside the pipe overnight. With the bypass pipe installed, even if the beavers built the dam back up, water should still drain.
When consultants and staff returned on December 16, 2017, they observed that the other beavers had done some work on the dam and also plugged the City’s bypass pipe. This unexpectedly raised the water levels in the creek and inside the pipe.
“Despite all of our efforts to exclude the last beaver from the pipe safely – which was the desired outcome of everyone involved – unfortunately, the kit was found dead inside the trap, due to the unexpected increase in the water level,” says Jeff Moi, general manager of engineering and operations. “We are deeply saddened by this outcome. It is the opposite of what we had all hoped for.”
The other beavers were safely excluded from the drainage pipe and were observed in Pigeon Creek on December 16, 2017. Moving forward, the City will continue to monitor the remaining beavers, should they choose to stay in Pigeon Creek.
Please go to portmoody.ca/pigeoncreek for more information.