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Preventing conflicts with Beavers

Beavers provide many benefits to their environment. However, the beaver population in Massachusetts has tripled since 1996. This increase has led to some negative impacts – learn about what to do if you have problems with beavers.

Protecting your trees and shrubs

If your trees or shrubs are being damaged by beavers, constructing an exclosure is one of the best ways to stop beavers. Proper exclosures should be:

  • Made of heavy-gauge fencing
  • At least 4 feet tall
  • Flush with the ground
  • 6 inches away from the tree

If you need to protect a larger area such as an orchard or nurseries, standard fencing will work as beavers don't climb well and rarely burrow under fences.

Flooding caused by beavers

Beavers live in aquatic areas where they build dams and lodges to live in. Flooding can result when a beaver dam raises water levels. Two common solutions for flooding caused by beavers are breaching or removing the dam and Water Level Control Devices. Emergency Permits must be obtained before taking any action.

Breaching and removing the dam

  • Immediate but short-term solution
  • Beavers will repair the dam quickly if they hear escaping water.
  • Can result in severe flooding for nearby property
  • Regulated by MA wetland protection laws

Water Level Control Devices (WLCD)

  • Devices that regulate water levels behind dams
  • Prolong life of beaver wetland
  • Contact a Problem Animal Control (PAC) agent to have a WLCD installed

Additional Resources

Trapping

Using traps to remove beavers can quickly solve beaver related problems. If you have a license, you can trap beavers using permissible traps during the open season (November 1st - April 15th). You will need to register your traps with MassWildlife if they are on someone else's property. You can also hire a licensed trapper or PAC agent to trap beaver on your property. You will need an emergency permit if you plan on using restricted traps or trapping beaver outside of the open season.

More info

It is against the law to capture beavers and release them in a different area. This can have negative impacts on both people and wildlife.

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