Beavers trapped to reduce flooding in Montague
Beavers are being blamed for flooding large swaths of land in the township of Montague, southwest of Ottawa, and now the critters are facing the wrath of fed up farmers.
The township has trapped and killed 40 of the iconic Canadian animals this year, in an effort to bring water levels back down. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority's help was also enlisted to breach eight dams so far, as part of a beaver maintenance program.
Pretty much anywhere there's running water, beavers are blocking the flow, according to local residents.
Donald Condie has been battling the animals for 60 years, but so far he says the beavers are winning. The animals built dams all along Condie's back creek, flooding eight acres and killing more than 10,000 trees.
"The property's pretty well done at this end," the Montague farmer said. "Right there back to the bush, about 30 acres in there, it's a lost cause."
Murray Hackett, the admin officer for the township, said reducing the beaver population is becoming a necessity.
"We also have problems with them damming up culverts. That may damage municipal roads, and so we have to have trapping done," Hackett said.
One of the reasons for the beaver problem may be that the cost of their fur is so low. Fewer trappers are coming out to the waters, meaning more beavers are being allowed to dam them up.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has found plenty of beaver lodges around. Rudy Dyck, director of watershed stewardship services, said capturing beavers and breaking up dams is now an ongoing process for the authority.
"Montague's very flat," he said. "So when you have a beaver that builds a three-foot dam, they flood hundreds of acres."
For his part, Condie said he'll keep up his battle.
"You gotta just keep going," he said. "You can't give up because of the beavers."
With files from the CBC's Ashley Burke