Beavers making a comeback in Windsor-Essex a sign of good habitat

Beavers are making a comeback in Windsor and Essex and officials say it's a sign their habitats are improving.

'The fact that they're here indicates that we're on the path to recovery.'

A beaver family has moved in, building their dam at Holiday Beach in Amherstburg, Ont. (Kaitie Fraser/CBC)

Beavers are making a comeback in Windsor and Essex and officials say it's a sign their habitats are improving. 

It's been decades since the semi-aquatic rodents have been in the region, but in recent years they've continued to build their dams on major waterways. 

"It shows that they can exist here that they can thrive in fact and reproduce and they have enough food and habitat to live here," said Kevin Money, director of conservation services at the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

Teeth marks are seen on a tree near the beaver dam at Holiday Beach. (Kaitie Fraser/CBC)

He said it's a good thing that the beavers have come back. 

"Windsor-Essex has long been known as an area without much habitat, so the fact that they're here indicates that we're on the path to recovery," he said. 

Dams have been spotted in Hillman Marsh in Leamington, on the Detroit River, and primarily along Lake St. Clair in Lakeshore. 

Ron Harway found beavers in his backyard in 2014. See them here:

"Beavers started showing up here 10 to 15 years ago. The population has slowly grown," said Money.

One family has moved in at Holiday Beach in Amherstburg, where they've built a dam on the side of the park's trout pond. The family has been there for more than a year, to the delight of birders and others catching a glimpse while on nature walks. 

Hear more from Kevin on CBC's Windsor Morning:

Kevin Money, Director of Conservation Services, explains how the once rare beaver is becoming more plentiful in Windsor-Essex. 6:40

"They have removed some of the trees but not as many as you'd think," said Money. "I see them as a benefit to this particular site. We don't have drainage issues here." 

Kevin Money is the director of conservation services at the Essex Regional Conservation Authority. He said that the beaver comeback is a good sign for the environment. (Kaitie Fraser/CBC)

Beavers can be somewhat of a nuisance, as they can cut down up to 200 trees each year. 

"You can actually use a material around the bottom of your trees so they can't cut them down," said Money, adding that there are types of trees that beavers don't like.

Beavers' dams can also cause flooding in some areas if waterways become blocked. Money said it can become a drainage issue especially in the agricultural industry, but so far there are no dams causing any problems. 

The beaver family at Holiday Beach seem to be happy in their habitat for now. 

"They're just doing their thing. They're part of wildlife just like other forms of wildlife in this park," said Money.

About the Author

Kaitie Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Kaitie Fraser is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email Kaitie.Fraser@cbc.ca

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