Ottawa

Dead beavers prompt Chelsea, Que., residents to blame regional government

Some residents in Chelsea, Que., say their regional government's decision to breach dams last fall has led to a series of beaver deaths.

4 beaver carcasses found since regional federation of municipalities breached dams last fall, residents say

In a dark, forested area in Chelsea, Que., north of Ottawa, Sam Seymour gestured toward the pond where his family and his community have skated in winter months for 17 years.

"See how shallow it is? Not very deep at all," he told the CBC's Stu Mills. "And this is where we've found the dead beavers."

Resident David Newing says he thinks the region partially broke the wrong beaver dams after he complained about high water levels in one small pond behind his house. (Stu Mills/CBC)
Seymour is one of a number of Chelsea residents who claim that orders from the regional Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais government have resulted in the deaths of several beavers.

Last fall, the region ordered two dams in the area to be partially broken, which caused water levels in a series of connected ponds to drop.

The area, near Musie and Du Roc Ouest roads, is a popular spot for skating in winter months. It also features a series of trails popular with hikers and cyclists.

The region's move to partially break the two dams came after Chelsea resident David Newing, who has lived in the area since 1992, lodged a complaint about trouble he was having with one small dam behind his house.

He found that his well water was discoloured, and traced the problem to rising water levels in a small pond regulated by a small beaver dam behind his house.

Resident Sam Seymour, who has lived in Chelsea since 1998, said he had to wade into the water earlier in May to fish out beaver carcasses he found. (Stu Mills/CBC)
Newing said he believes the regional authority busted the wrong beaver dams in response to his complaint.

"It's either very stupid or purposeful," Newing said.

Seymour, who has lived in Chelsea since 1998, said he had to wade into the water earlier in May to fish out beaver carcasses he found.

He believes the beavers starved over the winter after the water levels were lowered and their underwater food source was exposed, he said.

The regional government manages water levels in its territory to reduce the risk of property damage caused by beaver dams that could suddenly break, an agency spokesperson said.

The agency has not yet responded to questions posed by CBC about the partially broken dams.

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