Saskatchewan

Beavers are a nightmare for some in rural Saskatchewan

Unusually wet weather in Saskatchewan over the past few years has led to an explosion in the number of beavers, and their dam-building skills are plugging culverts and causing flooding headaches for farmers and municipalities.

37,645 beaver tails turned in under latest control program

Adorable to some, loathed by others, beavers and their dam-building ways are a concern in many in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

Unusually wet weather in Saskatchewan over the past few years has led to an explosion in the number of beavers, and their dam-building skills are plugging culverts and causing flooding headaches for farmers and rural municipalities.

"Guess what I'm doing right now?" Brian Patterson, who lives in the rural municipality of Kellross about 130 kilometres northeast of Regina, told CBC when contacted to learn more about beaver problems where he lives. "[I'm] unplugging a culvert."

Patterson, a former councillor for the R.M. is among many in Saskatchewan who have been kept busy by beavers.

Where there is a flow of water, beavers will use their natural abilities to build a dam.

Their activities often lead to plugged culverts which, in turn, cause flooding.

Patterson said keeping the beavers in check is a constant struggle. One day he clears the culvert and by the next day it's plugged up again.

The beaver is a formidable engineer. (Hinterland Who's Who/YouTube)

"It's kind of a nightmare," he said, noting that the R.M. is already dealing with flooding from excess rain and runoff.

In 2014, as part of a beaver control program, 1,804 beaver tails were turned in to the R.M. of Kellross. That is more than the population of the area.

Patterson figures damage from beavers is costing the R.M. tens of thousands of dollars.

Provincially, beaver numbers are up as well.

The beaver control program is an initiative of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, with help from the province.

In 2014, a total of 37,645 beaver tails were turned in — a significant jump (about 56 per cent) from the 27,653 beaver tails submitted in 2013.

Despite the aggravation they cause, Patterson still has a grudging admiration for the engineering feats, and stick-to-it attitude, of the beaver.

"They are good workers," he admitted. "They're hard workers that's for sure. They don't give up."

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