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Dealing with the dam problem: Lewisporte hopes to trap beavers to prevent flooding

I was a beaver trapper for eight years.
The Lewisporte town council has now hired a licensed trapper to remove beavers from the Scissors Cove pond area and to destroy their dams, to prevent flooding in future. There was serious flooding in the town in 2016.

Council worried dams are creating flood risks

LEWISPORTE, N.L. —

In hopes of preventing future floods, the town of Lewisporte is tackling a beaver problem.

At their town council meeting Jan. 29, Coun. Stephen Hollet expressed concern around beaver dams in the watershed area near the Scissors Cove brook area.

With more frequent heavy rainfalls in recent years, and with memories of the flooding in 2016, the town council suspects these dams are playing a significant role in rising water levels and increasing flood risks.

“We never had that level of flooding before, even with storms like Hurricane Igor,” Hollett told The Central Voice. “The only thing that’s changed in that area is the presence of dams. We’ve noticed heavy rains are starting to occur more than what we use to see.

“It could elevate to an urgent issue. We want to protect that area and potential developments in that area.”

The town has contacted Ewen Whiteway, a licensed trapper in Lewisporte, to trap the beavers and remove them from the brook. According to Coun. Ken Tucker, while this may alleviate some of the problem, there is a risk that the beavers will return again.

“It’s only a temporary solution [if the beavers return],” Tucker said. “I think we’ll have to put in a plan of monitoring the area once or twice a year, particularly in the late summer and fall. It’s in our best interest to stay on top of the issue.”

Whiteway was contacted by the Central Voice but was not available by deadline. Tucker says the trapping efforts are expected to get underway in mid-February.

The town council also decided to write a letter to Dept. of Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne to seek input from the province. Because of the flood risks these dams pose to the infrastructure and safety of the community, Coun. Perry Pond says the department holds some responsibility.

The department said in an emailed statement that they deal with furbearers on a case by case basis, and while there are options for conservation officers to tackle the problem, hiring local trappers is the preferred solution during winter months.


 

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