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Saturday , 18 September 2021

M.D. looking at strengthening beaver control as issues persist

The M.D. of Bonnyville is continuing to work on the beaver control issues affecting the municipalities’ infrastructure.

An updated beaver control policy will come back to M.D. council with potential options to help tackle the issue after a motion passed during Wednesday’s meeting.

General Manager of Environmental and Protective Services Matt Janz provided a brief update on the growing population of beavers this season.

Janz said the M.D. will work with local trappers once trapping season begins in October.

“They’ll be out there sooner than later to help try and get rid of these pests that have been causing us nothing but trouble over the last couple years. That will be an ongoing project for the winter months,” said Janz during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“They [beavers] cost a lot of people a lot of money. They flooded acres of land. What we focus mainly on is our infrastructure. We have to protect our infrastructure so our culverts are cleaned, we have flowing water, we don’t get our roads wet so then they fall apart,” he said.

Janz emphasized that the beavers are not the “M.D.’s beavers” and that farmers may have to take care of the ones causing them issues, which councillor Ben Fadeyiw echoed on The Morning After.

“Some of these guys are costing us millions of dollars, so up to date the M.D. has been spending $240,000 on beaver control from trapping to blowing up dams to everything else…our farmers are having some issues with their infrastructure. We try to encourage them to catch them. We get the phone calls, ‘Hey your beavers are causing us problems.’ Well they’re not the M.D. beavers,” said Fadeyiw.

Janz said the M.D. does blast dams at a no fee service for producers, but some of the onus will have to put on the farmers to consistently fix the problem.

Councillor Dana Swigart didn’t think the M.D. is doing enough and suggested an incentive program, similar to the wolf and coyote reduction program.

However, there is little appetite for such a program, Fadeyiw said, because it’s hard to know where those beavertails are coming from.

“We want to target the beavers that are causing the problem. Not just any beaver problem. A lot of beavers are good for the system and what they do. We don’t want people going out there and catching beavers or shooting beavers that aren’t causing the problem,” he said.

“So how do you identify where that beavertail came from? You really don’t. He made some good points. We thought hey, let’s put a bounty out there, but that won’t work.”

Janz added during the meeting that the M.D. does give incentives to contracted trappers who have licenses.

“I don’t know if we’re doing enough,” said Swigart.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.