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A live-and-let-live compromise for land-flooding beavers

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Journal staff

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation and neighbouring Suncor Energy think they’ve found an agreeable solution to one big dam problem.

Beavers moved into the area in 2011 and built dams on forested lands that caused flooding and even impacted operations at the refinery’s East Tank Farm.

“This was causing a lot of damage to trees in the area as well as safety issues for our community members” said Jessica Pickett, Aamjiwnaang’s lands manager.

“And the flooding caused infrastructure concerns.”

Suncor workers tried breaking up the dams to drain the land but the beavers quickly rebuilt them.

Trapping and relocation was considered, but given the animal’s territorial nature and the attractive habitat it was concluded they would simply return, Suncor’s newsletter reported in November.

Earlier this year the First Nation brought together several local industry partners and they came up with a new plan.

A species-at-risk technician with the band suggested building dam bypasses, and corrugated pipe made of heavy plastic was installed beneath the dams, allowing some water to flow through the area without disturbing the beavers.

So far so good, Pickett said.

“It was nice to see everyone sitting down, working together and listening to each other,” she said.

“By drawing on the expertise of everyone and valuing each other’s contributions, we were able to address an issue of mutual concern.”

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