Do I want this new neighbor?

Noticed lots of ripples in the water along my shoreline on a perfectly calm day. Thought migrating waterfowl were visiting. Nope. A beaver lodge is under construction. It’s technically on the DNR property next door, but right at my property line.

Unsure if I should contact the DNR. That site is a boat launch so the underwater stash could pose some problems come spring/summer. Don’t know why he didn’t choose a secluded cove to the north.

Any suggestions? Would he be relocated if reported?

Probably could be moved
They relocate beavers by taking down their lodges all the time in the Adirondacks, where the beavers choose places that could cause issues. I think there is a certain time of year they do it, but beavers are plenty resilient to build somewhere else. They have a few structures around culverts in Keene Valley to stop the beavers from building there. One homeowner has a marsh portion of their property that was not marsh when they bought the place. But after a few beaver dams it is.

Don’t do anything right now

– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 10:46 AM EST –

If the beaver has made progress in house-building, let it be. Winter is almost here, boating season is done, and it would be a bad time to force him to start over. he's getting an awfully late start as it is, and might not survive the winter anyway.

Worry about the problem if he's still there in the spring.

Also, being that the site is so accessible, it's likely that a fur trapper will "solve your problem for you" in the coming weeks.

I agree…
… with Guideboatguy. Kindly let him be, at least for now.


Leave it alone…
It’s on DNR property; it’s their problem.

It seemingly is presenting no problem for you; don’t see why it would. Leave it be.

I’d probably enjoy getting out my binoculars & watching it coming & going through the winter.

If it’s a problem in the Spring; once again, DNRs problem, not yours.In the Spring it will likely move on.


I agree
with the idea of letting him winter where he is. The positive effects of beavers on the ecology is rather remarkable and you can find a lot of information on same online. Sadly, they are not the best about asking permission before building and young beavers are more interested in building a lodge than they are in building in the perfect spot.

Me being me, I began caring a lot more about wildlife quite a while ago. I had a huge emotional response once after catching a large bass (20-25 lbs.) and bringing it home. As I set it down to clean it, for the first time I took a long look at the beautiful color, the perfect symmetry of its form, and I felt what might almost be described as a religious experience. It became clear to me why ancient cultures often left a part of the animal behind as an homage to nature for providing such largess and to appease the spirit of those they killed.

I haven’t (intentionally) killed anything since.

So if it were me, I’d leave the animal be and watch and learn, but I can understand why others would want the nuisance moved.



– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 2:06 PM EST –

I agree with the others. I would leave it be for now, it probably won't interfere with much now at the end of season.

One of two things will probably happen. If it's a public launch all of the commotion come spring will probably incurage the Beavers to find a better location.

Notice I said beavers, that's because there is rarely one Beaver, they live in family groups in dens together. If not a group now there will

These things get large pretty fast, if its a public access, won't take long to be noticed and targeted by a fur harvester. May already be on someone's radar as trappers use streams and lakes as corridors to lay there trap lines along and launches as there access points.

I work for Missouri department of conservation. I can tell you that most states have a pretty low threshold for tolerating Beaver damage simply because Beavers can do so much damage so fast and Beavers are so plentiful over most of there range. Most states that are inhabited by Beavers don't have uninhabited areas to "relocate" Beavers to. Move a problem Beaver to a location that already has Beavers and it will be killed or driven off by the local resident Beavers. Also relocating just seems to cause problems for another location. Problem Beavers are most often eliminated, much easier and cheaper option than relocating.

Unless the Beavers damage or begin to undermine the launch with there den or block access with the huge pile of sticks that they cut and store around the entrance to there den just leave it be. Problem will probably solve its self.

John R

Sound advice

– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 12:10 PM EST –

Well, I only need enough room on my shoreline for a 4' x 16' dock so I don't have to get my feet wet. I leave the shoreline natural; lots of milkweed on shore and reeds growing in the water. Little wonder the beaver likes it as the reeds are part of its diet.

Trapping season is now tll 4/17/16, so am saying nothing. Just can't do that. Maybe he'll do me a favor over the winter and take out a few saplings growing on my bluff. Reciprocity: my silence for a bit of bush/ tree trimming.

Agree it will be fun to watch. Luckily I can see the lodge from the house.

Am guessing he will relocate as soon as that site starts getting active. But what he leaves behind will be a nice addition to a protective ecosystem for the fish, frogs, etc. that will be born this spring.

Thanks. I like the do no harm approach.

Edited to add the DNR launch is just gravel/Afton stone. No ramp, just a steep drive up/down. The lodge is at the far southern end, in the center of a thick stand of reeds. I noticed it because I'm looking down. Not sure how noticeable it is from the beach.

agree with GBG

– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 1:03 PM EST –

There is no explaining beavers. And you are asking for trouble trying to break up a beaver dam every night in the early winter (especially with your shoulder, young lady!).

I'd wait until spring and then re-assess, if it's a problem report to DNR. I only say this because of the proximity to the launch.

Hey - did you ever hear the story about the DEQ notifying a beaver family that it's dam wasn't a permitted use?

INTERNET: http://www.deq.state.mi

December 17, 1997


Mr. Ryan DeVries 2088 Dagget Pierson, MI 49339

Dear Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023-1 T11N, R10W, Sec. 20, Montcalm County

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files show that no permits have been issued.

Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated. The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris dams and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 1998. Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request, or any further unauthorized activity on the site, may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter.

Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


David L. Price
District Representative Land and Water Management Division

Dear Mr. Price:
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20; Montcalm County

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.

First of all, Mr. Ryan DeVries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan — I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, nor authorize, their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris." I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated.

My first concern is — aren't the dam beavers entitled to dam legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said dam representation — so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names. If you want the dam stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition — contact the dam beavers — but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter-being unable to read English) — be sure you read them their dam Miranda rights first.

As for me, I am not going to cause more dam flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers — be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this dam State — I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy, or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green, and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond. So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and there will be no dam way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then. In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem: bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!) Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.

Stephen L. Tvedten

Make sure that beaver doesn’t cause
you to run afoul of the code enforcement officer in your town.

a friend here with waterfront property was cited for removal of shoreline vegetation. ( its illegal within 100 feet of shore) The town officer had just inspected from a boat pretty far out. Had binoculars been used, who did the tree felling would have been obvious.

And the perps built a McLodge upstream… again paying no attention to human rules!

I noticed that you said lodge, a lodge should cause very few problems. Beavers tend to mostly use dens in my part of the Midwest, a habit that gets them into alot of trouble. Dens are probably the leading cause of Beaver human conflict. Undermined roads, highways, railroad beds, punctured lake dams and collapsed banks.

Sit back and enjoy the Beavers while you have the opportunity!

My 2 cents John R

Didn’t know beavers still trapped
I thought beaver fur was no longer a valued commodity and that beaver trapping was something that is no longer done.

I always get a bit of a thrill when I see a beaver on the river, but I also get distressed over the damage they do to forests. On some rivers there are acres of trees downed by beavers. Perhaps it is because it is in a state park, but I sort of thought that beavers don’t have any predators and, with their need to constantly be gnawing on trees, that once they get established it is devastating for the nearby forest.

If you have trees near the river that you value, you should probably enclose the tree trunks with some sort of wire fence. Otherwise, you may see your trees in the damn dam. Or just felled, to keep a beavers teeth in check.


Ancient story
I think it was on this site where I once read a story of a fellow trying to relocate some beavers off his property. Ultimately, he used explosives. He failed to relocate the beavers, but the story was hilarious, and I wish I had saved a copy. Anybody remember the details?



– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 3:48 PM EST –

Beavers are still trapped extensively all across North America along with all other furbearers. Granted, fur is no longer as valuable as it once was but its still persued by many many hardcore outdoors men and women. Many find fur more plentiful than ever due to the shrinking pool of proficent trappers.

Many trappers that I meet through my work tell me that they continue in there sport as much out of tradition as for the monetary rewards. Make no mistake there are still many people who earn alot of money every winter trapping furbearers.

I agree on the point about the trees, if you have trees near the water that you are attached to and Beavers take up residence nearby you will end up losing some.

John R

That was JackL’s idea…

– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 5:05 PM EST –

to go down there and tear it down. :)

No way. There's 52 RR tie steps down the bluff to the beach. No railing. I could probably get down and back up safely, but the doc's lecture still stings my ears.

That lodge was started last night as I first noticed the beaver swimming around the reeds in the afternoon, just before my kayak was moved to the pool for the winter. He must have been working on the lower level as there was nothing above water. Till this morning.

Funny story about the DEQ. Alas, they do little enforcement on inland lakes up here. In the past few years two monster "weekend cottages" have been built here. I've named them "Wretched Excess" and "Ostentation Plantation." Major violations of county green belt zoning and state inland lakes and streams laws, but no enforcement.

We're small fish in a big pond.

There’s a guy down the road that traps beavers and sells the pelts. Pretty sure if I ask him to stay away, he will.

My new neighbor has been very busy collecting stems and roots for his pantry. While he’s welcome to all of the little stuff I have, his menu selection is much better on the state land as it’s heavily wooded.

caution lite
There was a dam and lodge on local creek. It was flooding the farmers field. They put one of those yellow flashing lights you see on traffic barriers on top of the lodge and the beavers moved up stream. I see them often very nice.


And if you value any of the trees
on your land, I still recommend some how to get it removed.

Have you ever seen some of the beautiful perfectly healthy maples and other trees that have been brought down in a very short time by a beaver?

Jack L

we’ll visit your
beaver n ask if we should remove you.

beaver are ambitious

– Last Updated: Dec-07-15 10:41 AM EST –

We spotted a beaver lodge and the beginnings of a dam along the north bank of the Monongahela River 10 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh a few years ago. The Mon there (a major shipping channel full of barges) averages 12 feet deep, nearly half a mile wide and has an average flow of 12,000 cfs. This was one very ambitious beaver. The project apparently proved too much for him because, sadly, we found his dead body about 50 feet from the lodge.