Beaver Management Guidelines

Greystone Association recognizes that beavers mean different things to different homeowners. Some homeowners see the beaver as a nuisance, cutting trees, flooding roads and clogging drainage culverts. However, other Greystone homeowners understand the habits and benefits of beavers and view them as an indispensable and integral part of living in a natural environment, and a majority of homeowners polled are against the trapping and killing of beavers.

With this in mind, and in accordance with Greystone Bylaws and Guidelines ensuring the common use, enjoyment and safety of the common areas, the Greystone Association Beaver Management Guidelines seek to educate homeowners about the habits and benefits of beavers and establishes strategies for diminishing, or even eliminating, beaver problems without killing.  These guidelines will be used by homeowners to protect private property and by Greystone Association to protect trees, culverts and drains on or affecting Greystone common areas.

Habits & Benefits of Beavers

·         Beaver are great pruners. Tree cutting stimulates more growth in many trees, such as willows and crape myrtles. For example, for each willow stem that is cut, three or four will appear in the spring.

·         Beaver clear channels and keep waterways open by creating and deepening their underwater channels.

·         Beaver ponds improve the water quality of our steams and lakes by slowing the drainage of the land and allowing sediment to settle out of turbid waters. Even when beavers finally move on or are removed, their drained ponds continue to provide important benefits. The exposed mud flats provide fertile soils for lush vegetation to promote diverse wildlife habitats. 

·         Beaver dams filter out toxins and solid materials.

·         Beavers prevent flooding.  The beaver has been called the original flood control engineer. By building series of dams across small water courses he has helped to control water levels and reduce floods on those streams.

·         Beaver dams slow erosion.  By building dams, beaver aid materially in reducing soil erosion in certain areas. The running water that enters a beaver pond slows down and automatically drop its load of silt. Otherwise, fine silt suspended in running water would be carried far into the lake.

·         Beavers in streams improved habitats for plants and animals.  The water in beaver ponds encourages plants, insects (particularly mosquito eating dragonflies), birds and provides fish of many kinds with spawning places and/or over-wintering sites.

·         Watching beavers is a great family activity and a good way to interest children in the outdoors. 

Managing Beaver Habits

1.      Homeowners who live on lakes and creeks are strongly encouraged to protect their trees with inexpensive wire cylinder tree wraps or cages. These cylinder cages should be made of 1/2-inch-mesh hardware cloth or heavy wire 2" x 4" fencing. The cylinders should be 3 feet in height and well anchored to the ground to prevent beavers from crawling under. The space between the tree and the wire should be no less than 6 inches and preferably 12 inches. Also, by cutting the horizontal wires at one end next to a vertical wire, and then bending the horizontal wire into a hook, these cages can easily be removed for use on another tree. Trees especially vulnerable to beaver damage are: Aspen , Alder, Birch, Crape Myrtle, Walnut, Cottonwood, Maple, Poplar, Ash, Willow and Apple.

2.      Greystone Association will wrap trees, 6” diameter and greater, along creeks in common area, as described above.

3.      Where wrapping of individual trees is impractical, homeowners are encouraged to fence yards or vegetation areas.  Fences should meet architectural guidelines, and be at least 3 feet high with openings no larger than 4 inches.  Fences that do not meet this criteria, such as a split rail fence, can be effectively lined with 1/2-inch-mesh hardware cloth or heavy wire 2" x 4" fencing.  Many homeowners have had success with low visibility netting and/or 2’ green, scalloped garden fences, but these fences work better as deterrents than solid prevention.

4.      In most cases, beaver lodges and dams should NOT BE DISTURBED, as this only encourages increased beaver activity.  Lodges and dams should be disturbed only if a) they are causing a safety hazard, b) are causing water backup, flooding or otherwise threaten private or common property (including bridges).  

5.      Beaver dams will not be removed, but “deceiver” or bypass devices will be installed where (a) water backup, flooding or other threats to private or common property can be mitigated by such a device, and (b) where the water depth and shoreline height are sufficient to accommodate the device.

6.      Beaver dams will be removed only if (a) dams are causing water backup, flooding or otherwise threaten private or common property and (b) such threats cannot be mitigated by a beaver deceiver, or (c) it is too shallow or water flow is too great for the use of beaver deceivers.

7.      Beavers will not be trapped and killed because it is inhumane, unsafe, expensive, and doesn’t permanently solve the problem.  Beaver are territorial and when a niche is opened, other beaver will fill the niche within a year, often causing more damage by rebuilding lodges and dams.

8.      The Lakes & Grounds Committee is responsible for initiating actions in accordance with these guidelines.  Beaver Management Task Force members should be consulted if a situation is identified that is not clearly handled by the above guidelines. 

What To Do If You Notice Beaver Damage



                   Matoka Snuggs

                   Charleston Management Corp.

                   812 Salem Woods Drive, Suite 202

                   Raleigh , NC 27615

                   847-3003 tel, 848-1548 fax



More Resources on Understanding and Managing Beaver Habits:


Solving Beaver Problems - The Humane Society

Beaver in Urban Habitat - Wildlife Rescue League

Solutions to Beaver/Human Conflicts - Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife

Beaver Management - Conservation Commission of Missouri

Living with Beavers - Urban Wildlife Rescue

Beaver Solutions - Shawsheen River Watershed Association

Compromising with Beaver - King County Wildlife Program

Landowner Guides to Streamside Living - Snohomish County

Presentation to Greystone Board by Stephanie Boyles, Wilidlife Biologist

Non-Lethal Beaver Management - King County

The Clemson Beaver Bond Leveler

Leave the Wetlands to Beaver - National Wildlife Federation

Abrasive Paint Tree Protection

Beaver Behavior