Advocacy Project – Beavers in Saskatoon

How it came to be an Advocacy Project:

We began advocating for the use of non-lethal management for the beavers along our beautiful river after we had a young beaver escape to the river.   As we toured the riverbanks each morning in the coming weeks, we met many interesting people.  Unfortunately, one of them was a man who was paid to lethally trap these animals at their lodges.

We did not realize that Saskatoon “actively manages” the beaver populations within City limits.  Given the number of alternative options for dealing with unwanted beaver activity, LSWR began to advocate that the city consider such non-lethal options.

Beavers provide such a benefit to watersheds by retaining water on the land and nourishing the ecosystem to increase biodiversity.   Biodiversity is the key ingredient to survival on this planet, and keeping us all alive, together.

What we have done:

We have had conversations with individuals at MVA, asking that they deny permission to kill beavers under their jurisdiction.

With significant support from Eco-Friendly Sask, we had a volunteer attend a Beaver Symposium in Alberta to learn all the techniques for non-lethal management of beavers.  Our hope is that he will be able to provide workshops to those interested in learning these skills.   We continue to build on this project, moving slowly due to significant history of using the beaver as a “resource”, seeing it as a “nuisance” and the common tendency to shoot rather than expend energy to co-exist.

In partnership with the School of Environment & Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, we participated in developing a survey on campus about Attitudes toward Beavers which can be expanded and applied to the public in the city at some point. The final report on the Beaver Survey can be seen here:
Perceived Impact of Beavers

In 2020, the SOS Trees advocacy group initiated a meeting between MVA, the City of Saskatoon, LSWR and the University to discuss and encourage finding non-lethal co-existence strategies for our beavers.   This resulted in a Tree-Wrapping project spear-headed and organized by MVA.   Volunteers from various groups spent an evening wrapping vulnerable trees with hardware cloth.  The MVA had identified a location below the Diefenbaker centre as a particularly vulnerable area due to the beaver lodge there, and the availability of newly planted University trees.   We are grateful to all who have accepted the challenge of learning to live with our aquatic neighbours.  We will be grateful for their existence in the future as we feel more effects of climate change and the potential droughts.

What you can do:

There are many additional areas to expand and explore for this advocacy project, and we welcome all volunteers and supporters to assist us in getting the word out about the Amazing benefits of Beavers!!

Please Contact us to get more information on how you can help!