- Meredith Spryszak
Urban Beavers Attract Attention
If you’ve visited the Seine River recently, you may have noticed some impressive handiwork courtesy of Canada’s favorite furry engineer — the beaver! A beaver dam has been built a few bends south of Léo-Rémillard school, with a beaver lodge lying just south of the dam on the east bank.
Beavers build dams when it is necessary for their survival. When water levels in rivers are too low to meet the needs of beavers, dams raise upstream water to higher levels. This deeper water provides better protection from predators. Also, since deeper water is less likely to freeze to the bottom when temperatures drop, dams ensure that beavers can swim from their lodges to their underwater food supplies during the winter.
Beavers are not the only beneficiaries of their hard work. The wetlands that beavers create support a variety of resident wildlife, and many migratory birds rely on these wetlands for nesting and feeding. The deeper water created by dams can often support year-round fish populations for mammals and birds to feed upon. As such, humans can thank beavers for increasing wildlife viewing opportunities! Dams also act as filtration systems by trapping sediment, which improves downstream water quality. After beavers abandon an area, the sediment left behind can improve soil fertility.
While beaver dams are critical to beaver survival and benefit the surrounding ecosystem, they are sometimes seen as a nuisance by kayakers and canoeists who experience a disruption in their route. If you encounter a beaver dam on the river and wish to continue onward, it is best to portage around the dam in order to avoid damaging the dam or your boat. We encourage you to report any beaver dam sightings (or anything else of interest!) using this website’s contact form.