Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Michigan
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Michigan Project

Beaver response to non-lethal water control structures

August 2023 - December 2026


Participating Agencies


American beavers (Castor canadensis) are broadly distributed throughout the Great Lakes region, and their tendency to alter water flow through dam building has positive and negative consequences (Taylor and Singleton 2014). Lethal control is often used to regulate beaver activity in areas experiencing negative impacts (e.g., to private property, infrastructure; Parker and Rosell 2003) but public interests in non-lethal approaches is growing. Recent literature suggests that water control structures, if installed and managed correctly, can reduce damage while keeping beavers resident. In areas heavily populated by humans, controlling water flow while keeping beavers resident (as opposed to exporting the flooding problem to another locale) is a desirable management outcome. In collaboration with partners from USDA Wildlife Services, we are radio-tracking beavers at locations where water-control structures are being installed to evaluate how to most effectively install and maintain flow structures while keeping beavers resident.