Beaver baffiling

Beavers which had built a dam flooding a trail in Caliper Lake Provincial Park near Nestor Falls have been successfully “baffled” by members of the Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club’s junior conservationists.
On Saturday morning, the groups, their guides, and a park employee hiked 1.5 km into the bush with their equipment to trick the beavers into letting water flow through the dam with the “beaver baffler” method, which had been successful on two other dams.
After rolling two 250-foot lengths of weeping tile along the trail and carrying tools and weights, the crew began to dig a hole in the dam, which was about four metres high and several metres thick.
Taking turns, the conservationists battled the 32-degree C temperatures and dug a trench into the old dam.
Once the water broke through, because of the depth of the beaver pond above the dam, it rushed through the opening, which soon grew to about three metres wide and about one metre deep.
The conservationists body-surfed the rushing water before heading to the beach for lunch and to wait for the current to subside.
But the pond was so big that when they returned, the water was still cascading through the breach. And the current still was so strong the group had to battle it as they continued to set up the weeping tile.
Four lengths of four-inch weeping tile (perforated pipe), each 41 metres long, were wired together. Then two tire rims were tied at the upper end of the tile to hold it in place in the pond and 10 brake rotors were tied along the length of the tile to weigh it down.
A pail was tied over the tile’s end to prevent the beavers from plugging it once it was submerged.
The current was so strong the entire weeping tile was almost washed downstream before it could be strung out in the pond by the conservationists.
Lee and Ross Donaldson then paddled the end out in a canoe, almost losing control in the current, before dropping the weighted end into the middle of the pond.
The lower end was placed under the surface of the water about 31 metres downstream.
That night, park employee Scott Lamphiear, who had assisted with the project, noted the beavers had filled in the breach in the dam over top of the perforated pipe.
If successful, the depth of the dam will remain limited as water runs under it through the weeping tile and the beavers, who identify leaks by the sound of running water, will not spot the leak because it is quietly flowing under water.
The “beaver baffler” is a humane way of preventing the dams from flooding trails and roads without killing the animals or destroying habitat.