AS SEEN IN Community Assets, Written by Industry Expert Gavin Ferris, Ecologist, SOLitude Lake Management
The North American Beaver, Castor canadensis, is a truly remarkable animal. It is common knowledge that beavers build dams, and that the water held back by these dams provides them with protection from predators. What few people know is that their instinct to build these dams approaches the point of outright neurosis. When a beaver sees or hears water flowing, he is obsessed by a desire to make it not flow.
In the wild, this little quirk is highly admirable. Beaver ponds provide vital habitat for waterfowl, amphibians, reptiles, and numerous wetland plant species. As beavers were once nearly wiped out across the continent this valuable ecosystem service became all too rare, and many species suffered. Beavers are now becoming common again, and thankfully these key wetland habitats are reappearing throughout their range.
In a stormwater pond, however, this trait becomes a major character flaw. These ponds are carefully designed to allow water to flow at a specific rate to allow the ponds to be maintained at the correct water level. Any obstruction to the pond’s outflow hinders this operation, resulting in improper stormwater discharge. If allowed to persist, the inevitable flooding can lead to property damage.