Protect Beavers & Their Ponds

HB 1343, the Beaver Protection Bill

The bill had a hearing in the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee on January 30, 2018. Although supporters of the bill out-numbered its detractors and those supporters gave good testimony about the importance of beaver ponds to the ecosystem the bill failed to pass. It was voted unanimously to go to Interim Study. This is a little bit better than being voted Inexpedient to Legislate. After the recommendations of the study we can present a similar bill next year, which we will do. Stay tuned.

 

Open Letter Asking for Support of HB 1343

We are writing this letter to ask for your support of HB 1343, the Beaver Protection Bill. This proposed 2018 legislation, sponsored by Representative Carolyn Matthews (R-Raymond), will require the Department of Fish & Game to list non-lethal, humane and effective alternatives to trapping beavers when their natural behavior interferes with roadways on their website and will create a reporting structure to track beaver dam conflicts. The benefits of HB 1343 are:

  1. The improved reporting process, specific to beavers, will encourage landowners and wildlife control operators to consider using non-lethal solutions when dealing with this important keystone species. It will be a gentle reminder that dam or beaver removal are only to be done for the protection of property, or otherwise a special permit is required.
  2. HB 1343 supports landowners and neighborhoods that have chosen to coexist with beavers and who want to see their “waterfront” property and scenic wetland protected when no clear threat of damage to property is present.
  3. The new reporting structure will provide NH Fish and Game wildlife managers, environmentalists, and others who work to protect wild places with valuable data.
  4. HB 1343 adds beaver pipes and fences to any advice that the Fish and Game Department provides when inquiries are made, and on its website. Since the destruction of beavers and their dams are seldom long-term solutions to beaver control, information on alternatives can lead to cost savings and are generally welcomed.

What HB 1343 does not do is infringe on landowner rights. Landowner rights are protected under Section 207 when dealing with a wild animal that is causing property damage. HB1343 does not interfere with this landowner protection. Landowners only need to report, in more detail than is required now, as to why they solved the beaver issue in the way they did. This reporting is done after solving the problem and does not interfere with solving the problem.

Beavers are important, as you know, because they are the only species doing a specific job, unique just to them. They build habitat that many other species not only enjoy, but that they need. Many species, including many of greatest conservation need, use beaver created habitat to survive.

Recently, at the December NH Fish and Game Commission meeting, beaver importance was mentioned when having a discussion of man-made dams failing around the State. The Director said many of these dams were constructed years ago when beavers were basically gone from the state because of market hunting, and habitat was needed for waterfowl and fisheries.

Thousands of beavers are trapped and killed every year in NH and we can and should do more to protect them and the habitat they build and create.  Beaver created habitat is mentioned in The Wildlife Action Plan over and over as habitat needed for many “Species of Greatest Concern”, such as the American Black Duck, New England Cottontail, Ruffled Grouse, American Woodcock, Blanding’s and Spotted Turtles, Mink Frog, some minnow species and Banded Sunfish. Many other species live and thrive in beaver habitat. American Indians called the beaver the “sacred center” of the lands because rich beaver habitats are home to many mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, birds and ducks.

We sincerely hope you will consider supporting HB 1343 as it will be a step forward in the state’s continued protection of beaver habitat.

Respectfully,

Voices of Wildlife in NH Board of Directors

For any questions or comments please write us an email at voicesofwildlifeinnh@gmail.com 

For more info about the importance of beaver and their ponds: https://www.beaverinstitute.org/

Benefits that beavers provide:
  1. Beavers are a keystone species because of the many ecological services they provide to other species. The NH Wildlife Action Plan mentions beaver created habitat often as habitat needed for many NH species including some of those having Greatest Conservation Need such as the Spotted Turtle and the New England Cottontail Rabbit.
  2. Plant life that grows in beaver ponds removes toxins from the water. Beaver dams have been shown to remove nitrogen and phosphates. Water downstream from a beaver pond is cleaner than the water upstream.  https://www.scncedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151021144706.htm
  3. Beaver ponds mitigate drought by recharging the water table. (Visit our Recent Posts)
  4. Beaver dams help lesson flooding by providing natural ‘speed bumps’ to slow the water down during heavy rainstorms.

The NH Animal Rights League provides an up to $500 matching grant for humane solutions, such as flow devices, instead of using the traditional method of trapping and killing. Download the  Beaver matching grant application Contact nhanimalrightsleague@gmail.com with any questions.