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Nuisance Beaver

Techniques for Controlling Nuisance Beaver

Beaver chewing on a stick in water
Photo by Barb Ward-Blank

The purpose of the Beaver Damage Control Techniques Manual (PDF) is to provide information on the most effective techniques available for resolving beaver/human conflicts. It integrates a wide range of topics and issues pertinent to beaver damage control and serves as a valuable reference tool for members of the public who have beaver damage.

Information includes:

  • history of beaver management in New York State
  • natural history and habits of beavers
  • definition of beaver damage
  • liability concerns
  • permit requirements
  • importance of good landowner/DEC relations
  • standard procedures for handling beaver nuisance complaints
  • methods/options presently available to resolve beaver damage concerns.

Permits for Removal of Beavers and Beaver Materials

Beaver dam on New Pond
Beaver dam at New Pond.
Photo by Scott Smith

Section 11-0505 states that no person is allowed at any time to disturb a beaver's dam, house, or den without written permission from DEC. If the permittee (affected party) does not own or legally control the site where the beaver's dam is located, it is the permittee's responsibility to obtain permission to go on lands he/she does not own or legally control to carry out the permitted actions.

Section 11-0521 authorizes DEC to issue permits for the removal of nuisance beavers. This permit will be issued to the landowner upon whose land the problem is occurring or an adjacent landowner upon whose land the beaver resides. The permittee may designate in writing an agent who will kill the beaver.

Contact your Regional Wildlife Office to apply for a permit.

Article 15 and 24

There is also interaction between the alteration of a beaver dam (Article 11) and freshwater wetland (Article 24) permits. Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law, known as the Freshwater Wetlands Act, deals with the preservation and protection of freshwater wetlands within New York State. Section 24-0701 of this Article outlines situations requiring permits for removal of beaver dams within the protected areas of freshwater wetlands. Regulations governing implementation of Article 24 (NYCRR Part 663) (leaves DEC website) list "removing or breaching beaver's dams" as an activity requiring a permit both within a regulated wetland and its adjacent area. Certain activities, however have been identified as being exempt from Article 24 permit issuance. These include removal or alteration of beaver's dams impacting agricultural activities and removal of beaver's dams causing flooding of existing structures.

Beaver sign: chew marks on a tree
Beaver chew marks.
Photo by Scott Smith

Article 15 of the Environmental Conservation Law pertains to the protection and conservation of the water resources of New York State. Section 15-0501(1) of this Article states that, with certain exceptions, no person or public corporation shall change, modify or disturb the course, channel or bed, or remove any sand, gravel, or other material from the bed or bank of any stream which has been designated by DEC as being "Class C(T)" water or higher class without a permit. If removal of beaver's dams in these protected streams results in any of these disturbances, an Article 15 permit is required.

To accommodate this requirement for Article 15/24 permit issuance, a general Article 15/24 permit for beaver dam alteration has been developed. Where applicable this general Article 15/24 permit should be issued for beaver dam alteration in freshwater wetlands and protected streams.

For more information or to apply for a permit, contact your Regional Wildlife Office.

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