Cranbrook, BC (Monday, July 25, 2022) – The City will begin removal of a beaver dam at Idlewild Park following the recommendations of engineering consultants and the Provincial Dam Safety Officer.
In July 2021, staff first noticed that a beaver had taken up residence in the Idlewild reservoir and was beginning to build a dam upstream of the Idlewild pedestrian bridge and raising water levels on the upstream properties. Discussions to relocate the beaver have been ongoing since.
Later in the winter, the Provincial Dam Safety Officer contacted the City about the operation of the Idlewild Dam. A subsequent inspection by the Provincial Dam Safety Officer included a recommendation to remove the beaver dam to ensure the continued safe operation of the Idlewild Dam. Although the City has not been formally ordered to remove the beaver dam at this time, the Province could order the City to do so.
BBA Engineering, who designed the Idlewild Dam in 2016, was consulted following the recommendation by the Provincial Dam Safety Officer. BBA Engineering also recommended the removal of the beaver dam to protect the Idlewild Dam.
In June 2022, Keefer Ecological Services Ltd. was contracted to lower the beaver dam and reduce its size of due to significant upstream flooding and damage to adjacent private property. Staff noted the foundation of the walking bridge was also starting to be damaged due to the overflow. Subsequently, the beaver dam was lowered by Keefer Ecological Services Ltd. and City staff have continued to monitor for any beaver dam rebuilding activity.
As of July 2022, using cameras monitoring the site, there has been no beaver activity.
The decision to remove the beaver dam was not taken lightly. City staff will begin work with a local biologist to determine the best timing to complete removal of the dam. At this time, the City will not be removing any beavers in Idlewild Park, although the biologist or the Province may deem the relocation of the beavers as a necessity prior to the dam’s removal.
City Council and staff will review the decision on the beaver dam in Fall 2022 and provide any additional updates as to whether the dam is rebuilt or any future action regarding the dam or the beavers will be taken.