RRCA installs beaver baffles at conservation areas

beaver baffles installed at charlottenburgh park
RRCA staff installing a beaver baffle at a dam under a boardwalk at Charlottenburgh Park.

SDG COUNTIES, Ontario - The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) recently installed five flow regulation devices, known as beaver baffles, at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area and Charlottenburgh Park in a bid for successful co-existence between beavers and humans.

“The baffles were installed in creeks or channels at our conservation areas where beavers regularly construct dams that can sometimes lead to nuisance flooding,” said Brendan Jacobs, stewardship specialist at RRCA. “Beaver baffles are a simple yet ingenious solution to help make sure beavers and their dams can continue to be a valuable part of our conservation areas’ ecosystems while minimizing flooding to nature trails and adjacent lands.”

Installing baffles involves notching problematic dams and laying down a flexible pipe connected to a cage located upstream of the dam. The beavers then repair the notch while leaving the pipe in place. The pipe ensures an appropriate amount of water flows through the dam and the cage prevents the beavers from blocking the pipe’s intake while also diffusing the pull of the water’s flow that typically triggers the beavers’ damming instincts.

As some of the beaver dams can be observed from publicly accessible nature trails, the baffles now also serve as educational and demonstration sites within the conservation areas, with help from interpretive signage.

“Visitors can now see the baffles in action, and some may even be inspired to resolve beaver-human conflicts in a similar way on their own properties,” said Jacobs.

The beaver baffle project has been made possible thanks to a grant by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and funding support from the Government of Ontario.

“We’re proud to support Raisin Region Conservation Authority’s wetlands project which helps to restore this provincially significant wetland back to life,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “With over 40,000 visitors annually, the Cooper Marsh within Charlottenburgh Marsh is a great example of how ongoing collaboration and investment can connect even more people to the great outdoors.”

The RRCA currently owns and manages three conservation areas: Cooper Marsh, Charlottenburgh Park, and Gray’s Creek. These public green spaces welcome a combined 160,000 estimated visitors in 2023. The RRCA reminds visitors that some trails at Cooper Marsh are currently closed for maintenance but are set to reopen on July 12.