CFN – Well Cornwallites, history has been made. After twenty five years of following the same barbaric practices the city of Cornwall has finally begun the progressive move forward in wildlife protection. I am honoured to announce to you that Guindon Park has officially begun the pilot project of abandoning the trap first method of managing beaver related problems in our city.
Adrian Nelson of The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals based in Vancouver arrived on Monday armed with their generous offer to help manage the situation in Guindon Park, free of charge.
On Tuesday morning we met at the park with Stephen Alexander and Christine Lefebvre of the Parks and Recreation department as well as Jim and Jean from municipal works. They gave us a tour of the park and pointed out the problem areas and concerns as well as explaining the other issues throughout the city. They came with an open mind and were very welcoming and appreciative of Adrian’s presence. Adrian was excellent at addressing their concerns and assuring them that the method he uses to manage beaver problems would be the most effective and humane option.
Tuesday evening we were joined by Mike Callahan, who made the six hour trek from Massachusetts to add his expertise to our mission. Since 1998, Mike has successfully resolved approximately 1000 beaver problems in north eastern United States. His organization, Beaver Solutions, is the undisputed leader in the beaver management field. Cornwall was certainly in good hands.
On Wednesday, with the help of supplies from Cornwall Concrete, Home Depot and The TSC store I had the honour of helping Mike and Adrian install the first ever pond leveller and flow device in Cornwall’s history. The concept was surprisingly easy to understand. A large cage is built which houses the intake end of a pipe. The cage is lowered into the pond and a trench is dug through the middle of the beaver dam.
The other end of the pipe is then fed through the dam and covered with sticks and mud. Instinctually, the beavers will suspect a breach in the dam and begin attempting to repair the front of the dam. They can continue to build on it as they wish as the pipe is draining out on the other side therefore eliminating the ability of the water levels to rise. It was the most rewarding feeling to see the water flowing through the dam and before we left the water level had already dropped significantly.
Wednesday evening we were joined by Donna and Garry DuBreuil of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Center. They have been attempting to change the city of Ottawa’s way of thinking in regards to beaver management and were hoping to bring back with the a detailed report on our progress in Cornwall. They were a hoot and we all enjoyed an amazing meal at J&T’s with a lot of beaver related conversation flowing.
On Thursday morning we met with a dozen volunteers and spent the day installing another flow device through another dam as well as an exclusion fence around a culvert that the beaver pond drains into. The fence also has an intake cage sunk out in the pond but it has the added protection of a fence built around the culvert. The beavers are able to build around the fence, thinking they are damming the culvert. The pipe though is flowing through the fence eliminating the ability for the pond level to rise and allowing water to flow freely through the culvert. Just like that, after months of protesting, petitioning and making our beaver loving intentions clear we managed to save an endless number of beaver families and prevent any future damage at the park.
I have never been more proud to live in Cornwall. This week has been one of the most educational and inspiring experiences of my life. With the knowledge we have gained we now come armed with a competent group of compassionate individuals ready to spread these methods throughout the city.
This is not the end of our story though. After a debriefing on Friday with Stephen Alexander we were assured that if and when these devices prove functioning we can then take on the task of spreading the knowledge throughout the entire city. I am extremely confident that next spring my group and I will be busy building our own exclusion fences and pond levellers all over Cornwall!
Wyatt Walsh explains a device.
Imagine the positive attention our beautiful city will receive when others find out how wildlife friendly we have become.
Thank you to everyone that had a role in making this all possible and a special thank you to Mike and Adrian for inspiring me to not only do bigger and better things for my community but to always stand up for what I believe in, no matter how impossible it may seem!