In 2008, $15,000 in capital outlay was appropriated by the legislature to purchase beaver mitigation equipment to address numerous complaints reported each year. This initiative was vetoed by Governor Richardson.
New Mexico is home to beavers, a highly industrious and important animal whose activities sometimes frustrate landowners. Beaver dams sometimes cause problems by blocking culverts, streams and ditches. It is also natural for beavers to fell trees for food and damming activity.
Destroying dams and killing beavers is not an effective long-term solution because beavers have an instinctive response to patch up their dams where they hear the sound of running water. They persistently rebuild. While beaver activity can cause problems, the presence of beavers can drastically improve a landscape by creating valuable wildlife habitat and raising the water table when mitigated—an important benefit for drought-stricken New Mexico. Beaver dams also serve to filter water by trapping sediment and organic and toxic materials, and they prevent major flooding by the creation of ponds that temper flood events after storms.
Installing low-cost and essentially permanent “beaver deceivers,” flow devices and tree protection fencing that will allow beavers to remain in an area without compromising roads, bridges, culverts and other structures.
Flow devices and “beaver deceivers” that can be made and installed relatively quickly (in one afternoon) and inexpensively (with about $500 in materials) have the potential to allow water to flow in the presence of beavers. Flow devices are already working in New Mexico. Flow device solutions are non-lethal, long-term (20-year lifespan with minimal maintenance) and effective. Personnel from agencies such as NMDGF, N.M. State Parks, N.M. Environment Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were recently trained in site evaluation, and beaver device construction and installation. The training was conducted by Skip Lisle of Vermont-based Beaver Deceivers, International. With just a nominal amount of equipment, problems posed by the presence of beavers can often be quickly and permanently addressed.
* 53 beaver depredation complaints were reported in 2007.