Draft Beaver Dams Management Bylaw

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Landscape picture of a forest, river and Beaver Dam spanning the whole river

The Town of Huntsville is looking at creating a bylaw for management of nuisance beavers and beaver dams in Huntsville. We have developed a draft bylaw as well as a policy and procedure to address the management and we want your feedback on this draft.

Please read the full Draft Beaver Dams Management Bylaw which includes:

  • By-law highlights: general prohibitions regarding flood risks, administration, property entry and inspection, damage to municipal property, Town orders, obstruction and compliance, liability, severability and enforcement
  • Schedule A in the by-law refers to the policy and procedure to address situations and circumstances, emergency situations and risk assessment procedure

Provide your comments below:

The Town of Huntsville is looking at creating a bylaw for management of nuisance beavers and beaver dams in Huntsville. We have developed a draft bylaw as well as a policy and procedure to address the management and we want your feedback on this draft.

Please read the full Draft Beaver Dams Management Bylaw which includes:

  • By-law highlights: general prohibitions regarding flood risks, administration, property entry and inspection, damage to municipal property, Town orders, obstruction and compliance, liability, severability and enforcement
  • Schedule A in the by-law refers to the policy and procedure to address situations and circumstances, emergency situations and risk assessment procedure

Provide your comments below:

Draft Town of Huntsville By-law

Please add your Feedback to the bottom of this by-law draft. 


Town of Huntsville logo


CORPORATION OF THE TOWN OF HUNTSVILLE BY-LAW NO.  2020-XX


Being a By-law Being to adopt a policy respecting the management of nuisance beavers and beaver dams in the Town of Huntsville


WHEREAS pursuant to Section 11 of the Municipal Act, S.0. 2001, c. 25, as amended, the “Municipal Act” authorizes a Municipality to pass by-laws respecting matters within the jurisdiction of drainage and flood control;

AND WHEREAS section 8 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 41, as amended, authorizes a municipality to damage or destroy a beaver dam to protect municipal property;  

AND WHEREAS Part XIV, Sections 425 to 447.9 of the Municipal Act, as amended, gives authority to a municipality to enforce its by-laws including the issuance and enforcement of orders, rights of entry, rights of remedial action and the right to recover its costs;

AND WHEREAS the Council of The Corporation of the Town of Huntsville believes it to be in the public interest to regulate and control flooding that may be caused by Beaver Dams in order to protect public infrastructure and the health and safety of the public; 

AND WHEREAS beaver dams constructed on private property and the damage they may cause due to flooding, breaches and related hazards are the responsibility of the private property owner;

NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Huntsville enacts as follows:

1.0 Definitions

In this By-law:

1.1  “Beaver” means a large semiaquatic broad-tailed rodent that is native to North America. It is noted for its habit of gnawing through tree trunks to fell the trees in order to feed on the bark and build dams.

1.2  “Beaver Dam” means a structure constructed by a Beaver to provide ponds as protection against predators;

1.3  “By-Law” means Corporation of the Town of Huntsville By-Law 2020-XX, short title: “Management of Beaver Dams By-law”

1.4  “By-Law Enforcement Officer” means a person who is appointed by Council to  enforce bylaws enacted and passed by Council;

1.5  "Council" means the Council of The Corporation of the Town of Huntsville;

1.6  “Owner” means the registered Owner of the land and also includes the Owner of the animal and also includes a trustee acting on behalf of the registered Owner, the estate of a registered Owner and a Person with a leasehold interest in the  land;

1.7  “Person” means any human being, association, firm, partnership, incorporated  company, corporation, agent or trustee, and the heirs, executors or other legal representatives of a Person to whom the context can apply, according to law;

1.8  “Director” means a person who is employed by the Town and is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of municipal roads and infrastructure. 

1.9  “Town” means the Corporation of the Town of Huntsville;

2.0 General Prohibitions – Flood Risks

2.1  No Person or Owner shall permit a Beaver Dam or other obstruction on their property that may create a flood risk or threaten health and safety of the general public or which may cause damage to municipal property.

3.0 Administration

3.1  For the purposes of this By-law, a flood risk is created where a Beaver Dam or other obstruction allows water to collect in a manner that might reasonably be expected to cause flooding or other damage to private property, a highway, culverts, bridges, drainage works or other municipal property, if the water collected were to escape.

3.2  If damage to municipal property is likely to occur or has already occurred, the Director may issue an order to have the Beaver Dam removed, and shall forward copies of the same addressed to each Owner of the property so identified by the municipal tax rolls upon which the Beaver Dam is located, and to any occupier of the property to whom the Director considers the order should also be issued. The order may also be posted up in a conspicuous place on the property. Where some damage to municipal property has already occurred, the order may also require the repair of that damage at the cost of the Owner(s).

3.3  If an inspection of a property reveals that the prohibition set out in section 2.1 of this By-law has been or will be breached due to the presence of a Beaver Dam on the property and the Director is of the reasonable opinion that the presence of the Beaver Dam creates a risk to public health and safety that must be remedied immediately, the Town may enter on the property with such employees, agents or contractors and equipment and take all reasonable measures necessary to correct the situation creating the risk to public health and safety. Under such circumstances, notice shall be given to the Owner or occupant of the property as soon as practicable.  

3.4  If it appears to the Director that damage to municipal property is presently occurring or, on reasonable grounds, that protection of municipal property requires immediate action, the order may require immediate compliance on the date of issuance of the order.

3.5  If an inspection of a property reveals that the property does not conform to the standards prescribed in section 2.1 of this By-law and the circumstances in section 3.4 are not present, the Director may issue a written order to the Owner or occupant of the property or both, setting out that the Persons to whom an order has been issued are jointly and severally liable for all of the costs to the municipality of removing the Beaver Dam in compliance with all the applicable legislation, and for the costs associated with any other remedial work to rectify damage caused to municipal property, as described in the order.

3.6  Any order issued by the Town in accordance with this By-law shall be served personally or by registered mail sent to the last known address of the Person to whom the order is to be given, in which event the service shall be deemed to have been made on the seventh day after mailing.  

3.7  If the Owner of a property to whom an order has been given in accordance with this By-law does not comply with the order within the time prescribed in the order, the Town may, in addition to all other remedies, cause the property to be brought into a condition that conforms to this By-law at the Owner’s expense and, for this purpose, the Town’s employees or agents may enter onto the property at any reasonable time without further notice to the Owner or occupant in order to do such work and remedy any contravention of this By-law.

3.8  The Town may collect any costs incurred by it to remedy any non-compliance with section 3 of this By-law by adding the costs, plus a 10% administration fee, to the tax roll of the property on which the work was performed in accordance with this By-law.

3.9  Despite any actions taken in respect to this By-law, the Town shall not be liable to compensate the Owner, occupant or any other Person by reason of anything done by or on behalf of the Town in the reasonable exercise of its powers under this By-law.   

4.0 Entry and Inspection

4.1  A Director or By-law Enforcement Officer or their designate may at any time, enter onto a property to determine whether this By-law is being complied with.

4.2  Every Person shall permit a Director or By-law Enforcement Officer or their designate to inspect any land for the purposes of determining compliance with this By-law.

5.0 Obstruction

5.1  No Person shall hinder or obstruct, or attempt to hinder or obstruct, any Director or By-law Enforcement Officer or their designates from exercising a power or performing a duty under this By-law.

6.0 Severability

6.1  If any provision or part of a provision of this By-law is declared by any court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction to be Illegal or inoperative, in whole or in part, or inoperative in particular circumstances, the balance of the By-law, or its application in other circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue to be in full force and effect.

6.2  If a provision of this By-law conflicts with an Act or regulation or another by-law, the provision that is the most restrictive shall prevail.

6.3  If a court of competent jurisdiction should declare any section or part of a section of this By-law to be invalid, such section or part of a section shall not be construed as having persuaded or influenced Council to pass the remainder of the By-law and it is hereby declared that the remainder of the By-law shall be valid and shall remain in force.

7.0 Enforcement

7.1  Nothing herein shall be deemed to limit the ability of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to enforce this By-law at any time.

8.0 Schedules

8.1  Schedules “A” and “B” as attached form part of this By-law.

9.0 Short Title

9.1  This By-law shall be known as the “Beaver Dams Management By-law”.

10.0  Town Not Liable

10.1  The Town assumes no liability for property damage or personal injury resulting from remedial action or remedial work.

11.0  Passage

11.1  This By-law shall come into force and effect on the day it is passed by Council.

READ a first second and third time and finally passed this XXth day of XXXXX, 20XX. 

___________________________              __________________________________

Mayor (Karin Terziano)                                   Clerk (Tanya Calleja)


Draft By-law Schedules

Feedback or Questions

The below section is for feedback only. Questions cannot be answered here. To ask a question, view the Questions Tab.


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

More laws ,less freedom. A resonable property owner will solve the problem but some will need some sort of help. Low income and many seniors do not have the resources to pay fot the service. Many tree huggers have moved into the area and do not understand the balance of nature. I dare say that if a bear or wolf attacked your dog or child you would be screeming for help to get rid of it.
Country people need to speak up before a law is enacted.

northernhunter 3 months ago

Removed by moderator.

SaveHuntsville 3 months ago

As a private landowner I have animals that I bought, care and be responsible for !!
I do not buy beavers nor do I care for them or be responsible for their action !!
If the town and the mnr feel the need to regulate my property than they can look after it and be responsible !!!!!!

Think 3 months ago

I understand beavers can cause flooding, however, they been here for thousands of years. To partly break the dam is reasonable. If the intent is to harm them, they deserve better by relocation. Let's be humane.

ShirleyC. 3 months ago

Re: "If damage to municipal property is likely to occur or has already occurred, the Director may issue an order to have the Beaver Dam removed, and shall forward copies of the same addressed to each Owner of the property so identified by the municipal tax rolls upon which the Beaver Dam is located, and to any occupier of the property to whom the Director considers the order should also be issued. The order may also be posted up in a conspicuous place on the property. Where some damage to municipal property has already occurred, the order may also require the repair of that damage at the cost of the Owner(s)."

Could you please provide examples of what you would have charged to a homeowner, for a past beaver dam breach, e.g. the one on Ravenscliffe and the one on Williamsport Road. This seems like it could bankrupt a homeowner. Further to this, I asked my home insurer about this scenario and he said that the insurer would vigorously defend the homeowner in the situation. Can you provide evidence that that this bylaw is not simply exposing the town of Huntsville to costly litigation?

homejames 3 months ago