Date of this Version
Clemson beaver pond levelers were developed as a tool to enable land managers to manipulate water flow past beaver (Castor canadensis) dams. Wildlife Services has installed several of these devices in collaboration with landowners. We conducted a survey to determine if we could identify factors that impacted whether the devices were meeting landowner objectives. Fifty percent of the 40 levelers surveyed were still operating and regarded as successful. Factors considered in the survey included management objectives, time since the leveler was installed, watershed characteristics, physical attributes of the stream and of the beaver dam where the leveler was installed, and beaver activity. Management objectives closely correlated with owner satisfaction; devices installed to manage wetlands (primarily waterfowl habitat) were generally considered successful, while devices installed to provide water relief through perpetual flow were deemed less successful. Time elapsed since installation was not a factor, however, maintenance of the levelers was a factor. Seventy percent of the operating levelers had received some form of post installation maintenance. Levelers placed in sites with high beaver activity without implementing population control measures frequently failed. Ninety-five percent of the sites with successful levelers had received some population control measure either before, or after, or before and after installing the leveler. Physical attributes of the site or characteristics of the beaver dam were not closely correlated with success of the levelers.