As dam floods trail, officials relocate Niven Lake beavers

A photo posted online by Councillor Adrian Bell shows flooding caused by beavers at the Niven Lake trail
A photo posted online by Councillor Adrian Bell shows flooding caused by beavers at the Niven Lake trail.

Officials are working to relocate a group of beavers whose dam is flooding Yellowknife’s Niven Lake trail.

Paths have been flooded by the dam, which has been built atop a weir under a trail bridge. Councillor Adrian Bell posted video showing one of the beavers last week.

Bell told Cabin Radio he believes the beavers have been particularly active this summer in the wake of a water leak in the area, which caused a separate issue related to a foul smell earlier this year.

“There’s a water leak in the area that is increasing the volume of Niven Lake day by day,” said Bell. “Beavers don’t like running water, so they decided to put a stop to it by building a nice, big dam over at the weir underneath the high bridge.



“Now the dam is about a foot higher than the weir, which means the level of the lake is about a foot higher than it should be.”

Tampering with traps

The territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has stepped in at the City’s request to help relocate the beavers.

“They are causing a lot of damage to the vegetation around Niven Lake,” said Jordyn Siurko, from the department.

“The City has come to us and let us know that it is a problem for them. We have issued a permit for them to be able remove that dam that they have built, just for the water to be able to flow.”



Siurko says there are at least three or four beavers in the area, one of which has already been relocated. However, relocation efforts have been hindered by people interfering with live traps.

“We want to try and get it done before the fall, when things are starting to cool down and the beavers are going to start building up their lodge again,” said Siurko.

“We want to try to relocate them during the summer so they have enough time be able to rebuild a lodge and have a lodge for the winter. That’s why we’re trying to get this done as soon as possible.

“We have been having some issues with the public tampering with our live traps. I just wanted to let the public know it is an offence to interfere with any traps that are set – it’s dangerous. We do have signage up to show there are live traps. Leave the traps alone.”

The department hopes to rehome the beavers outside the city limits, along the highway toward Behchokǫ̀ – but sufficiently far from the highway itself that they do not end up flooding it.

With files from Alice Twa