Beavers on Bass Lake

Overland flow to the lake is dominated by the area to the south east of the lake.  There are numerous beaver dams in this area.  Some of these dams are more than 2 meters high.  The lake at the head of the watershed is, in fact, an ancient beaver pond!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left ‘unmanaged’, an extreme rain event could cause a cascading failure of the dams. This has happened in the past, resulting in massive amounts of “beaver” water - i.e. water with high levels of giardia (beaver fever) - flowing into the lake at the south-east end. The flow can and has caused significant damage to Bass Lake Road which is maintained by the cottagers along the road.  It is a duty of the BLA to minimize the risk of both water quality problems related to beavers and road washout.   Refer to this PDF version of a presentation that was put together for a past BLA AGM.  It will be of special interest to any who are unfamiliar with their locations and/or have never hiked back to see the beaver dams in person.

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Additional information with respect to trapping...

The Bass Lake Association executive has consulted with various professionals to resolve the problems in the most humane manner.  Cottager's are invited to check out the following resources:

 

Government of Ontario website: Trapping in Ontario

What you need to know

Every trapper harvesting fur must have a trapping licence. The licence identifies the area where the trapper can trap and gives harvest quotas for some species (e.g. beaver).

  • You must trap only during the open season, the period of time when you’re allowed to trap a certain animal.
  • You also have to report the number of animals you trap, sell, and keep each year under the authority of your trapping licence. The numbers from your annual harvest reports help monitor furbearer populations.

 

The law

To trap in Ontario, you must:

  • have completed the required Fur Harvest, Fur Management and Conservation course
  • have a trapping licence
  • trap only during open seasons
  • keep to annual harvest quotas
  • trap only on land identified in the licence
  • have written permission from the landowner when trapping on private lands
  • follow other conditions set out in your licence and the regulations (e.g. trap sizes for fox)
  • only use humane, certified traps

 

Humane Trapping
Licensed trappers must use humane techniques to capture furbearing animals. Animals include:

    • beaver, muskrat and otter

    • fisher, marten, mink and weasel

    • raccoon

    • skunk

    • opossum

    • red squirrel

    • lynx and bobcat

    • wolf and coyote

We (the government) work with trappers to protect these wildlife populations and habitat by:

    • managing wildlife populations

    • supporting conservation through licence fees and royalties from pelt sales

    • reducing conflicts between humans and wildlife by removing and deterring problem animals

    • collecting harvest information from trappers that provide critical information on animal populations

 

 

Statement from the Bass Lake Association Executive

The Bass Lake Association executive consists of cottage owners who volunteer their time to ensure the preservation of Bass Lake and the surrounding natural environment, as well as maintain communication amongst all cottagers. 

  • This group works very hard and we deal with many issues (cyanobacteria, septic tank inspection program, lake plan, water testing, renters, etc.). 

 

The executive consults and works with various professionals and authorities to resolve issues involving the beavers in the most humane manner when it should become a problem. 

  • These experts will always act in the best interest of preserving and enforcing the balance of natural wildlife.

 

Concerns about the beavers are, periodically, related to the lake integrity and stability threatened by massive dam failure and the subsequent large flood of organic material into the lake. 

  • There are two locations of particular concern on Bass Lake that must be controlled:  under the bridge at the lake outfall and at the large culvert on Bass Lake Road. 
  • The issue for the outfall is ensuring that the flow in the channel is not tranquil or stagnant with the control of Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) which is an issue.

 

The Bass Lake Executive, on behalf of the Association, relies on two (2) strategies to help maintain a balance between the health of the lake and the beaver population.

  • First, we have, for  many years now, installed 'bafflers' into the various dams that have the potential to lead to a negative outcome for Bass Lake.  These are essentially pieces of PVC piping that are installed into the dams so that water continues to flow at all times.
  • Second, we employ the services of a licensed trapper when necessary.

 

The Bass Lake Executive has been in regular contact with Howard Smith, at the Aspen Valley Sanctuary. 

  • We engage in open discussions about our beaver issues and the professionals that the Bass Lake Association engages.
  • Howard, who previously worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources, does not disagree with our actions.
  • Howard has now retired, but we have spoken with him this spring (Spring 2022) and will have more to report about these discussions at teh AGM on July 2nd, 2022.

 

The Bass Lake Executive is planning to work with Howard, in the summer of 2022, to find additional ways in which we can address the needs of the lake while being respectful of the beavers.

  • We welcome any interested members of the Bass Lake Assocation to be a part of these conversations.

 

October 12th 2021 - Bass Lake Update

 

Good evening everyone:

I trust that you had a nice Thanksgiving Day weekend. 

The purpose of this email is to share some unfortunate frustration.  As you know, the Bass Lake Association is responsible for ensuring the preservation of the lake and the surrounding natural environment, as well as maintaining communication among all of the cottagers.

One issue that we continue to deal with are the beavers.  We consult with the appropriate authorities and engage professionals to assist us.  Earlier this summer, we had an individual tamper with the trapper’s equipment.

Please be advised that this is a Federal offence.  Any person/s who tampers with lawfully set traps is contravening sections 13(1) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, S.O. 1997.  Furthermore, section 102 of the Act identifies the fines associated with such an offence:

  • 102 (1) A person convicted of an offence under this Act is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000, to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both.

This individual also reported me to the Ministry and a local Wildlife Reserve.  After speaking with both bodies, they confirmed that we are doing everything correctly and humanely.

Last week, we had another individual tamper with the trapper’s equipment.  Needless to say, he is very upset and the Bass Lake Association has to incur unnecessary costs to replace the damaged equipment. 

We welcome the individual(s) to approach the executive to discuss this matter further.  We can assure you that no charges will be laid and we welcome any viable solutions.

However, if this behaviour continues, we will not be as cooperative.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is fully aware of our situation and Conservation Officer Shaun Morrissey will be in charge of any future investigations.

We trust that this can be avoided and please understand that this executive is doing everything possible.

Regards,

Jeff MacDonald

President

Bass Lake Association

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