Published on July 21, 2021

Eager Beavers Good for the Sturgeon River

Most of us recognize the beaver as a Canadian symbol, as it has been an icon in our country for over 300 years. As Canadians, we love to see them actively building their lodges on a body of water. But something we may not know about beavers – they are extremely beneficial to our environment. Beavers and their dams help protect aquatic systems, maintain water table levels and control flooding and erosion. 

View of Beaver Dam from on top of Children's Bridge

Beaver Dams on the Sturgeon River

This year, due to long-lasting extreme heat temperatures, our aquatic ecosystems have been quite stressed. Although the Sturgeon River is looking very low, we have our beavers to thank for creating dams along the river, where fish can take refuge from the heat in deeper waters. This gives fish a greater chance of survival and is why it is so important not to deconstruct the dams.

View of Beaver Dam from South side of Sturgeon River

Did you know?

  • The water behind a beaver dam is slow and the sediment it carries can settle out, leaving cleaner water for fish spawning. This can also reduce bank erosion. 
  • Slower water means fish spend less energy foraging, and the higher populations of invertebrates in dammed areas mean more food available for the fish.
  • Beaver dams allow water to pool and infiltrate into the ground which helps alleviate dry conditions during drought periods. Research has shown that for every 2 gallons of water that is stored behind a dam, 10 gallons is stored in the ground. This groundwater can be slowly released during droughts, helping the flow of the water and reducing the temperature because groundwater is typically cooler.

View of the Sturgeon River facing West

The City of St. Albert developed Beaver Management Guidelines in 2006 with input from residents and the Environmental Advisory Committee. The guidelines are part of the Integrated Pest Management Plan and outline the balanced approach of coexisting with beavers while addressing flooding control, infrastructure integrity, native tree and shrub assets, and public safety on City-owned lands. 

Interested in learning more? Learn more about beavers!

View of the Sturgeon River facing East

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Last edited: November 26, 2021