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Beaver Mitigation Scheme

Beavers will bring lots of benefits, but sometimes we will need to manage their impacts.

Not all beaver activity is helpful in every situation – how do we manage their actions when it’s not?

Beavers build dams, fell trees and dig burrows and canals.  There will be times when these actions are either in locations that damage property or infrastructure, or cause problems for land management.

Our Management Framework for beavers provides information on our approach to managing beavers and their impacts. This includes including licensed activities to management but at the same time we are committed to looking at other ways to minimise (or mitigate) their impacts and to learn as we do so.   

Many mitigation techniques have been developed across Europe and North America to manage these actions. Examples include:

  • Tree guards to protect individual specimen trees from being felled
  • Bespoke fencing to protect larger areas of woodland or crops
  • Use of pipes and in-stream fencing to regulate water flow through dams
  • Use of in-stream fencing to prevent dam building activity at culverts

What will the Scottish Beaver Mitigation scheme do?

  • Provide free expert advice on how to manage beaver activity
  • Provide equipment and cover the costs of installation
  • Provide a monitoring plan to check the mitigation is working
  • Trial innovative solutions appropriate to Scottish problems
  • Trial new technology to track beaver activity to minimise the burden on land managers

What will it involve?

The scheme has been set up to be as flexible and simple as possible, following the steps below:

1. One of SNH’s expert beaver advisers will visit the site to understand what beavers are doing in that location, discuss the problems being experienced with the land manager, and identify potential solutions.

2. SNH will put together a simple agreement package for the land manager. This will contain a map, a brief description of the proposed mitigation works, a monitoring plan and an agreement allowing the work to go ahead.

3. If necessary in more complex cases, SNH can seek additional specialist advice through a Technical Group to help identify a suitable solution or best way to monitor the mitigation. SNH will co-ordinate this process if it is needed.

4. SNH will arrange all necessary permissions where these are required (e.g.  CAR licence from SEPA) and either install the equipment or arrange for contractors to do this on our behalf. SNH will manage the contractors and pay them direct.

5. The expert beaver advisor and land manager will review the completed work, and sign a completion certificate to indicate they are satisfied with the mitigation and monitoring equipment installed.

6. SNH, with help from the land manager, will monitor the success of the work through the agreed monitoring plan.

How do I get help / take part in the scheme?

You can email us at beavers@nature.scot or telephone 01463 725 364 and ask to speak to someone about managing beaver activity.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who owns or is responsible for managing land that is affected by beaver activity is eligible for the scheme. Public bodies that have an existing biodiversity duty under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 would not be eligible but can seek free advice at any time.

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