Three Against the Wilderness

Rebuilding the beaver dams

Beaver lodge close to the old Collier cabin on Meldrum Creek. © Wil Stewart

Eric Collier wanted to rebuild the old beaver dams to bring water back into his trapping area. But he ran into opposition from ranchers downstream who were afraid that they would suffer from the impact of the dams. Veasy worked with his father to reconstruct the old dams. He described the diplomatic and physical challenge involved – and how beavers use their dams.
[Click on the ‘play’ arrow to hear the interview clip below.]

Connie Haeussler, a water technician with the BC government responsible for water licencing in the Meldrum Creek area, kindly provided information on irrigation issues in the catchment:
 
‘There are a number of irrigation licences on Meldrum Creek dating back to the 1870’s.  In the 1930’s (I think) a ditch was built which diverts water from Mackin Creek to the North into Meldrum Lake and then is stored behind dams on Knox, Richards and Dester Lakes for irrigation on the ranches downstream on Meldrum Creek.’ (This sounds like the ditch to which Veasy refers – JS.)
 
‘In 1998 a fish habitat assessment of Mackin, Meldrum and Riske Creeks was prepared.  You can get more information about this study from the Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection if you’re interested.’

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