In its latest battle against the beaver, officials in Pointe Coupee Parish raised the bounty on the pesky critters that build stream- and culvert-clogging dams that lead to more flooding.
The Parish Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that increases the bounty for beaver tail by $10, allowing trappers to collect $50 for each one they turn between April 1 and May 31. Trappers can still collect $40 before and after those times.
Officials say the boost is part of an effort to encourage more trapping because the cost of finding and destroying beaver dams is an expensive and time-consuming process. Many times crews will raze a dam only to find it rebuilt within a few days.
“Beavers are the best engineers you can find,” said Parish President Major Thibaut. "If you eliminate the beavers altogether … it saves you from having to go out.”
The parish has offered the program to trappers in the past several years, but Thibaut said he hopes more trappers will participate by giving them a few extra bucks.
Last year, trappers turned in 162 beaver tails, up from just more than two dozen the year before, an increase officials credited to advertising the program more.
Aside from alligators, beavers have few natural predators. They'll build dams on everything from streams and rivers to even bayous with a slight current.
The dams constrict the flow of water and have in the past caused flooding in farm fields and other areas of the parish when the canals and ditches overflow following heavy rainfalls.
The bounty program has reduced the times the parish has had to respond, which has saved money and time, Thibaut said.
"We were able to get more meaningful work done when the time is spent not fooling with beaver dams," he said.
The council has already budgeted the money it expects to pay beaver trappers for this year, Thibaut said.