The North Carolina Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP) is designed to help manage problems caused by beaver on private and public lands. Due to practical and ecological considerations, the program’s goal is to address specific beaver damage problems rather than to eliminate beaver from North Carolina. BMAP-related beaver removals account for about 17% of total known annual beaver harvest (including regulated trapping and damage-related removals), and about 0.5% of the total beaver population annually (learn more about beaver biology here). BMAP service providers use an integrated approach, in which a combination of methods (some lethal, some non-lethal) may be used or recommended to reduce beaver damage. The program places first priority on issues that threaten public health and safety, and secondly on assistance to landholders experiencing beaver damage.
The BMAP is primarily implemented by USDA Wildlife Services (Wildlife Services) through cooperative service agreements with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and participating counties. Landholders in participating counties gain access to assistance at a reduced cost-share rate or may receive free training on beaver management techniques if they are willing to perform the work themselves.
The primary customers of BMAP are participating counties in NC and landholders who own or manage land in those counties. The NC Department of Transportation also receives BMAP services along its rights-of-way statewide.
County Participation – any county in North Carolina may opt to participate in BMAP. Each year, all 100 counties are invited to the program via written notice. Interested counties must then respond with their intent to participate and contribute $6,000 to help cover the costs of beaver assistance in that county. County participation fees allow landholders access to beaver management services at a reduced cost-share rate. Learn what counties can expect by participating.
Assistance to Landholders – both public (municipalities) and private (residents, businesses) landholders in participating counties may request BMAP services. To find out if your county is participating in BMAP and identify your local contact, see the printable Landowner Guide to BMAP Services or click on your county in the interactive map below.
If your county is not enrolled in BMAP, here are some additional beaver management options or you may request assistance directly from USDA - Wildlife Services and receive beaver management services at full cost. Contact Wildlife Services at (866) 4USDA-WS.
Assistance to NCDOT - Due to health and safety concerns related to flooding along roadways, NCDOT pays to receive BMAP services statewide. Projects on NCDOT rights-of-way receive priority, especially if water is going over roads or water is threatening to reach the road within the next twenty-four hours. Services to NCDOT are funded separately; county participation fees do not go toward projects on NCDOT rights-of-way.
Is BMAP worth it? - In FY 2020-2021, Wildlife Services staff and cooperators reported that BMAP services prevented the impending loss or repair expenditures of an estimated $9.64 million in roads and bridges, timber and other agricultural resources, railroad trestles, dams and ditches, city and county sewer systems and water treatment facilities, landscape plantings, and other resources such as homes, airport runways, and golf courses. Compared to the costs, for every $1.00 spent, BMAP saved $6.42 in resources across North Carolina.
There is a misconception that the BMAP simply focuses on removing beaver, or that the program charges per beaver removed. In fact, the program is primarily concerned with solving specific beaver damage problems, which has little to do with the total number of beaver removed from the landscape. Programs focusing primarily on the indiscriminate removal of beaver may be cheaper per beaver removed, but are rarely effective at resolving specific beaver damage problems. By targeting only those beaver causing measurable damage, the remaining animals are left alone to create wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and provide recreational opportunity for people across North Carolina.
Administrative authority for BMAP rests with NCWRC, but enabling legislation allows NCWRC to transfer program administration, upon agreement, to Wildlife Services (G.S. 113-291.10). Presently, Wildlife Services administers BMAP according to a plan developed by the Beaver Damage Control Advisory Board (the Advisory Board) and approved by NCWRC. Administration of BMAP follows the state fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
The Advisory Board is composed of representatives from nine state and federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. It meets at least once annually to review the previous year’s accomplishments and to make recommendations for the coming year.
BMAP is truly a collaborative program. Funding comes from NCWRC, the NC Department of Transportation, USDA-Wildlife Services, participating counties, and cost-share collections from private landholders, businesses, municipalities, and other entities that request direct assistance. These funds are used to cover the costs of resolving beaver conflicts, including fuel, equipment, personnel, and explosives to remove beaver dams. Details about funding and expenditures in a given year can be found in the BMAP annual reports.
Demand for beaver products and resulting trapping efforts have long been an effective tool for managing beaver populations (learn more about beaver history in NC). Today the demand for beaver products has significantly declined, resulting in beaver populations in some areas expanding to levels where they are in conflict with the health, safety, and livelihood of people. In the early 1990s, state and county agencies and the public had few places to turn for relief from beaver damage; the few remaining private trappers generally trapped beavers only as a hobby or part time job. In the early to mid-1990s at least three North Carolina counties attempted to use bounties to reduce beaver damage, but these efforts proved to have little success in alleviating specific beaver damage problems.
Responding to public complaints and requests for assistance, the 1991 Session of the North Carolina Legislature created the North Carolina Beaver Damage Control Advisory Board, effective July 1, 1992 (G.S. 113-291.10). The Advisory Board was tasked to develop a program to manage beaver damage on public and private lands. Relying on the expertise of NCWRC and Wildlife Services personnel and drawing on the experiences of other states, the Advisory Board created the Beaver Management Assistance Pilot Program in November 1992. The primary focus of the program was on public health and safety and resolving beaver damage problems for landholders. The program was structured to be flexible, fair, and feasible; and was designed to assist NCDOT, landholders, and others to address specific beaver damage problems rather than to eradicate beavers over wide areas. BMAP-related beaver removals account for about 0.5% of the total estimated beaver population annually. Cooperative participation among all parties involved led to the program’s success, and in 1995 the name was changed to the Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP).
Comprehensive Policies and Procedures (PDF)
28-Year Program Summary (1992 2020) (PDF)