HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Beaver dams provide transportation for food supply and safety for beavers, but they constantly create problems for Horry County.

Beaver dams are blocking drainage ditches in rural areas, causing flooding in residential areas, swamps and tree farms. 

The dams can cause three to five feet of flooding, causing water to overflow onto roads and private properties. The problem has caused the Horry County Stormwater Department to add a fourth beaver trap to its arsenal to keep up with the increase in dams.

Thomas Roth, the Horry County stormwater manager, said trappers work all year knocking holes into the dams, which allows water to flow better.

“You can remove the dam, but if you don’t remove the beaver the dam will be back within 24 hours,” he said. “So, there’s always something you always you must do, it goes hand in hand. So, we’re going out into these wetland areas. Now we’re getting into where these ditches are and we’re removing these dams, which is making a huge difference.”

The county started a beaver bounty program this year to help with the ongoing issue. Roth said the program allows anybody in the county to remove a beaver, as long as they had permission to remove the animal and obtain a depredation permit. Bounty hunters have to bring in a paw to show that they’ve killed the beaver. They also have to fill out specific paperwork that shows where they removed the animal.

But more help is needed.

“The problem is bounty hunters are not always removing the dams,” Roth said. “So, we do try to get whatever information we can and to see if we can go back out and remove the dam.”

Roth said the department’s goal is not to remove every beaver — only the ones creating a problem.

“Do I think we’ll always be doing this? Yes, I do. They’re going to have baby beavers, and baby beavers are going to have families,” Roth said.

He said the department needs help from residents in order to go onto private property and remove the dams.

“I can’t remove a beaver dam if that property owner won’t let me on his property, so that’s something that I’d like the public to understand and fully understand that, you know, our trappers are working for areas that are on county roads, and we do require easements to be able to let them come on their property,” Roth said.

More information can be found on the Horry County Stormwater Department’s website.