Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

"Beaver Deceivers" Hide Moving Water from Dam-Building Beavers

When beavers build their dams in culverts, the choke-load of mud, leaves, and limbs often block fish passage or cause water backup onto roads. Not to worry in Virginia, where the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) uses a "beaver-deceiver" strategy to stop this destructive behavior while at the same time keeping the beavers content. VDOT's method capitalizes on beavers' natural urge to stop up free-flowing water. Here's how it works: First, a fence of cedar posts and wide mesh wiring is constructed in a perimeter around the culvert. Second, a large underwater pipe is extended from the mouth of the culvert to a depth of 20-30 feet within the fenced-off area, eliminating the sensation of water flowing into the pipe. Though beavers sometimes realize water is moving inside the fence, they cannot get to it. When they try to build a dam outside the fence, VDOT maintenance crews easily remove the debris. Undaunted, the industrious beavers usually remain in in the area, building lodges and cutting small trees for food.
--Aug 21, 2006

Sande Snead, (804) 225-4491 or

Photo of cage surrounding culvert outlet
VDOT photo
The beaver deceiver is an outlet protected by a steel cage

View Photo Gallery

On or Along Waterways - Virginia
Updated: 12/12/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000