Beavers – when and to whom is compensation due?


According to the Central Statistical Office, in 2021 the population of the European beaver (Castor fiber) in Poland reached 147,696 individuals, when as recently as 2000 it was only around. 25 000.

Based on the Law of April 16, 2004. On nature protection (OJ. of 2022. pos. 916 t. j. as amended.) and in accordance with the Decree of the Minister of Environment dated December 16, 2016. On the protection of animal species (OJ. of 2022. pos. 2380) the European beaver is under partial protection. That is, the prohibitions and restrictions indicated for this species must be strictly observed. But it also means that if beaver activity brings damage to crops, crops or stands of trees then the landowner who suffered the damage is due compensation. In addition to positive effects in the form of new marshy habitat and small retention basins, beaver activity contributes to damage. The losses are mainly in agriculture. But they also happen in municipal infrastructure. As a result of flooding caused by waterlogging, interventions and subsequent cleanup are necessary.

According to Art. 126 of the Law on Nature Protection, the State Treasury is responsible for damage caused by beavers. In this regard, he is represented by the regional director of environmental protection, who determines the amount of compensation and makes the payment. If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, you must fill out the appropriate application and submit it to the relevant RDEP. The form, along with the procedure, is described on the websites of each RDEP. For example, the website of the RDOŚ in Warsaw.

Never dismantle a dam or destroy beaver habitat yourself. These animals are under protection, and destroying beaver dams is an offense under Art. 131 of the Law on Nature Protection and is punishable by arrest or a fine. In the case of damage caused by beavers, it is necessary to apply to the director of the RDEP for compensation. The payments for this do not have to be one-time. Subsequent applications can be submitted, even though the compensation amount has already been paid for the previous one. Then the damage that occurred after the date on which the damage was inspected and estimated is taken into account. In addition, it is also worthwhile to use other forms of insurance against damage caused by wild protected species.

However, if the damage caused by beaver activity is particularly troublesome, repeated, and causes permanent, significant losses, you can apply for the demolition of the beaver dam. This activity requires a permit from the regional director of environmental protection. It is applied for by the owner of the watercourse (Polish Waters) or the owner of the ditch (landowner) where the beavers have settled. Beaver dam removal work can be carried out only after obtaining permission from the competent authority and within a strict time limit, which usually falls between March 1 and April 15 and August 1 and November 30.

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