Beaver are climate allies but are treated as pests in Oregon.
Whether you live in an urban or rural area, restoring beaver’s role on public lands benefits us all via the water-rich, carbon storing habitat they create and maintain. As wetlands, ponds, rising water tables and riparian vegetation increase, so does Oregon’s water security, its drought-preparedness, and its fish and wildlife habitat and connectivity. As habitat expands, so does the number of natural firebreaks – these zones of lush green and water serve as safety zones for wildlife and livestock during fire, and habitat post-fire. And they create conditions that improve salmon rearing habitat and quality throughout their range, and temporarily store water to then feed the streams during drought.
Given the scale of degradation within streams and wetlands and throughout the West, we need all partners mobilized to restore these systems. Beaver are our greatest ally! But for this ecosystem engineer to successfully provide resilience against drought & wildfire, they must be able to safely build and maintain their natural infrastructure (dams!) while expanding their numbers and distributions across the state. So, let’s get them protected!
We must give beaver protection from hunting and trapping under the state furbearer regulations on Oregon’s public lands, and encourage funds to be made available to provide incentives to private landowners to work with beavers to store water, sub-irrigate fields and create wetlands. This possibility is within reach if Oregon closes these public lands to recreational beaver trapping and hunting, before the next beaver trapping and hunting season starts on November 15. This would allow beaver to begin expanding the abundance of wetlands, ponds, and complex riparian areas, making it an effective climate change response strategy.
How can you get involved and stay informed about beaver restoration in Mt. Hood National Forest?
- Submit a comment to your elected officials today using the link below.
- Learn about Bark’s work in wetlands and beaver habitat in the Clackamas River basin.
- Subscribe to wildlife management updates from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Sign up for Bark Alert emails.
- Keep an eye out for Bark’s beaver habitat and wetland survey volunteer trainings and field days.