Beaver, nature’s original flood managers, also boosts fire resilience.

Color photo of a beaver, recently having swum, clasping its own hands on a rock in front of water.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.

Intrepid beaver and their human allies have always played an important role in the fire-prone landscape of the west. When the Pacific Fur Company first approached the Kalapuyans of the Willamette Valley in 1812, the Indigenous people expressed little interest in trapping fur-bearing animals. Nevertheless, the beaver population was devastated by settlers and the region became much, much drier as ponds and wetlands lost their expert stewards to European fashion trends. To this day, the ecosystems and communities of the west often struggle to access water year-round. Trapping rates are going up in Oregon—61,000 beavers are known to have been removed between 2000-2020.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Beaver Work Group meets this morning from 9-11 AM. The public can view the meeting’s livestream here, though public comment will not be taken.

Meetings will be recorded and available for future viewing at ODFW’s YouTube channel

While we work to influence the governance and management of this keystone species, we’re also learning from the efforts of Native communities to restore beaver. The Klamath Tribes in southern Oregon and northern California are working to reshape the land to hold water and provide healthy fish habitats without using bulldozers. In a region that experiences intense fire seasons, becoming more so as the climate changes, beaver restoration efforts can provide exponential benefit to communities and landscapes impacted by fire events. Beaver’s dam building creates lush, wet firebreaks in otherwise dry landscapes, helping to slow and contain fire activity. 

Support our work to restore beaver and their wetland habitats! Sign up for Beaver Habitat Survey training below and/or make a donation

Thank you for supporting Bark,

Courtney Rae, Bark Associate Director

P.S. Sign up for one of these upcoming events!