Bark is supporting an effort by a coalition of conservation and outdoor groups to pass three pro-beaver-water-and habitat restoration bills this year in the Oregon legislature. These three bills would:
- Restrict beaver trapping on federally managed lands in Oregon,
- Remove statute which gives the beaver a “predatory” designation (which means they can be killed without oversight), and
- Provide resources for landowners who want to coexist with beavers and other wildlife instead of lethally removing them.
Right now, we are focused on getting HB 2843 a hearing in the Oregon Legislature. Send a letter to your representatives today!
These bills are all interrelated and compliment each other. Habitat created by beaver brings significant ecological and economic benefits to people, fish and wildlife. For these benefits to be realized, beavers must be able to build and maintain their dams while expanding their numbers and distributions across the state.
- HB 2843 Prohibits the removal of beavers on federally managed public land, in waters of this state as waters flow through federally managed public land or in pond, lake or water storage facility on federally managed public land.
- HB 2844 Provides, for the purposes of certain statutes relating to taking of predatory animals, that terms “predatory animal” and “rodent” do not include beavers.
- HB 2689 Directs the State Department of Agriculture to establish grant program for purpose of facilitating nonlethal deterrence of wildlife conflict species by farmers and ranchers.
Photo by David Moskowitz
Current furbearer regulations allow for recreational and commercial beaver trapping and hunting during the breeding/pregnancy season. Since beaver kits (young) stay with the adults for up to two years, a whole colony can be wiped out in a single season under the current regulations! From 2000 to 2018, over 58,000 beaver kills were reported to the State. These three bills would reduce the only cause of beaver mortality that humans can control—trapping and hunting by the public. Federal land managers are not restricted by this bill and would retain the ability to manage beaver-infrastructure conflicts. While non-lethal control methods are encouraged to prevent recurring problems and costs, and to maintain beaver-related benefits, all options for addressing beaver-infrastructure conflicts remain open. Beaver trapping and hunting would still be allowed on state and county public lands and on private lands with landowner permission.
2021 Beaver Bills Benefit Oregon
HB 2843 affects fewer than 170 beaver trappers and hunters who are licensed under furbearer regulations through ODFW (ODFW 2018 data), while benefiting 4.2 million Oregonians and countless fish and wildlife. Passage of HB 2843 would provide numerous benefits to Oregonians at little to no cost, while an economic analysis shows that the market and non-market benefits of passing this bill are worth 100s of millions of dollars in ecosystems services and restoration savings. These benefits would increase in value over time. HB 2843 would affect about 32-million acres in Oregon, or roughly 50% of the state.
Beavers in Oregon create:
- Natural firebreaks, wildlife and livestock safety zones during wildfires, and habitat post-fire
- Carbon capture and storage areas that remove carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis
- Wetlands and ponds that store surface and groundwater for slow and sustained release
- A uniform, unambiguous beaver trapping/hunting policy on FMPLs with statewide benefits
Unburned area with beaver presence after the Sharps Creek Fire in Idaho. Photo by Joe Wheaton, Utah State University Department of Watershed Sciences
Beavers improve and expand:
- Water security for municipal and agricultural users
- Drinking water quality
- Fish and wildlife habitat, including rearing habitat for 11 endangered salmonid stocks in Oregon
- Stream and riparian habitat restoration efforts
- Stream temperatures
- Migratory bird habitat
- Recreational opportunities
Oregon’s 2021 Beaver Bills Address State Goals and Objectives
- ODFW’s Oregon Conservation Strategy
- Oregon’s 100-Year Water Vision
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Mission Statement: “To protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.”
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Climate and Ocean Change Policy