SALEM—Beavers are nature’s engineers and while they create critical habitat for fish and wildlife and help with water quality and quantity, some of their construction projects can cause flooding of crops and roads and damage trees. In an effort to help landowners co-exist with what can sometimes be a pesky species, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two new publications that provide advice and guidelines on how to live with beavers. Both are available in the Conservation Strategy section of ODFW’s website.
The first, Living with Wildlife: American Beaver, includes information on preventing conflicts and solving problems in relation to beaver damage to plants, trees and property. It explains the legal status of the species, what agencies are involved in beaver management and landowner options for dealing with problem beavers. The second, ODFW Guidelines for Relocation of Beaver in Western Oregon, details the standards for moving beavers on the landscape. Beaver relocation requires a permit from ODFW and a commitment to site selection and monitoring.
“Relocation is not always a solution for troublesome beaver. We are not just going to move the problem,” said Eric Rickerson, ODFW Wildlife Division, Deputy Administrator. “But there are times where a watershed or land manager knows of an area that could benefit from beaver introduction. That’s really what the guidelines are intended to address.”
“The relocation guidelines provide a consistent tool for those who are interested in relocating beaver to improve ecosystem health, particularly for juvenile coho salmon that require the critical overwintering habitat that beaver dams create,” said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program Manager.
The American Beaver is identified by the Oregon Conservation Strategy and the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds as important to creation of critical habitats for a variety of wildlife and fish species and the creation and maintenance of wetlands. A Beaver Work Group, which includes ODFW staff and partners from governmental agencies, private timber industry and other groups, has met several times over the past two years to identify research and information gaps to help improve understanding of beaver ecology and management so landowners and managers can maximize the ecological benefits that beaver provide, especially for ESA-listed coast coho, and minimize any negative impacts. The work is done within the guidelines of existing rules and statutes.
New literature is available online
Living with Wildlife: American Beaver and ODFW Guidelines for Relocation of Beaver in Western Oregon, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/beaver.asp
Examples of landowner projects that successfully support beaver can be found on ODFW’s website.