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Lands Council offers help on managing beavers in Beaver Creek Park

 

March 23, 2020



The Lands Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Spokane, Washington. We are dedicated to the preservation and protection of forests, water and wildlife in the Inland Northwest.

Since 1984, The Lands Council has been a community leader, promoting responsible recreation in wild places inherently valuable to the region. We are inspired to preserve nature’s legacy for future generations.

As part of our restoration ecology program we actively relocate nuisance beavers. To date, The Lands Council has relocated over 140 beavers in the Inland Northwest. Throughout the American West, beavers are increasingly recognized and utilized as a solution to various natural resource concerns. Science and traditional knowledge conclusively demonstrate that beaver ponds and wetlands create fish and wildlife habitat, thereby improving recreational opportunities; capture nitrogen, heavy metals, and other forms of runoff; mitigate destructive flood and fire events; sequester carbon; and perform other crucial services. Beaver populations, though growing in some places, are dramatically reduced compared to pre-trapping levels.

We acknowledge that beaver impacts to human property need to be managed in certain circumstances. However, we caution that lethal beaver trapping is only a temporary fix: Because beavers reproduce readily and disperse widely, they quickly recolonize vacated territories, forcing trappers to remove beavers in perpetuity. Many communities around the country have therefore turned to a non-lethal solution known as a flow device, a pipeand-fence system that drains beaver ponds to an acceptable level. Flow devices have been shown to resolve flooding concerns up to 97 percent of the time. Furthermore, because they are one-time installations that require little maintenance, they are extremely cost-effective compared to annual trapping (see, e.g., Boyles & Savitzky, 2008).

We are heartened to learn that the Hill County Park Board has been in contact with noted experts David Pauli of the Humane Society of the United States and Skip Lisle of Beaver Deceivers International. We strongly encourage the Park Board to attempt non-lethal beaver coexistence efforts at Beaver Creek Park, and offer our technical input should you deem it helpful.

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Respectfully,

Chris Bachman, The Lands Council, Wildlife Program Director Board of Directors

Ben Goldfarb, The Lands Council, Author, “Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beaver and Why They Matter”

 

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