Bringing Beavers Back to California

two beavers swimming in a body of water

Beavers are a “keystone species” as their dam-building activities create wetland habitat for many other species thrive. Photo by Rusty Cohen.

  • Bringing Beavers Back to California

Beavers once thrived across California’s watersheds in the millions, their dams and ponds creating rich wetlands and a mosaic of habitat for biodiversity to flourish. However, by the early 1900s, European colonization and the fur trade had nearly wiped them out of the state. Today, there is growing momentum to return this keystone species to its historic range to help restore degraded waterways and build resilience to climate change. Just recently, California’s top wildlife management agency took a major step forward, partnering with the Maidu Summit Consortium to release beaver back into the wild for the first time in nearly 75 years.

On this week’s episode, Terra Verde host and producer Hannah Wilton speaks with two of California’s leading beaver advocates: Kate Lundquist from the WATER Institute’s Bring Back the Beaver Campaign and Kevin Swift from Swift Water Design, a process-based restoration company focused on beaver mimicry and coexistence alternatives. Together, they unpack the history and ecosystem benefits of beaver and share how we can partner with these wetland engineers to help heal California’s waterways.

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