California beavers have long been reviled for their ability to destroy farmland. But a crushing heat wave and lingering drought have led scientists to take a second look.
“Beaver dams improve water quality and control water downstream, repair eroded channels, reconnect streams to their floodplains, and the ponds and flooded areas create habitat for many plants and animals,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). “It might be odd, but beavers are an untapped, creative climate-solving hero that helps prevent the loss of biodiversity facing California.”
CDFW is now looking to hire personnel for its new Beaver restoration unit. The head of the unit will help update state beaver policies and propose “nature-based restoration solutions” including the development of artificial beaver dams. The goal is to help beavers help us, since they’re increasingly seen as warriors against the effects of climate change.
For this project, CDFW has a budget of at least $3 million over the next two years. It will eventually hire five new people to oversee the restoration program.
Beavers are a native California species. They have historically been found along the coast throughout the Central Valley, Colorado River basin, and into the Sierra Nevada and Cascades mountain ranges.
Read more about the California beaver here.