Sierra Wildlife Coalition
Why Co-exist with Beavers?
The better question might be, Why Not Co-exist?
Beaver dams and ponds create wetlands, which are rich habitat for many other mammals, birds and fish - Native Americans called this species the "Sacred Center". Biologists call them a "Keystone Species" - like the top, center 'keystone' in an arch that supports the entire arch, beavers support many other species. Agencies in the northwest U.S. are re-establishing beavers to help restore endangered coho salmon.
Beaver wetlands slow the water's flow, which reduces erosion and flood damage downstream, and replenishes the water table. And also really important at Lake Tahoe, beaver dams and ponds cleanse the water by trapping sediment and pollutants, which then biodegrade, thus filtering the water before it flows into the Lake, and helping to Keep Tahoe Blue!
See "Benefits of Beavers" under "About Beavers".
Trapping and Dam Destruction Don't work
'Removal' is only temporary, and traps are cruel, and also dangerous to other wildlife, even pets can be accidentally caught. Where there is beaver habitat, there will be beavers. In a study in Tennessee, all 169 resident beavers were removed from an area, and 162 new beavers moved back into the area within just a few years. When they are 2-3 years old, beavers leave their family in search of their own new territory, and they often replace any trapped or removed beavers, occuping vacated lodges and buildng new dams.
Destroying dams does not work because beavers have an instinctual response to rebuild them. Dams have to be destroyed over and over, costing taxpayers many thousands of dollars. In our own area, Placer County killed beavers on a creek in Kings Beach in 2009, only to have a family return. Then in 2010 it cost about $10,000 to remove the new beavers' lodge and dam, and kill the family of four.
There are no long-lasting ways to discourage beavers from occupying suitable habitat. Much better to learn and employ simple and inexpensive solutions to prevent any flooding or tree damage problems. See our Co-Existing pages.