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Two beavers at a stream/river bank with distorted reflections in the water.

Beavers are priamrily nocturnal and crepuscular, but are occasionally seen being active during the day. 

Credit: Jillian / Adobe Stock


Call to action:

Return beavers to their natural habitats in ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers in order to restore and maintain ecosystem health.

A rodent native to North America and Eurasia, beavers are a keystone species whose activities support thousands of plant, animal, and fish species and provide ecosystem services for humans. Their dams slow the flow of water and provide protection against floods. Their ponds are nurseries for amphibians and fish. Beavers create and expand wetlands, home to diverse wildlife. Microbes in ponds remove pollutants. Atmospheric carbon is sequestered in captured sediment. Beavers were hunted nearly to extinction by humans, causing major environmental damage, including more frequent flooding, smaller wetlands, diminished water quality, and less resilience to drought. This damage is being repaired by reintroducing beavers to former habitats. Although some landowners consider beavers to be a pest, coexistence is practical and mutually beneficial.

Nexus Rating SystemBeta

Solutions to the climate emergency have unique social and environmental effects, positive and negative. To develop a broader understanding of the solutions in Nexus, we rate each solution on five criteria.

Sources for each Nexus are graded numerically (-3 through 10), and the average is displayed as a letter grade. You can explore each source in depth by clicking “view sources” below. For more information, see our Nexus Ratings page.


Reference Social Justice Culture Women Biodiversity Carbon
How the Eager Beaver Helps Protect the Planet 10.0
How Beavers Became North Americas Best Firefighter 10.0
Smokey the Beaver: beaver-dammed riparian corridors stay green during wildfire throughout the western United States 9.0
How Indigenous and Environmental Coalitions Pushed for Beaver Restoration in Californias Budget 8.0 8.0
Indigenous Land-Based Approaches to Well-Being: The Amisk (Beaver) Harvesting Program in Subarctic Ontario Canada 9.0 9.0
Beaver believers: Native Americans promote resurgence of natures engineers 9.0 9.0
Beavers are back: heres what this might mean for the UKs wild spaces 9.0
River Otter Beaver Trial: Science and Evidence Report 8.0
Economic Benefits of Beaver-Created and Maintained Habitat and Resulting Ecoystem Services 8.0
A Biodiversity Boost From the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) in Germanys Oldest National Park 9.0
Natures Supermarket: How Beavers Help Birds And Other Species 10.0
Beavers: Dam Good For Songbirds 10.0
Beavers are diverse forest landscapers 10.0
Bringing beavers back to the Beaver State 8.0 8.0
NASA satellites reveal restoration power of beavers 10.0
An ecosystem engineer the beaver increases species richness at the landscape scale 10.0
Busy beavers: Calculating the value of ecosystems services provided by beavers. 8.0
Wildlife tourism in reintroduction projects: Exploring social and economic benefits of beaver in local settings 8.0
Protecting Beaver and Restoring Wetlands 9.0 9.0 9.0
Tule River Tribe participating in effort to bring back beavers 8.0 9.0
Economic Impact of the Beaver 8.0 8.0
Beavers Are Partners in Riparian Restoration on the Zuni Indian Reservation 9.0 9.0 9.0
Potential psychological benefits of nature enrichment through the reintroduction of Eurasian Beaver 8.0 9.0 9.0
An indigenous tribe in Washington is strategically placing beavers around to help salmon 8.0 9.0 9.0
Beavers have an impact on the climate 5.0
Could Beavers Help Deal with Climate Change? 6.0
Beavers affect carbon biogeochemistry: both short‐term and long‐term processes are involved 6.0
8.3 8.7 0.0 9.3 5.7

Action Items


Learn why beaver populations were decimated and why their restoration is vital to ecosystem health on which humans and wildlife depend. Once widespread, the Eurasian beaver population was reduced to twelve hundred animals at the start of the twentieth century. In North America, between 100 and 400 million beavers existed prior to European colonization and could be found in nearly every watershed. Today, only 10 to 15 million beavers remain. Beavers were hunted for their water-resistant fur, used for hats and clothing, and their castoreum, used in medicine and perfume. Their dams and ponds were eliminated to create farmland. Ecosystem engineers, beavers build dams inalmost any place where water can be impounded, wood is available, and habitat can be improved (from their perspective). Ponds protect beaver lodges from predators. Some landowners object to beavers, incorrectly thinking the dams interfere with water supplies. Some consider beavers a nuisance for blocking waterways and culverts and for cutting down trees. Despite viable alternatives, trapping or killing is often the only remedy employed, eliminating the ecological benefits that beavers provide. These benefits include:

Join an organization, support a campaign, and/or participate in an activity that protects or restores beaver populations and their habitat. Although regulation and management of beavers is usually controlled by wildlife agencies within federal, state, and local governments (see Governance), there are many organizations that work on behalf of beavers and their habitat. Work includes research, advocacy, surveys, beaver relocation projects, education, and other volunteer, community-based initiatives (see Key Players). Eurasian beaver populations have recovered dramatically as a result of reintroduction efforts by many people and are now estimated to number more than one million animals.

Speak up. Write an op-ed to a newspaper or social media site advocating for beavers, particularly the need to protect and restore their habitat. Destructive human activity needs to be highlighted. Here is an op-ed from Oregon protesting federal policy that allows beaver killing. Here is an op-ed in The New York Times linking beavers to the reintroduction of the gray wolf as an example of the role keystone species play in restoring ecosystem health. Here is an op-ed from the UK advocating for the reintroduction of beavers.

  • The Beaver Institute provides an extensive library of articles, videos, and web links that can help with research and writing.

Join a social media site run by an advocate for beavers. Here is a sampling of social media sites (see Key Players below):

  • The Beaver Institute on Facebook.
  • Worth a Dam has an active blog.
  • Beaver Trust on X.
  • Beaver Management Forum on Facebook.
  • The Fur Bearers on Facebook.
  • Welsh Beaver Project on X.


Farmers, Ranchers, and Private Landowners

Learn why beavers can be beneficial to your land and explore ways to coexist with them. Conflicts with beavers are real and have consequences. Their dams can flood crop fields, roads, and irrigation canals. Beavers cut down trees and damage human-made landscaping. However, removing beavers is not very effective since they will likely be replaced by new beavers. Conflicts can be mitigated. Landowners are learning that the benefits of beavers are significant. Dams keep water on the land longer, which is useful in a drought. Beavers are wetland carbon engineers, useful in an era of climate change when there is greater variability in weather extremes. Beavers increase the land’s ecological resilience to unanticipated changes. Strategies and resources to mitigate the negative impact of beavers include:

Work with agencies and others to restore beaver populations if you own appropriate habitat. Research demonstrates that beavers can help achieve restoration project success.

  • Start a pond with a Beaver Dam Analogue (BDA), often a series of vertical posts placed in a stream, interwoven with branches, and packed with mud. The pooled water entices beavers to move in, build lodges, and increase the size of the dam. Here is an example from a ranch in California.
  • Consult with a beaver expert. There are private companies, such as Ecotone, and individuals, such as Skip Lisle, that provide a variety of beaver coexistence services. Many state game and wildlife departments have beaver experts or can point you toward one.
  • Consider the tourism potential of having beavers on your land. Many countries in Europe have now reintroduced beavers, driven in part by the affection that people feel for the rodent. In the Knapdale area of Scotland, one local hotelier has reported that 20 percent of his guests were there because of the reintroduced beavers.
  • The Beaver Restoration Guidebook, produced by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and three other federal agencies, provides a practical, science-based approach for using beavers to improve ecosystem functions.
  • Join a collaborative restoration effort or a watershed group. There are regional, multistakeholder groups in the U.S. and UK involved in restoration activities and environmental conflict resolution that could help beavers. For example, the Clark Fork Coalition in Montana has a Beaver Conflict Resolution program. Groups include the Western Landowners Alliance, Sustainable Northwest, the Quivira Coalition, and the Sage Grouse Initiative. There are localized groups, including the Salmon Falls watershed collaborative in New Hampshire and the Blackfoot Challenge in Montana.

City and County/State/Federal Land Managers

Stop the loss of beaver habitat in cities and on county, state, and federal land and restore beaver populations. Many of the challenges and conflicts that involve beavers fall under the jurisdiction of government agencies. One example is the maintenance and protection of public roads, which are deteriorating as a result of more frequent and intense storm events resulting from climate change. The presence of beavers can complicate things. They can challenge flood management options as well. New thinking and investment in infrastructure are required. Options include:

  • Replace small culverts with larger and wider ones that would allow debris from bigger storm events to pass through and be less attractive to beavers.
  • Install a Beaver Deceiver, a nonlethal flow device that prevents culverts and other structures from becoming dam sites for beavers. Here is a Beaver Deceiver lecture by its inventor, Skip Lisle. Here is an example from Vancouver, B.C., involving the airport.
  • Consider the positive role beaver dams and ponds can play in aquifer recharge and incorporate them into land-use planning.
  • Beaver Solutions offers Beaver Management Plans and consulting for towns, agencies, and utilities.
  • The Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) is a regional planning tool to assess the potential of beavers as an ecological restoration agents.
  • The Fur Bearers, a Canadian nonprofit, publishes numerous options in Beavers: Coexistence Strategies for Municipalities and Landowners.
  • The Beaver Institute has started a biennial conference called BeaverCon that brings together restoration professionals, engineers, ecologists, land managers, and infrastructure specialists to learn what works.

Scientists and Researchers

Expand research on beavers. Areas of investigation include resolving conflicts over beaver reintroduction efforts, understanding public perceptions, exploring new roles for beaver restoration, and developing long-term management strategies:

  • Understanding the social dimensions of beaver reintroduction is critical to developing effective management strategies that gain public support and reduce conflicts.
  • There are few studies focused on what happens to beavers after they are translocated to a new area, making it difficult to determine best practices. This study focused on beaver relocations in the Coast Range of Oregon.
  • The effects of beaver activity in landscapes that are sensitive to climate change need to be expanded. Here is a research article about the impacts new beaver dams are having on the tundra ecosystem of the Arctic as temperatures warm.
  • More research is needed to understand the role beaver dams and ponds can play in the removal of agricultural chemicals and other pollutants from streams and lakes. Here is a study from England.
  • What role can beavers play in urban and suburban areas? Here and here are articles focused on the positive role beavers can have in urban stormwater management.


Support enterprises that protect, maintain, and restore beaver populations, particularly those involved in agriculture. Companies should support organic products and regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health, protect ecosystems, and reverse land degradation (see Degraded Land Restoration Nexus and Regenerative Agriculture Nexus).


Governments must implement policies that are beaver-friendly. These include policies that enforce the humane treatment of beavers if trapping and removal are required. Examples include:



Interview with Daniel Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.

Become a Beaver Believer / Defender Radio episode

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