Beavers create their homes near rivers and streams across the state, and sometimes their habitats include human residential communities that can create conflicts. Fortunately, there are organizations like the Snohomish Conservation District that are helping humans coexist with these rodents of unusual size.
In 2020, we awarded the Snohomish Conservation District $510,726 to increase community-based water storage in the Snohomish River watershed. One of the ways to improve water storage is allowing beavers to live in their natural habitat and build dams that create beneficial ponds.
“Our goal is to keep beavers on a landscape for their ecological benefits and encourage people to live with them,” said Elyssa Kerr, habitat restoration project manager for the Snohomish Conservation District. “Beavers are part of the solution to help improve watersheds, along with projects that restore wetlands and increase water storage.”
The Snohomish Conservation District also collaborates with Snohomish County, the Tulalip Tribes, and local nonprofits to raise community awareness about co-existing with beavers and sharing resources. The goal is to stop lethal removal of beavers and focus on solutions to manage living with beavers.
Ultimately, we need to re-think our relationship with beavers and become comfortable with how they change the landscape. Living harmoniously with beavers can help improve streamflows and protect endangered salmon.