Conservation and Management
The Department supports a comprehensive approach to beaver management in California that is responsive to conservation needs and reported human-beaver conflict, such as property damage (depredation). The conservation and management of this keystone species is supported through the implementation of various nature-based solutions. The Department also strive to provide funding to partners in conservation conducting restoration projects that can benefit the beaver.
Historically, beavers used to live in nearly every stream in North America with an estimated population of 100-200 million. Human exploitation and eradication efforts reduced those populations to approximately 10-15 million beavers today. Learn more!
Potential Conflict and Depredation
While the ecosystem services provided by beavers are increasingly valued in California, beavers can cause problems or damage to property at times. There are proven effective exclusion methods to mitigate human-beaver conflict and prevent damage due to beaver activity. For more information, visit the Human-Wildlife Conflict Program page.
Protecting Trees and Plants
Permanent exclusion and/or deterrents can be effective if selectively deployed to protect trees and shrubs, garden plots or agricultural crops.
- Install low fence (3 feet) constructed of woven or welded wire mesh. Fence should be well-anchored to the ground, so that beavers do not crush, crawl under, or walk over it.
- Install electric wire 4-6” above the ground.
- Encircle tree trunks with hardware cloth, sheet metal, or welded wire mesh (2” x 4”).
- Paint tree trunks with a sand and paint mixture to prevent beaver gnawing. Sand/paint ratio should be approximately 8 ounces (2/3 cup) of fine sand to one quart exterior latex paint.
Beavers will repair most dam breaches and plug most culverts and pipes that are installed in order to drain the ponds. They are attracted to the sound of running water A variety of devices have been developed for controlling beaver impoundments and keeping blocked culverts open. Learn more about two of these devices:
Over the past decade and throughout the western states a paradigm shift has occurred, with a transition from beavers being viewed primarily as a potential nuisance species to the growing recognition of the vast ecological benefits of beaver activity on the landscape. As a result, there is a rapidly expanding desire among landowners, land managers, restoration practitioners, and other stakeholders in California to utilize beavers for habitat and water management, ecosystem restoration, and increased resiliency to climate change and wildfire. To support the re-establishment of beavers as ecosystem engineers throughout their historical native range in California and facilitate their use in restoring watersheds and ecosystem processes, CDFW has recently created a Beaver Restoration Program (BRP).
The overarching goals of the BRP are to improve human-beaver coexistence, gather a comprehensive understanding of where, when, and how beavers can be utilized to restore ecosystem processes and habitats in California, communicate those findings in clear and meaningful ways, and with that knowledge, effectively utilize beavers as a tool (i.e., nature-based solution) in restoring and conserving habitats and watersheds in California.
To learn more about the Beaver Restoration Program, we invite you to join us for a Beaver Restoration Informational Meeting via webinar on Thursday, May 25, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This meeting marks the first in a series of informational meetings and workshops intended to inform tribes, stakeholders, and the public about CDFW’s beaver management efforts and activities.
Beaver Restoration Informational Meeting
May 25, 2023, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Join the Zoom Webinar; Passcode: 930661
Join via phone: (216) 706-7075 (USA Toll) OR (866) 390-1828 (Toll-free); Conference code: 663759
The informational meeting will provide a broad overview of CDFW’s Beaver Restoration Program, including its purpose, objectives, tasks, and timelines. Additionally, the meeting will address the implementation of pilot and future beaver translocation projects, development of a beaver co-existence toolkit, and policy updates. The meeting will conclude with a public question and answer session. Future public workshops will be scheduled to discuss human-beaver coexistence strategies and the process for developing and requesting beaver translocation projects.