Laws and Regulations
Beavers are classified as a furbearing mammal in California. Below are some, but not all Fish and Game Code (FGC) laws and Title 14 California Code of Regulations (CCR) related to beavers.
- FGC § 4000-4011. Trapping Provisions(opens in new tab). Trapping conditions and license requirements. It is unlawful for any person to trap any fur-bearing mammal for purposes of recreation or commerce in fur.
- FGC § 4181. Depredators(opens in new tab). Any owner or tenant of property being damaged or destroyed or in danger of being damaged or destroyed by certain species may apply for a permit to take the animal(s). The Department encourages the use of nonlethal deterrents and permanent exclusion methods as a more effective, long-term approach to preventing damage.
- FGC § 1602. Fish and Wildlife Protection and Conservation(opens in new tab). Any person, state or local governmental agency, or public utility must notify CDFW prior to beginning any activity that may divert or obstruct the natural flow of any river, stream, or lake; or change the bed, channel, or bank of any river, stream, or lake.
- CDFW requires a Lake and Streambed Alteration (LSA) Agreement when a project activity may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources.
- Modification of a beaver dam or lodge may require a LSA Agreement. Contact your CDFW local office before installing any beaver devices.
- CCR § 401. Issuance of Permit to Take Animals Causing Damage(opens in new tab). Elk, bear, bobcat, beaver, wild pig, deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels. No animals killed pursuant to such a permit may be utilized by the permittee or their agent.
- CCR § 463. Beaver(opens in new tab). Beaver may be taken only as follows pursuant to this section: Season and Area, Bag and Possession Limit.
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 share more information about the newly created Beaver Restoration Program, CDFW hosted an informational webinar on Thursday, May 25. The meeting provided a broad overview of CDFW’s Beaver Restoration Program, including its purpose, objectives, tasks, and timelines. Additionally, the meeting addressed the implementation of pilot and future beaver translocation projects, development of a beaver co-existence toolkit, and policy updates, and concluded with a 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.
View a recording of the Beaver Restoration Program Informational Meeting (Video)(opens in new tab).