Beavers seem to be making their way into the news lately, and for good reason – beavers = water. They naturally make dams and dig channels in rivers to slow, spread and sink the water. Basically, they are catching and holding as much water as possible on the landscape, and recharging our groundwater aquifers, so the water doesn’t run straight to the ocean. This is great news for all of us here in California; it’s hard to think of a place on Earth that is in more dire need of sustainable and reliable water storage. We are already heading into a worsening drought, wildfires have brought mass destruction and are expected to return, and many aquifers we rely on for drinking water and agriculture are in critical overdraft.
But fear not! Beavers are here to help, and California is finally taking notice. This year a thousand people gathered online for the first ever, sold-out, California Beaver Summit. This Summit was organized by Heidi Perryman of Worth A Dam and Sonoma State University with reputable sponsors including Biodiversity First!. This two-day virtual summit was filled with talks from renowned beaver experts from across the country, and members of the SLO Beaver Brigade were honored to be invited to present as well. The presentations covered a wide range of hot topics. The first day featured discussions on the history of beavers in California, how to manage beaver conflicts, and partnering with beavers for river restoration. Day two shone a light on how beavers create fire-resilience, create habitat for endangered species, and closed out with the story of the SLO Beaver Brigade and its vision for a healthier, greener, beaver-filled California.
Both days of the Summit were recorded, and you can watch them on the California Beaver Summit website https://cabeaversummit.org/. Heidi Perryman also put together these great 5-minute “summit highlight” videos so you can get a taste of all the presentations.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to get on SLO Beaver Brigade’s mailing list to stay up to date on what they are up to and also sign up for a Watery Walk so you can come see the beaver’s lush habitat yourselves.
SLO Beaver Brigade