At 1st Midwest Beaver Summit, role of the hefty rodents praised in wetland restoration, climate change fight
By Nara Schoenberg in the Chicago Tribune
As the nation faces a future of increasing flooding, drought and wildfires, millions of 60-pound rodents stand by, ready to assist.
Beavers can transform parched fields into verdant wetlands and widen rivers and streams in ways that not only slow surging floodwater, but store it for times of drought.
Still not impressed? In 2020, three raging wildfires in Colorado — including one with walls of flame 70 feet high — effectively bowed to the flat-tailed dam-builders, according to Emily Fairfax, an assistant professor of physical geography at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.
The fast-moving “megafires” left the water-saturated areas around beaver-occupied rivers largely unharmed, while beaver-free river banks suffered extensive damage.
“We desperately need to build more climate-resilient landscapes. We need to engineer something. We need to figure out a better solution,” Fairfax said. “And what I want to ask everyone to consider, is, what about nature’s engineers?”
And yes, she said, she was referring to the beaver.
By Nate Wegehaupt
A Milwaukee-based environmental organization has filed an intent to sue both the federal government over their beaver management practices in Wisconsin.
Superior Bio-Conservancy is a nonprofit environmental organization working to protect water systems in the Great Lakes Region. They say that Wisconsin’s decade-old beaver management plan is outdated and unnecessarily kills thousands of beavers every year.
And, Superior Bio-Conservancy is threatening to sue the government agency that carries out the program – the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division.
'Institutionally refusing to accept science': Wisconsin DNR at center of lawsuit against beaver management program
By Gaby Vinick on Wisconsin Public Radio
The conservation nonprofit Superior Bio-Conservancy is taking legal action against the federal Wildlife Services division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its alleged widespread killing of beavers, accidental otter killings and beaver dam destruction.
That division is contracted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for a beaver management program that spans 1,800 miles of streams to protect trout, according to Bob Boucher, the president of Superior Bio-Conservancy.
"We are suing because this beaver elimination program violates the public trust and is directly at odds with the (Wisconsin) DNR's mission to protect and enhance our natural resources and our wildlife," Boucher said.
By Lester Graham on Michigan Public Radio
A Wisconsin-based environmental group has notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture it plans to file a lawsuit against the agency. Superior Bio-Conservancy says the USDA is funding Wisconsin’s program of killing beavers based on faulty beliefs.
“The Fisheries Department in Wisconsin has this dogma or belief that they're damaging trout streams, which is not true, and there's no science to uphold it,” said Bob Boucher, the president of the organization.
In a decade the Wisconsin DNR has killed more than 28,000 beavers, destroyed nearly 15,000 beaver dams, and accidentally trapped and killed more than 1,000 river otters because the traps being used are indiscriminate...