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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Problems associated with beaver in stream or floodway management


In California, beaver (Castor canadensis) were first recognized for their value as a furbearer. Additionally, in many areas, beaver are considered desirable if not essential components of stream and wetland ecosystems. Where beaver and human activity overlap, beaver have become nuisance animals causing direct damage through dam building, flooding, bank denning, and loss of agricultural crops. Other problems such as the threat of levee failure and subsequent flooding, increases in undesirable brush growth due to a raised water table, restricted access due to flooding, and an increased mosquito population resulted in the Department of Water Resources (DWR) developing a beaver management program. In 1984, DWR entered into a long-term agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Damage Control (ADC) program to eliminate a large existing population of beaver and remove subsequent reinvading individuals from a 20-mile stretch of man-made Cherokee Canal in Butte County, California. In addition, existing dams, lodges, dens, and heavy brush growth were removed in an attempt to insure the flood safety of the project and modify the existing habitat making it less suitable for reinvading beavers. Both the costs and results of this program are discussed, as well as the long-term management strategy for this project

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