Sustaining our Traditions and Culture
Sustaining our Traditions and Culture
Tulalip Natural Resources Department image of the top of a beaver lodge in the wild
Whale
Sustaining our Traditions and Culture

Beaver

The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a semi-aquatic rodent, distinguished by a paddle-like tail and webbed hind feet. Beavers are primarily a crepuscular species, with most of their activity occurring at dawn and dusk. They use their large incisors to chew down trees and shrubs, such as alder, vine maple, and salmon berry. The layer of wood beneath the bark (cambium) of cut branches and boles are consumed and remaining sticks and logs are used as building materials for beaver lodges and dams. With the construction of dams, beavers create large pools of water, which are used as escape cover from predators such as coyote, bear, bobcat, and cougar.

Why should we care about beavers?

Beavers provide unlimited ecosystem benefits to endangered salmon and other fish spawning habitat by increasing fresh water storage, reducing sediment loading, and adjusting stream flow and temperature. In addition, beaver dams have been shown to reduce the effects of intense storms, recharge groundwater, retain water in the summer and decrease high winter flows. They also transform the landscape by increasing grazing opportunities for deer, elk, and other game species, while also creating a more productive landscape for birds and amphibians to utilize.

The Tulalip Beaver Project

Beavers were trapped to near extinction in the fur trade days of the 1800s. As a species, they are beginning to recover, however there are still many places where beavers are absent that could benefit from their restorative actions. The Tulalip Beaver Project seeks to relocate nuisance beavers from urban and suburban areas to the upper Snohomish Watershed for the improvement of fish spawning habitat and fresh water storage. Staff hope to utilize these ecosystem engineers to work towards restoring and repopulating the areas where they are needed most.

Beavers instinctually fell trees to build dams and increase water for their protection, but in areas with human settlements, this can lead to many problems. When a beaver family moves into an area there is a chance of infrastructural flooding and unwanted tree removal. If you or someone you know is having nuisance beaver issues including:

  • A beaver dam is present on or near your property and water from behind the dam is flooding your home, yard, farm land, or a county road
  • A beaver is removing trees and shrubs from your property
  • Your home or a power line is at risk of being struck by a beaver-felled tree

Please contact Molly Alves or David Bailey and we will come assess the issue and determine the best course of action to solve it.

Tulalip Natural Resources Department line art image of forest or wetland area