After years of being the cause of floods in neighborhoods, blocking streams, and taking down trees, beavers are looking like California's new climate change hero.
California implemented a new policy encouraging landowners to seek alternative ways to combat damage caused by beavers such as using wraps on trees or devices to continue the flow of water on streams before asking the state permission to kill the animals. The new policy helps to save beavers and maintain their natural lifestyle.
A large portion of beavers used to live in the Central Valley and Nothern California, but after years of trapping and permit removal, their numbers have dwindled. While their exact numbers are unknown, the requests for permits to kills the animals from landowners each year are in the hundreds.
According to KTLA 5 and California's Departments of Fish and Wildlife, "the beaver population in North America used to range between 100 million and 200 million but now totals between 10 million and 15 million."
Beavers are not a protected species; however, they help create habitats that are crucial for other species like the coho salmon. The salmon grow and thrive in the beaver ponds before heading to the ocean where their chances of survival are much higher, says Tom Wheeler, the executive director of Enviornmental Protection Information Center.
Relocation measures are underway in an attempt to minimize the number of licenses issued to landowners to kill the animals. One of those plans helps to relocate the beavers to the Tule River in Tulare County later this year.