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Environment

To Fix Salmon Streams, Leave It to Beavers

November 26, 2018

At the height of the fur trade in the mid-1800s, Washington beavers were being trapped and killed for their pelts by the thousands. Now they’ve rebounded into the suburbs and even golf courses, but the big rodents aren’t always welcome: Nuisance beavers cause flooding and down trees with such frequency they can damage houses or take out power lines.

In response, lethal beaver-trapping resumed, but the Tulalip Tribes came up with a a plan to relocate aquatic troublemakers to rivers in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Now, these brilliant ecosystem engineers are doing more than just finding a new home: They’re mitigating some of the impacts of climate change for Washington’s threatened salmon. Relocated beavers dam up natural streams with such efficiency that they create the deep, cool pools salmon need to thrive.

Join us to watch how scientists trap, rehabilitate and relocate beavers from suburban pond to mountain stream — and discover the strange technique used to tell a male beaver from a female.



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Sarah Hoffman

Sarah Hoffman is a science and environment producer for Crosscut and KCTS 9.

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