SACRAMENTO (June 27, 2022) – At the urging of more than 100 conservation, agricultural, business, and tribal partners – with advocacy led by Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s (OAEC) WATER (Watershed Advocacy Training Education & Research) Institute – by June 30th Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to launch a new Beaver Restoration Program at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be enacted. When the state’s new fiscal year begins on July 1, the Department will initiate new efforts to hire the professional scientific staff needed to “truly support and manage this native keystone species through the implementation of nature-based solutions.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that this day is finally here,” said the WATER Institute’s Kate Lundquist, who hailed the legislature’s passage of AB/SB 154 earlier this month. “We can’t wait for the Governor to sign it later this week. After decades of missing out on opportunities that beavers provide to create healthier ecosystems, we agree that ‘the Department must take a proactive leap towards bringing beavers back onto the landscape through a concerted effort to combine prioritized restoration projects, partnerships with local, federal, and state agencies and tribes, and updated policies and practices that support beaver management and conservation throughout the State.’”
“Governor Newsom and the legislature have leaned in on beavers and are ushering in a new era of restoration in California that creates the opportunity for nature’s engineer to thrive again,” said Brock Dolman, OAEC co-founder and WATER Institute co-director. “Working in partnership with the state, we see so many opportunities for beavers to create beneficial habitat, help fight drought, wildfire, and climate change, increase abundance of ecologically and significant plants and animals, and improve water quality and flow. We can’t wait to pitch in and assist the Department in any way we can.”
According to the Governor’s proposal, with $1.67 million in FY 2022-23 and $1.44 million FY 2023-24 and ongoing, five new environmental scientists will work to “revise beaver policies and guidelines in development of a comprehensive beaver management plan.” This team “will develop an integrated and proactive approach to mitigate human-beaver conflict specific to reported damage due to known beaver activity. The team will coordinate with other agencies and departments to prioritize beaver restoration projects.”
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s WATER Institute thanks Governor Newsom, state legislative budget leaders Senator Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Phil Ting, Senator Bob Wieckowski, and Assemblymember Richard Bloom, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham and Deputy Director Chad Dibble, Jennifer Fearing with Fearless Advocacy, and all our many partners across the state for their strong support and advocacy for this new initiative.