by Cooper Lienhart
*BIG NEWS ALERT*
The first ever California Beaver Summit is happening next month, and we have been asked to present! We cannot even express how excited and honored we are to be included among so many wonderful and influential beaver experts from all over the country. The two-day summit is kicking off on none other than International Beaver Day, April 7th, and following up on April 9th. Register here!
The first day covers “beaver essentials” and includes talks on beaver’s history in California, how beavers create habitat for salmon, how to manage beaver conflicts, and more. The second day’s theme is “beaver dynamics” and features presentations on beavers creating refuge from fire, stream restoration by mimicking beavers and community involvement.
Our friend and beaver expert from CSU Channel Islands, Dr. Emily Fairfax, is the keynote speaker on day two, and we can’t wait to hear her presentation on beavers and fire refuge. She is kicking off the presentations, and then make sure you stay till the end because we at SLO Beaver Brigade are closing out the summit with the final presentation. We’ll talk about our journey as an organization and our vision for a healthier, greener, beaver filled California.
Excerpt from the California Beaver Summit Website
Climate change is making our state hotter, drier, and harder for people and wildlife. Find out how beaver can help.
Beaver has shaped the landscapes of California for over 5 million years. Their dams have slowed runoff and created wetlands of carbon enriched meadows. They charged aquifers, maintained stable temperatures, and cooled stream flows in California’s dry summers. Countless species and entire ecosystems have adapted to these beaver-maintained hydrologies and geomorphologies.
Today, across the US, Canada, and Europe, people have begun to better realize the value these rodents provide. The golden state has been slow to understand this lesson. The California Beaver Summit is an important step towards changing that.
During two half-day sessions on two days in April, we explore the many benefits that beavers offer to our drying state. The first session on April 7th will present an overview of beaver essentials. The discussion will clarify the history of beavers in the state, their ecological contribution as a keystone species, their function in aquatic restoration and conservation, and finally, how to successfully manage common conflicts beavers cause.
The second session on April 9th takes a closer look closer at how biologists, watershed stewards, and land managers utilize advances in beaver science and management for restoration. It addresses where they are being employed for fire resilience, conservation of endangered species, and cleaner water. California-specific management and policy challenges will be highlighted along with directions for future improvements. Because we are behind other beaver-progressive western states like Washington and Utah, California is in a unique position to avoid their mistakes and learn from their successes.
Fires in close succession and habitat destruction, in general, are significantly altering our rich biodiversity. Drought is a persistent concern. Understanding beaver management can transform this animal from an uninvited guest to an untapped resource. Their stewardship of streams can make our state more beautiful, more robust to climate change, and ultimately help keep California’s promise to future generations for years to come.