The Connecticut Beaver Initiative
A Dam Good Idea!
Beavers, those famously busy ecological engineers, are a keystone species that plays a crucial role in biodiversity. Innumerable species, many of which are either threatened or endangered, rely either partly or wholly on beaver-created habitat. Beaver activities also have many other benefits, including filtering pollutants from surface and groundwater, decreasing erosion, protecting against drought, and slowing and storing stormwater.
Beaver dam building creates ponds with the deep, calm waters in which they construct their lodges, safe from predators. This, unfortunately, can cause conflict with landowners and municipalities when homes or roads flood, or when vegetation is used by beavers for food and building materials. All too often, this leads to beavers being killed and their dams removed.
Fortunately, there are non-lethal options available for peaceful coexistence. Thanks to a generous $25,500 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation of Connecticut, property owners and towns within our state are now eligible for financial assistance to resolve conflicts in a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, humane, and long-term manner.
Grant money will be available to any Connecticut property owner, town, or organization experiencing a problem with beavers while funds last. Find more information with the Connecticut Beaver Initiative or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. August 4 the Beaver Institute is hosting a free webinar with the Town of Norfolk Conservation Commission to discuss the importance of beavers and give more details on this new grant funding.
The way we treat our fellow creatures and natural areas reflects on our understanding of the world we live in. Rather than eliminate a species from its environment (which can cause a series of unforeseen negative consequences), non-lethal efforts towards peaceful coexistence, in addition to measures that preserve and expand habitats, will help to protect not only beavers but also other wildlife populations. Promoting respectful environmental stewardship will result in a healthier planet for all.
Kathleen Magner is Sierra Club Connecticut’s Wildlife Committee Chair.