First beavers released to wild by California in decades

The beavers were causing issues in Sutter County to various endangered species.
One of the three yearling kits swims away from the kennels and begins to explore its new home in Plumas County, California on October 18, 2023. The released beavers are uniquely marked with ear tags for visual identification of translocated/unique individuals, as seen here. (CDFW Photo/Travis VanZant)

California has released beavers into the wild for the first time in nearly 75 years. 

It’s part of the first phase of the beaver translocation activities in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 


Driving the news: The department released a family of seven beavers into Plumas County, specifically in a location known to the tribal community as Tasman Koyom. 

  • That family of beavers will join a single resident beaver, with the ultimate objective of re-establishing a breeding population that will maintain the mountain meadow ecosystem, the department said. 
  • Beaver restoration is funded by $1.44 million in the state’s budget this year and $1.67 million from the California Environmental License Plate Fund from the last fiscal year. 
  • The department will next work on a beaver reintroduction effort on the Tule River Reservation in the southern Sierra Nevada. 
  • This project has been the culmination of multiple years of site preparation to ensure an adequate habitat to support beaver population establishment. 
  • The beaver family was relocated from Sutter County, where their activity was damaging lands supporting several threatened or endangered species. 
  • The state will monitor the beaver family for multiple years. 

What they’re saying: “Beavers help retain water on the landscape, which increases groundwater recharge, improves summer baseflows, extends seasonal flows and increases fuel moisture during wildfire season, effectively creating green belts that can serve as wildfire buffers or breaks and provide refugia for wildlife,” said Department Director Charlton Bonham.

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