Our climate hero, the American beaver, will be
getting its own management plan in New Mexico after the state
senate passed a memorial recognizing the busy rodent’s value to water
supplies and ecosystems—especially in times of drought.
The beaver memorial acknowledges that the dams,
ponds and associated wetlands created by beaver are known to increase
groundwater percolation, which raises local groundwater tables and increases
water storage. The memorial also
recognizes the critical role that ecosystem restoration could play in
protecting and recovering many imperiled species.
WildEarth Guardians worked
with state lawmakers to draft the memorial and shepherd it through the
state legislature. The memorial directs the state wildlife agency and other
relevant agencies to report back to the legislature by September 1st
on an approach for how best to develop the beaver management plan.
Only Oregon and Utah have statewide beaver
management plans, both of which recognize the climate adaptation benefits
beaver can offer.
WildEarth Guardians statewide assessment found beaver populations are
dangerously low on public lands in New Mexico. Over 80% of streams on public
lands could support the dam-building ecosystem engineer. And yet recent surveys
have found few active beaver in streams and rivers on national forests in the
Now the hard work begins of coordinating a
multi-agency and stakeholder process to develop the management plan that
benefits beaver and New Mexico’s headwaters. WildEarth Guardians will continue
to lead the reestablishment of functional beaver populations on public lands
across the state.
This is a big victory for beaver and ecosystems in the West and we
hope you will join us and support this critical ecosystem restoration and
climate adaptation work.