Local Non-Profit Relocates Beavers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Local Non-Profit Relocates Beavers

SPOKANE, Wash. – There is a very specific family of beavers that lives about one hour north of Spokane and depending on your perspective the family of rodents is either the bee's knees or just for the birds.

Beavers, which eat bark, can destroy trees and can be a popular target for hunters because of their fur; but beavers can also dam streams to create water storage and slow the loss of runoff into larger rivers.

The Lands Council has relocated almost 30 beavers this fall as part of a project to study the effect rodents have on ecosystems.  The beavers were identified as a "nuisance" by land owners who wanted the animals off their property.  The non-profit group then found landowners with streams who were willing to let the animals relocate and build dams on their property.

"It's really expensive to have a human made dam and the maintenance that goes into it, said Joe Cannon, a program assistant with the Lands Council.  "With these beavers there is a natural component."

Cannon said beaver dams create a water source for agriculture can provide wetlands for fish habitats.

"We're hoping to convince everyone that this is in everybody's interest that everyone wants water," he said of the project.

The group released eight beavers in Stevens County on Tuesday morning.  Researchers plan to study whether beaver dams in the area will increase the water level in local wells.

"It seems to make sense," said Cannon," If the water is slowed, it's going to stay in the ground (near the well)."

Researchers plan to study the beaver habitats and ecosystems throughout the winter.

KHQ Local News Reporter Anthony Gomes contributed to this report.

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