Scientists Are Relocating Nuisance Beavers to Help Salmon

Smithsonian Magazine

On a bright day in a suburban Seattle backyard, a very confused beaver peers out of a wire trap. His crime? Flooding a creek behind a home and causing property damage, an increasingly common occurrence in the region. Confused, the rodent squints and watches as Molly Alves, a biologist with the Tulalip Tribe, slowly wades up to him, picks him up—trap and all—and loads him into the back of her white pickup.

Alves is now set to perform an environmental switcheroo: She’s going to take the beaver out of the urban environment of western Washington and move him eastward to remote headwaters in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. She’s hoping that there, the beaver will create dams that turn the wild landscape back into a maze of wetlands that benefit wildlife from mosquitoes to brown bears, and to fish — including endangered salmon.

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