About OAEC’s

Bring Back the Beaver Campaign

The WATER Institute’s Bring Back the Beaver Campaign is one of California’s leading efforts to legitimize beaver and process-based restoration as important low-cost, nature-based strategies to restore California’s degraded water resources and build resilience to the increasingly catastrophic impacts of climate change. Our work has dramatically changed the way our resource agencies and communities 1) understand the critical role beaver play in aquatic habitat restoration and endangered species recovery and 2) center our tribal partners’ sovereign rights to restore this culturally significant species. With the goal to improve water supply for humans and the environment and increase resilience to drought and climate change, we are working to integrate beaver restoration into California policy, regulation and practices.

Timeline of Campaign

2000 – 2002

Brock brings up the idea of reintroducing beaver to Willow Creek to CDFW, State Parks and UC scientists and gets mainly shut down and told they were not ever native to the area.

2004

The WATER Institute is formally founded and begins developing trusted relationships and carrying out holistic watershed restoration and listed species recovery efforts.

2007 – 2012

 Brock insinuates that beaver benefits salmon to the Salmon Restoration Federation (SRF) conference and community. This is not well received as most folks believe beaver are ‚Äúbad for fish passage.‚ÄĚ Brock invites strategic scientific presenters, such as Dr. Michael Pollock (author of seminal papers correlating the benefits of beaver to coho salmon restoration) to the 2010 conference. This legitimizes the idea for the salmon recovery community.

2009

The Bring Back the Beaver Campaign is formally launched.

2009

Gordon Leppig of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) approaches Brock after his Bioneers keynote. This begins our first important CDFW pro-beaver insider relationship.

2010

Brock, Dr. Rick Lanman and Heidi Perryman (Worth A Dam) begin sourcing historical info which results in the first review of the historic evidence beaver paper in 2012.

2010

The WATER Institute begins strategically working with restoration communities that could benefit from beaver restoration, including those working with salmonids and in mountain meadows and riparian rangelands. 

2011

Brock brings Dr. Michael Pollock to Scott Valley to meet with pro-beaver partners from the Scott Valley Watershed Council and Will Harling of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council

2012

Brock creates the first CA Beaver Flag logo for a talk which then becomes the logo for the Bring Back the Beaver Campaign.

2012

The WATER Institute to the first peer-reviewed beaver historic ecology in the Sierra Nevada paper, published in the California Fish and Game Journal 

2012

Taking advantage of the scholarly events associated with the Fort Ross Bicentennial, Kate begins research for coastal historic evidence paper.

2012

The WATER Institute and other advocates form the California Beaver Working Group, an ad-hoc group of scientists, agency and non-profit staff interested in the stewardship of beaver in California, convene their first meeting.

2012

SRF gives Brock the Golden Pipe Award for beaver innovation. This is important as it reflects the critical pivot point turning of our first, semi-anti beaver community into beaver believers. 

2012

The Nature Conservancy hires The WATER Institute to do a coastal coho salmon-focused historic review report.

2012 – 2014

The WATER Institute and other colleagues are invited by the National Marine Fisheries Service staff to contribute language that explains the potential benefits of beaver to coho salmon to support their inclusion as a legitimate partner in coho salmon recovery. See the recovery plans for the Central CA Coast and Northern CA and Southern OR.

2014

The WATER Institute contributes to the second peer-reviewed historic ecology paper, published for the coast and Southern California in the Fish and Game Journal.

2014 – Present

Kate brings beaver restoration to the first annual Sierra Meadows Partnership Meeting to increase that community‚Äôs awareness of the importance of beaver to meadow and focal species restoration. Brock and Kate attend annual meetings every year thereafter. This is a key community to insinuate the idea of beaver nativity and broader benefits to other species people care about, such as Sierra Nevada Willow Flycatcher or Cascades Frog. 

2014

The WATER Institute convinces CDFW to add beaver coexistence strategies to its ‚ÄúKeep Me Wild‚ÄĚ section of their website which later changes to ‚ÄúHuman-Wildlife Conflicts: Beaver‚ÄĚ.

2014

Kate and Brock conduct a presentation and field visit for CDFW Region 3 (Bay Area) Staff to learn about the benefits of beaver to coastal stream and salmonid restoration.

2014

The WATER Institute brings Dr. Michael Pollock to a Child‚Äôs Meadow convening co-hosted with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) which leads to the study proposal and CDFW funding award. 

2014

Kate and Kevin Swift train with Sherry Tippie in Colorado on how to properly live trap and relocate beaver

2015

The WATER Institute starts working on getting beaver restoration assessments and demonstration projects installed such as the beaver dam analog (BDA) in mountain meadows with Damion Ciotti (USFWS) at Audrain Meadow

2015

Kate and Kevin Swift give beaver restoration and coexistence presentation to Caltrans District 5 staff. This is a key win with a large state agency that leads to the installation of a pond leveler device at their Prunedale mitigation site.

2015

The WATER Institute co-develops the CASTOR beaver intrinsic model with Jacob Pollock.

2015

Kate and Brock meet with CDFW Director Bonham and Wildlife Fisheries Branch Directors and face resistance when discussing the development of a Beaver Management Plan.

2015

The WATER Institute meets with both the Tule River Tribal Council and the Maidu Summit Consortium to discuss beaver restoration. Damion Ciotti (USFWS) introduces The WATER Institute to Kenneth McDarment and the Tule River Tribal Council to discuss beaver restoration.

2015

Kate and Brock meet with the Maidu Summit Consortium to discuss beaver restoration. Both Damion Ciotti and Amy Crawford introduce The WATER Institute to Kenneth Holbrook (Executive Director) and others from the Maidu Summit Consortium to discuss beaver restoration.

2015

Kate and Kevin Swift participate in beaver live trapping and relocation methods training with the Methow Beaver Project in Washington state.

2015

CDFW follows The WATER Institutes’ recommendation and includes beaver restoration in the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan.

2015

2015: Kate contributes to the Canadian Miistakis Institute’s Beaver Restoration Across Boundaries project.

2015

2015: Kate reviews and edits the Beaver Restoration Guidebook.

2015

Kate meets with Sierra Wildlife Coalition and the US Forest Service in Lake Tahoe to discuss solutions for human beaver conflicts. US Forest Service staff changes their management attitudes due to our 2012 paper and adds beaver signage to their interpretive displays.

2016

The WATER Institute releases the first edition of Beaver in California: Creating a Culture of Stewardship guidebook.

2016

An iNaturalist ‚ÄúBeaver Blitz‚ÄĚ for Sonoma Creek is initiated by The WATER Institute

2016

The WATER Institute successfully includes beaver restoration in the Sierra Meadows Partnership’s Sierra Meadows Strategy.

2016

USFWS funds The WATER Institute to carry out a West Marin beaver reintroduction feasibility assessment.

2017 – 2019

Kate and Brock work with The Nature Conservancy to run the Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) for California and bring Utah State’s Dr. Joe Wheaton to visit Scott River Watershed Council partners in the Scott Valley.

2018
2018

The WATER Institute participates in the USFWS-led Process-Based Restoration (PBR) workshop held at Doty Ravine, Tásman Koyóm and Child’s Meadow.

2019

Ben Goldfarb includes The WATER Institute’s work in his California chapter of the best-selling book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.

2019 – 2022

Kate and Brock work with Sutter National Wildlife Refuge and Roosevelt Ranch to further develop and promote the Beaver Back Saver coexistence device.

2019

The WATER Institute and co-petitioners file a regulation change petition with the CA Fish and Game Commission to get CDFW to develop a rigorous guidance document for how they issue beaver depredation permits to landowners. The petitioners advocate that landowners be required to try co-existence measures first and, if present, protect endangered species before receiving a permit to kill the beaver.

2019

Wildlife Protection Act is passed which prevents beaver from being killed in traps (bill language).

2020

The WATER Institute convenes a beaver policy meeting in Yreka.

2020

The WATER Institute completes a Beaver Recruitment Strategy at Tásmam Koyóm for the Maidu Summit Consortium.

2020

Kate and Brock give significant input on beaver monitoring protocols for the Sierra Meadows Partnership’s Sierra Meadows Wetland & Riparian AreaMonitoring Plan (SM-WRAMP).

2020

The WATER Institute supports the Tule River Tribe in applying for and being awarded a USFWS Tribal Wildlife Grant for relocation and meadow restoration.

2021

The WATER Institute helps organize and present at the California Beaver Summit.

2021

The WATER Institute advocacy efforts get a significant boost when we begin working with lobbyist Jennifer Fearing of Fearless Advocacy, Inc.

2021

CDFW redesigns its beaver webpage, formally acknowledging their conservation value and including links to The WATER Institute’s publication Beaver in California, Cultivating a Culture of Stewardship.

2022

In collaboration with Prunuske Chatham, Inc., The WATER Institute contributes beaver restoration and coexistence considerations to the Working with Beavers on Sonoma Water Channels and the Fryer Creek Beaver Impact Analysis and Alternatives Development Report for Sonoma Water agency.

2022

With Jennifer’s guidance, we coordinate a massive show of support for the letter we submit to Director Wade Crowfoot at the CA Natural Resource Agency. Beaver and process-based restoration are included as nature-based solutions in the final version of the Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy.

2022

The legislature approves the Governor’s budget including funds to create a new CDFW-led Beaver Restoration Program.

2022

Along with lobbyist Jennifer Fearing, we convene the first monthly meeting of the CA Beaver Policy Working Group to discuss state-level advocacy, strategize next steps, and coordinate around policy and projects.

2023

The WATER Institute partners with the CA Beaver Policy Working Group to carry out a successful tour for 50 state leaders of one of CA’s best beaver restoration sites.

2023

CDFW Beaver Restoration Program announces it will carry out two beaver conservation translocation pilot processes this year with the Maidu Summit Consortium at Tásmam Koyóm and the Tule River Tribe at their reservation.

2023

CDFW announces new policy in response to The WATER Institute petition to the Fish and Game Commission to require coexistence solutions be exhausted before kill permits are issued for ‚Äúnuisance‚ÄĚ beavers.

2023

CDFW convenes The WATER Institute and its recommended partners in a Technical Advisory Group to advise on the creation of the first-ever Beaver Management Plan.

2023

First translocation carried out by the CDFW Beaver Restoration Program at Tásmam Koyóm.

2024

The WATER Institute is awarded a $2 million block grant to develop a program to build California’s capacity for successful beaver coexistence implementation.

Accordion Heading