Beaver Welcomed Home on Tule River Tribal Lands

We’re pleased to announce that the Tule River Tribe welcomed seven beavers into the South Fork Tule River watershed on the Tule River Indian Reservation on June 12 as part of a historic beaver reintroduction effort in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

One of seven beaver finding their way around their new home. (Image: CDFW)

OAEC’s journey with the Tule River Tribe began in 2015 when we discussed their desire to return beavers to their ancestral lands. It has been a privilege to work alongside the Tribe, and we were honored to have WATER Institute Co-Director Kate Lundquist and our close collaborator, Kevin Swift of Swift Water Design, present for the release. 

“We’ve been through numerous droughts over the years. Going through these droughts, we were wondering how we can conserve, save water, and get water here on our lands,” said Kenneth McDarment, a Tule River Tribe member and Range Supervisor. “The answer was in our pictographs.” 

A beaver pictograph, estimated to be between 500 and 1,000 years old, can be seen at Painted Rock next to the South Fork Tule River on the reservation. Tribal elders recall beavers being present in the high-elevation meadows when they were young, but before this release, beavers had not been present on the reservation for decades. 

“Beavers are a powerful nature-based solution to some of our biggest environmental challenges. Across the American West, we are experiencing more and more droughts. Beavers are a water supply solution. They slow the water down in a waterway like this. They spread it out, and they sink it,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot. 

CDFW wildlife biologists expect to eventually see better habitat conditions for several endangered amphibian and riparian-obligate bird species, including foothill and southern mountain yellow-legged frogs, western pond turtles, least Bell’s vireos, and southwestern willow flycatchers.

We are so grateful to the Tule River Tribe for the invitation to participate in this momentous event and look forward to learning more about how these beaver help restore their ancestral homelands.

Read the full press release here