About the Methow Beaver Project

 

In some cases, beavers make a nuisance of themselves by damaging orchards, eating ornamental plants, and damming irrigation ditches and drainage culverts. We meet with landowners impacted by beaver activity and look for ways to solve their problems without removing the beavers. When this isn't possible, we live-trap and move the unwanted beavers to our holding facility at the USFWS National Fish Hatchery in Winthrop.

A trapped beaver awaits processing

A trapped beaver awaits processing

Upon arrival, beavers are weighed and examined. A small sample of hair is removed for DNA testing and a PIT tag is placed in the beaver’s tail. These tiny tags allow us to identify the beaver if we recapture it in the future.

PIT tag

A PIT tag (middle of the hand) ready to implant. This is the same technology that helps identify lost pets.

Once the beavers are checked in, we pair up males and females in the hatchery raceways. If the beavers take to each other, we release them into the wild together.

Two beavers check each other out

A potential pair check each other out near an artificial lodge. The plywood on the gangplank and the woodchips inside the artificial lodge help protect the beavers’ soft feet.

Releasing a tagged beaver

A tagged beaver is released into a tributary of the Methow River

The advantage of a beaver dam over a human-manufactured dam is its adaptability over time. Beavers constantly inspect, repair, and modify their dams to maintain their homes and their food supply. No project or agency has enough funding to monitor and maintain dam structures as meticulously as beavers do on their own. By restoring beavers to the creeks and streams of the Methow watershed, we restore an important part of the local ecosystem and put it to work for us.