The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the availability of up to $2 million in grant funding for non-lethal beaver damage management, in support of ecosystem restoration and protection under the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative and CDFW’s beaver restoration and human-wildlife conflict program objectives.

The North American beaver’s critically important role as an ecosystem engineer and keystone species, particularly as climate change, drought and wildfires increase in severity, has gained rapidly growing recognition in recent years. Because they are crucial to restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems and their functions, CDFW has implemented new measures to maintain healthy beaver populations in suitable habitat throughout California.

In 2023, CDFW established a Beaver Restoration Program and adopted a beaver depredation policy that promotes human-beaver coexistence. CDFW recognizes that the very behavior that makes beavers so valuable to the ecosystems they maintain (e.g., felling trees, damming waterways) can often lead to direct conflict with landowners and local municipalities. CDFW’s new policy calls for thorough evaluation of beaver damage complaints, including identifying where effective and feasible non-lethal damage deterrent options exist and providing recommendations for non-lethal strategies that can be implemented in lieu of lethal beaver management. Installation of these devices and equipment may be done proactively to prevent beaver damage or may be pursued to abate damage as an alternative to obtaining a depredation permit.

This new funding opportunity is intended to help support the transition toward non-lethal beaver damage management by making available financial resources to assist with both direct implementation of recommended non-lethal management and technical assistance for installation, maintenance, etc.

As part of the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative, entities eligible for this funding opportunity include Tribes, non-governmental organizations and public agencies. Through grants awarded to eligible entities, the objectives of this program also include outreach and the reimbursement or direct funding to private landowners.