Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Utah
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Utah Project

Utah State Lands: Improving the success rate of beaver translocation efforts to benefit stream management and restoration on public lands.

July 2019 - September 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Bureau of Land Management

American beavers (Castor canadensis) are a keystone species and ecosystem engineer. They are especially important to water storage, increasing livestock forage, and creating native fish habitat in arid western ecosystems. For these reasons, beaver translocations are becoming a popular method to enhance stream restoration projects ( What was once controversial is becoming mainstream and accepted across diverse audiences ranging from ranchers to land managers. For systems where beaver have been extirpated or are not currently in, beaver translocation is a relatively cheap tool that shows much promise and has been used on and off over the past century. The concept of taking nuisance beaver from areas they are not wanted, and releasing them to areas where they can do restoration work is simple and compelling, and USU researchers have been pioneering techniques to make translocation more successful. However, using beaver to scale up restoration efforts to the actual scope of stream degradation may sound promising, but the reality is that the logistics of doing so are not simple. This study will provide critical information on beaver space use and behavioral ecology to increase the effectiveness of future stream restoration projects using beaver translocations. This project is collaboration between the Ecology Center and Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University, the US Forest Service, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Several private and public entities participated in either having beaver removed or reintroduced to their property. This research will aid directly in the management of public lands, help evaluate beaver-based restoration project success, aid in the conservation of species, provide information on beaver ecology and movement, and demonstrate how beaver restoration can be a creative, cost-effective approach to integrate management of private, state, and federal lands in Utah.

Technical Publications Publication Date
Doden, E. Budy, P., Young, J.K. 2019. Beaver re-introduction - Passive desert river restoration. Performance Report for the period January 1, 2019 to December 1, 2019 to the Bureau of Land Management. Agreement number L18AC00121. December 2019