Enthusiasm for beavers and their role as ecopartners is growing! Why? They are nature’s original engineers, deftly creating new riparian habitat and healthy streams. But sometimes beavers need a little redirection, especially when their dams create flooding where we don’t want water, such as low-lying roadways or bridges.

Project lead Elissa Chott (Clark Fork Coalition) discusses installation with Park Manager Mike Kustudia. Photo by Sarah Bates

To capitalize on beavers’ intuitive talents and to guide their good work in Council Grove State Park near Missoula, Montana, we recently collaborated with state wildlife managers and conservation partners to install a customized wire-frame structure to prevent beavers from damming a culvert under an access road. This allowed park managers and neighboring landowners to continue to reap the benefits of beavers who are busy in the area, and at the same time prevent beavers from flooding the park’s main access road. 

Watch how we did it:

Thanks to a collaborative partnership between the Clark Fork Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and Defenders of Wildlife, expert assistance is now available to public and private landowners seeking non-lethal approaches to manage beaver activity.

Park managers pound the corner posts to secure the culvert fence. Photo by Sarah Bates

Together we can build greater tolerance for beavers on our landscape by reducing beaver conflicts and increasing awareness of the many benefits of beaver activity.

Thanks to Britt Faulkner (Defenders of Wildlife) for creating this video for our project team!

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s work to restore beavers in western watersheds here.