Officials at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have embarked on a mission to restore the population of North American beavers. They say that the beaver is a resourceful engineer that can help against wildfires. Further, the rodents are hailed for their ability to increase water storage in the soil when they create dams in the land.

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In recent years, beavers have been deemed nuisance rodents. They have been accused of flooding farmlands with their structure and in most cases hunted down. However, with California experiencing recurrent droughts, and streams and rivers drying up more people are willing to accommodate the animal.

Related: Beavers could be contributing to warming in the Arctic

In the next two years, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will invest a minimum of $3 million towards the restoration of beaver numbers. The amount will go into the creation of new jobs that will oversee the restoration of the beaver.

“It might be odd, but beavers are an untapped, creative climate-solving hero that helps prevent the loss of biodiversity facing California,” the Department of Fish and Wildlife wrote in its May proposal.

Kate Lundquist, Water Institute co-director at Arts and Ecology Center in Sonoma County says that such a move would be a big step forward for the state of California. 

“There’s been a real watershed moment as we like to say, both literally and figuratively,” Lundquist told The Times. “We feel really excited and hopeful and inspired, and ready to get muddy and start working with the beaver out there in the field, in our communities and wherever they are on the California landscape.”

Lundquist and other “beaver believers” have been petitioning the state to include beaver restoration in the conservation plan for years. They have cited the benefits of rodents when it comes to land restoration.

For instance, the California Division of Fish and Game now The Fish and Wildlife Department, used to transfer beavers to eroded regions to help restore the landscape in the mid-90s. Through their engineering, the animals can build dams, which not only prevent erosion but also help distribute water.

Via L.A. Times

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