Western Beavers is a grassroots-led campaign of ordinary folks working to support natural beaver recovery on eastern Oregon landscapes by combining scientific expertise, extensive field experience and volunteer enterprise, as a vehicle for collaboration between diverse private and public land owners and land managers, as well as natural resource agencies and academic researchers. The aim of this collaboration is the application of science-based best practices to create habitat conditions conducive to the success of natural beaver recovery.
The Cooperative provides resources, technical advice and sharing of ideas, 'beaver learnings' and best practices that include:
- Outreach and educational materials such as handouts, workshops, webinars, and more.
- DIY solutions to address problem beaver situations
- Stream surveys & beaver inventories
- Habitat assessments and recommendations to give beavers what they need to succeed
- Tapping creative funding sources
- Organizing and managing volunteer-based work crews
Two hundred years ago, it took only two decades for beavers to be nearly wiped from the Western watersheds following an intentional eradication campaign from 1823 to 1841. (Learn about this "Fur Desert" policy, from historian Jennifer Ott at "Ruining the Rivers of Snake Country".) Western Beavers works to address this historical wrong by welding together organic community connections with concrete solutions on the landscape.
A guiding perspective of the Cooperative is that beaver have their own agency and intrinsic, inherent value as members of their biological community. Beavers also contribute significant ecological services that benefit the human community in many ways.
Learn how to participate with the Cooperative here.
As a grassroots, all volunteer effort we do not accept donations but would be happy to direct you to the 501c3 nonprofits working to support beavers in their region. You can donate directly to the organizations doing on-the-ground work.
The Cooperative was started by Reese Mercer, founder of the Beaver Works program and Board Member of the Beaver Institute, born from her love for eastern Oregon landscapes, its people and communities.