Beavers as Active Healers

Beavers are incredible at creating water retention and aquatic habitat. They don't just create habitat for themselves, but also a whole host of other species. Thus they are keystone species in many ecosystems, particularly throughout the American west.

The impacts of their removal has been tragic, but we can also begin a new relationship when we start to partner with and reintroduce beavers into our landscapes. Learn about beaver history and ecology and beaver reintroduction and coexistence efforts from the wealth of experience from our panelists:

Ben Goldfarb is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. His work has appeared in publications including the Atlantic, Science, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. His next book, on the science of road ecology, will be published by W.W. Norton & Company. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Elise, and his dog, Kit — which is, of course, what you call a baby beaver.


Brock Dolman co-founded the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (www.oaec.org) in 1994 where he co-directs the WATER Institute’s Bring Back the Beaver Campaign. He is a wildlife biologist & watershed ecologist who has been actively promoting Beaver in California since the early 2000’s. In 2012 & 2013 he co-authored two papers published in the California Fish and Game Journal on the historic range of beaver in California. He was given Salmonid Restoration Federation’s coveted Golden Pipe Award in 2012: “…for his leading role as a proponent of "working with beavers" to restore native habitat”. In 1992 he completed his BA in Agro-Ecology & Conservation Biology, graduating with honors from the University of California Santa Cruz with the Biology Department and Environmental Studies Department. 


Molly Alves is a Wildlife Biologist for the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and manager of the Tulalip Beaver Project, which partners with beavers through relocation to restore and create habitat for imperiled salmon on Tulalip Tribes ancestral lands. In the fall, she will embark on her next adventure as a Masters student at Utah State University, under the guidance of Dr. Emily Fairfax, to produce a scientific manual on beaver relocation and beaver management policies across the globe. 


Charnna Gilmore is the Executive Director for the Scott River Watershed Council, a nonprofit located within the Klamath River Basin. Charnna's work focuses heavily on restoration efforts that support process-based riverine function, in particular the use of beaver and beaver mimicry. Charnna is committed to finding solutions to complex social and ecological issues that relate to water in the West, while working to facilitate adaptive management strategies necessary for these types of restoration tools. Charnna also works on effectiveness monitoring to assess the effects of implemented projects on biological and ecological stream function, in hopes of guiding future restoration actions.