Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Beavers Could Help in Adapting to Climate Change

Beavers Could Help in Adapting to Climate Change
Beaver ponds can help prevent erosion and reduce flooding after heavy precipitation. NPS / Kent Miller

Beavers often get a bad rap for cutting down trees and building unwanted ponds on private property.

But Jen Vanderhoof of Washington State's King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks wants to help redeem this hard-working rodent's reputation.

"We're very obviously concerned about climate change, and I feel like beavers could help us," she said.

In the Northwest, warming temperatures and earlier snowmelt could cause water shortages in the summer. But Vanderhoof said that after beavers build a dam, "not only do you have more water being stored on the surface, but it's also filtering down into the groundwater, and so you're storing more water both above and below the surface that way."

Beaver ponds can also help slow water down as it flows through a watershed. That can help prevent erosion and reduce flooding after heavy precipitation.

Vanderhoof said the wet landscapes that beavers create can even help control wildfires.

"They are basically creating natural fire breaks," she said.

So she helps people find ways to manage beavers on their properties without killing or trapping them. And she said in some areas, introducing beavers can provide important climate benefits.

"They've got it all figured out," she said. "If we can just figure out how to work with them a little bit better."

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

A North Atlantic right whale feeds off the shores of Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts in 2015. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The population of extremely endangered North Atlantic right whales has fallen even further in the last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hundreds of Canadian children took part in a massive protest march against climate change in Toronto, Canada, on May 24, 2019. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Heather Houser

Compost. Fly less. Reduce your meat consumption. Say no to plastic. These imperatives are familiar ones in the repertoire of individual actions to reduce a person's environmental impact. Don't have kids, or maybe just one. This climate action appears less frequently in that repertoire, but it's gaining currency as climate catastrophes mount. One study has shown that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from having one fewer child in the United States is 20 times higher—yes 2000% greater—than the impact of lifestyle changes like those listed above.

Read More Show Less


For the first time on record, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing by late October. Euronews / YouTube

By Sharon Guynup

At this time of year, in Russia's far north Laptev Sea, the sun hovers near the horizon during the day, generating little warmth, as the region heads towards months of polar night. By late September or early October, the sea's shallow waters should be a vast, frozen expanse.

Read More Show Less
Fossil remains indicate these birds had a wingspan of over 20 feet. Brian Choo, CC BY-NC-SA

By Peter A. Kloess

Picture Antarctica today and what comes to mind? Large ice floes bobbing in the Southern Ocean? Maybe a remote outpost populated with scientists from around the world? Or perhaps colonies of penguins puttering amid vast open tracts of snow?

Read More Show Less
A baby orangutan displaced by palm oil plantation logging is seen at Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Center in Borneo, Indonesia on May 27, 2017. Jonathan Perugia / In Pictures / Getty Images

The world's largest financial institutions loaned more than $2.6 trillion in 2019 to sectors driving the climate crisis and wildlife destruction, according to a new report from advocacy organization portfolio.earth.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch