U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

March 2003


Beavers in North America will occupy almost any wetland area containing available forage. Wetland restoration projects often provide the resources necessary for dispersing beavers to create desirable habitats. Their wide distribution and ability to disperse considerable distances almost assure that beavers will establish themselves in new wetlands. Although beavers are a natural and desirable component of a wetland ecosystem, their foraging behaviors can be destructive. Fencing may be a feasible approach to reduce damage to small, targeted areas, and textural repellents may provide some utility to protect established trees. However, these non-lethal approaches will be marginally effective when beaver populations become excessive. Beaver populations need to be maintained at levels that permit viable colonies while still permitting plant communities to flourish. This will require a better understanding of beaver movements, site and forage selection, and reproductive characteristics. This is particularly true when management objectives and regulations prohibit beaver removal from project sites.