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The Green Life: Green Jobs for Beavers

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March 13, 2009

Green Jobs for Beavers

Beavers building a damIf a new proposal gains support, Washington state could enlist the help of several hundred thousand big-toothed, furry mammals to manage the region's water, reports Sightline Daily. With climate change causing mountain snow to melt earlier in the spring, Washington's rivers are low on water by mid-summer, threatening farmers and causing problems for fall salmon runs. To store more of the spring runoff, the state ecology department has proposed the construction of three large dams, which would carry hefty price tags for taxpayers. 

The Lands Council, a Washington-based nonprofit, has come up with a counter proposal: Let beavers do the work. Native to the area but overhunted back when beaver pelts were in vogue, the Washington beaver has a population around 400,000. The Lands Council hopes to more than double that number by reintroducing beavers into key areas. The council is hosting a Working Beavers Forum at the end of March to discuss the proposal. Will Washington state residents take kindly to the idea? While some people consider the industrious builders to be pests, worldwide supporters of the animal praise its ecological benefits and encourage peaceful coexistence between humans and beavers.

--Della Watson

Share your thoughts: Do you think it's a good idea to use beavers for water management?

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