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A Historic Release Of Wildlife

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Sonora, CA — Last month, a beaver family was successfully replanted in Plumas County, marking the first time in nearly 75 years that California has released these dam-building mammals into the wild.

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the historic release represents the first phase of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) North American beaver restoration project on the ancestral lands of the Mountain Maidu people.

“Thanks to the leadership of our tribal partners and years of preparation, beavers are returning to their original homeland around the state,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “California is restoring wildlife and critical habitat by working hand-in-hand with the tribes that have stewarded these lands.”

The seven-member beaver family has joined a single beaver residing in the valley with the ultimate objective of re-establishing a breeding population that will maintain the mountain meadow ecosystem, its processes, and the habitat it provides for numerous other species, according to CDFW. Another beaver release will follow on the Tule River Reservation in the southern Sierra Nevada soon.

“Beavers help retain water on the landscape, which increases groundwater recharge, improves summer baseflows, extends seasonal flows, and increases fuel moisture during wildfire season, effectively creating green belts that can serve as wildfire buffers or breaks and provide refugia for wildlife,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham, who joined the historic beaver release. “We look forward to duplicating these efforts on the Tule River Reservation in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains this spring.”

The translocated beaver family was relocated from Sutter County, where their activity was damaging lands supporting several threatened or endangered species. To date, the entire family group, which consists of a breeding pair and their offspring, has survived. For more information about CDFW’s beaver management and restoration activities, click here.

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