National Beaver Working Groups Autumn 2023 Updates


It’s been 14 months since the National Beaver Working Groups officially launched. This summer we held an open house to share updates and welcome new members, but a written update is well overdue. There’s been so much activity and movement that reflection and reporting has been curtailed!

The working groups are taking on systemic issues and challenges with a broad, activated network of over 100  folks (including you!) and growing weekly, with participants including nonprofits, policymakers, scientists and researchers, restoration practitioners, field technicians, educators, artists, tribal, state and federal agencies, and beyond, beyond, beyond.

As we navigate and refine this largely volunteer working body, we’re eager for feedback and suggestions. And now with Beaver Institute’s Program Specialist, Avary Sassaman, on board, we expect to further build out this forward-moving vehicle that Dr. Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski has been instrumental in co-constructing and facilitating.

Policy & Legal (chaired by Rob Walton and Alexa Whipple) has become an activated hub for discussing legislative, regulatory, and policy issues relating to beaver and beaver-managed habitat.  The networking between non-profits, landowners, policymakers, and state, tribal and federal agencies continues to grow and we are actively seeking and cultivating membership from across the United States. Current and ongoing projects include:
  • Providing feedback on the DAMS for Beavers Act, a bill from Representative DelBene (WA) to be reintroduced to the House this fall;
  • Activating partners to review state-by-state beaver-related permitting and related issues;
  • Prompting the development of a New York Beaver Coalition and a Vermont Beaver Coalition;
  • Connecting with lobbyist and non-profits advancing progressive nature-based solutions and beaver-related policy; 
  • Providing presentational platforms for state and local regulatory permitting successes and challenges; 
  • Conducting an interview survey with beaver management and stream restoration professionals throughout the Mountain West on regulatory challenges and hurdles; and
  • Prompting Modernization of Beaver Mgmt in WA State – beyond legal permitting of relocation, and seeking to include prioritized coexistence strategies & training, sustainable population mgmt, and regulated lethal removal

Next meeting: December 11 @ 9am PT / 10am MT / 11am CT / 12pm ET


Communications (chaired by Adam Burnett and Sheanna Steingass) functions as an imaginarium of possibility, forging creative connections between individuals organizing locally, state-wide, and nationally. The monthly meetings serve as a forum for brainstorming, sharing challenges and successes, developing campaigns and initiatives, and a supportive space for practicing transparency and vulnerability in community. The working group is currently developing a winter/spring 2024 beaver webinar series to follow the Beavers Uncovered! Series, as well as serving as an advisor for the North American Beaver Advocacy course in collaboration with The Fur-Bearers, Beaver Institute, Beaver Adult Education Subcommittee and the Policy & Legal Working Group. Other projects include:
  • Coordinating outreach with the Policy & Legal Beaver Working Group groups around Oregon implementing coexistence measures to garner feedback on hurdles and challenges.
  • Researching on and compiling future partners and collaborations for future webinars and other public program opportunities
  • A Communications Working Group Collective Learning Session will be held on February 27 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET with Suzanne Teller (Luckiamute Watershed Council/Mid-Willamette Beaver Partnership) giving a talk on lessons learned from a recent community survey effort on beaver perceptions and relationships 
  • Currently taking submissions for webinar topics/ideas for winter/spring 2024 with a lean toward expanding beaver consciousness through unexpected and surprising portals (reach out to beaverinstitute.adam@gmail to submit ideas before Nov 27, 2023)

Next Meeting: November 28 @ 12pm PT / 1pm MT / 2pm CT / 3pm ET


Education (chaired by Sally Albright (Adult Ed.) and Alison Zak (Youth Ed.)) have recently formed two sub-committees focused on a variety of projects. The Youth Education Working Group is building a comprehensive resource library for educators and the general public to be housed on Beaver Institute’s website. The Adult Education Working Group will contribute to the development of a North American Beaver Advocacy Course, in partnership with The Fur-Bearers and Beaver Institute. The Education Working Group also sits on the BeaverCON 2024 Steering Committee and are actively building networks and opportunities for youth engagement throughout the conference in Boulder, Colorado in October 2024.

Next Meetings: Reach out to Sally Albright (Adult Ed., and Alison Zak (Youth Ed., for upcoming subcommittee meeting dates


Funding (chaired by Rachel Siegel) has hosted multiple professional development workshops and webinars on grant management and writing, governmental funding opportunities, and best practices in nonprofits administration. The working group has developed comprehensive funding databases for nonprofits seeking beaver-related project support, and has made themselves available for feedback and application review. There is also a comprehensive guide, “How to Apply for Funding for Beaver Advocacy,” on the NBWG website. We continue to collect successful applications for grant funding for a variety of beaver-related projects. The working group sits on the steering committee for BeaverCON 2024 with a goal to raise $30,000 to support scholarships and stipends for the event in Boulder, CO in October 2024.

Next Meeting: November 20 9am PT / 10am MT / 11am CT / 12pm ET


Beaver Management (chaired by Michael Callahan and Jakob Schockey) serves as a hub for knowledge-sharing between beaver wetland professionals and others with an emphasis on reviewing and disseminating information on innovative or experimental beaver management methods. We are also developing a collaborative relationship with the USFWS and others who are responsible for regularly updating the Beaver Restoration Guidebook.

Next Meeting: December 1 @ 11am PT / 12pm MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET


Science & Research (chaired by Shawn Behling, Dr.  Brian Clarke, and Dr. Sandra Clinton) serves as a forum for discussing and sharing existing and ongoing beaver-related science, as well as identifying and promoting future research needs. The working group holds bi-monthly presentations on beaver-related science topics, with follow up meetings to discuss and advance dialogue on presented topics. The working group is compiling a comprehensive (and growing) database of the “best available” beaver-related research, existing knowledge or data gaps, and future research needs (critical unanswered questions). The working group has or is in the process of forming subcommittees for each of the primary research topics – Relocation & Population, Beaver Biology/Ecology/Functions, Biodiversity & Climate Change, Restoration & Management Methods and Impacts, Human/Social-Science Dimensions.

Next Meeting: November 9 @ 11am PT / 12pm MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET


To join any of the working groups, please reach out to