Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Beavers trapped and relocated in Sheridan Region

Beavers trapped and relocated in Sheridan Region

November 05, 2021
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Sheridan -

In late September, in cooperation with a private landowner east of Sheridan near the Powder River, Sheridan Region Aquatic Habitat Biologist Travis Cundy live-trapped one adult and three yearling beaver for relocation to the Bighorn National Forest.

With assistance from Game and Fish Sheridan Region Terrestrial Habitat Biologist Todd Caltrider and U.S. Forest Service personnel, Cundy released the beaver family on Sourdough Creek above Buffalo on Oct. 4. 

“Dam building by beaver can elevate the local water table, extend late-season stream flows, increase overbank flooding, and encourage new riparian vegetation growth along a stream segment that is incised or disconnected from its floodplain,” said Cundy. “One way to think about this approach is to take a green string with limited riparian area and turn it back into a green ribbon.”

The crew had stockpiled a small amount of woody vegetation for the beavers in preparation for their arrival and it was consumed within a few days. Subsequent visits have confirmed the beavers are still in the area and additional forage was provided to encourage them to begin caching food for the winter.

Live-trapping of beaver is done in the late summer or early fall, finishing by the end of September. This timeframe coincides with increased beaver activity as they begin winter preparations and may be less likely to leave the area to set up a new territory. To further increase the likelihood that the animals will become established at the release site,Cundy targets mated pairs or family units when identifying potential trap sites.

“If they become established at that site, eventually we hope to see more instream cover and channel complexity available as fish habitat, more streamside vegetation to grow terrestrial bugs and provide shade over the channel to benefit fish, and generally more lush forage and cover for other terrestrial species,” said Cundy.

Cundy also participated in the construction of multiple beaver dam analogs on the Amsden Creek Wildlife Habitat Management Area in September. The placement of analogs in specific areas is meant to provide short-term riparian benefits while encouraging beaver to take up permanent residence.

- WGFD -

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