Montana Audubon

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Support Reintroduction of Beaver in a Remote Site Near Dillon

Please respond by June 22 – do it today!

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is taking comments on a proposed beaver reintroduction 26 miles southwest of Dillon. Specifically:

  • The project is being done in cooperation with the landowner, the Bannack Grazing Association.
  • The proposal is to transplant up to 6 beaver into Reservoir Creek, where they could occupy suitable habitat on four miles of creek.
  • The project is expected to demonstrate the ecological benefits that beaver can bring to a stream system where they have been absent for 40 years.

PLEASE take the time TODAY to send FWP comments for beaver reintroduction.

NOTE: the beaver photo above was taken by the Devon Wildlife Trust.


Reservoir Creek habitat. Photo by FWP.

Write Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks TODAY to tell then that you support their project to reintroduce beaver into Reservoir Creek. This reintroduction work is designed to reestablish beaver in part of their historic range. Comments must be received by Friday, June 22, 2018.  There are two easy ways to send your comments:

  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Letter:  Montana FWP, Reservoir Creek Beaver Comments, 730 North Montana St., Dillon, MT  59725


To: Mr. Craig Fager, Wildlife Biologist, Montana FWP, Reservoir Creek Beaver Comments, 730 North Montana St., Dillon, MT  59725

Beaver photo, Washington state.

Dear Mr. Fager,

I am writing to support the proposal by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks to reintroduce beaver into Reservoir Creek southwest of Dillon. I support this reintroduction effort because:

  • I’m excited that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is working with the landowner, the Bannack Grazing Association, to reintroduce native beaver on a stream where beaver disappeared 40 years ago.
  • Reintroduction efforts can be a challenge. I believe that FWP has done a good job of setting up procedures and criteria to ensure that this project is successful. In particular, I support the work that will be undertaken to minimize impacts from the release to two culverts on the Reservoir Creek Road, as well as FWP’s commitment to obtain permission for the project from landowners located up and down the stream from the transplant location.
  • I support this project because beaver are well known for their cost-effect ability to modify aquatic and terrestrial habitat, including reducing peak runoff, increasing stream channel complexity, developing a higher water table, and providing important habitat for many wildlife species.

Keep up the good work! And thank you for the opportunity to comment.


*Helpful Hint: Letters, whether print or email, are more effective if you alter the introductory sentence and/or personalize the letter in some way.


  1. Restoring important wetlands and riparian habitat in this area will benefit wildlife.

    Great Blue Heron photo by Robert Burton, USFWS.

    Beaver have been proven to be a cost-effective ‘tool’ for stream restoration (the entire project is expected to cost $600, with ongoing maintenance costs estimated to be $50 per year). The known benefits of beaver dams include reducing peak runoff from spring flooding, increasing stream channel complexity, and deepening the water table. The wetland/pond complex established by beaver will likely benefit many wildlife species, including many birds (such as Red-winged Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey, and Bald Eagles), as well as moose and mule deer. In addition, beaver dams are known to catch significant amounts of silt and other contaminants over time, assisting with soil conservation. Beaver meadows, which develop over time, tend to support riparian grasses and sedges that are desirable to both cattle and wildlife.

  2. Reestablishing beaver to a stream they lived on 40 years ago is important. This project

    Beaver dams on small streams are great for habitat. Photo from state of Montana.

    is designed to restore a native species (beaver) to suitable habitat where they were extirpated around 1980. The landowner has requested this project be undertaken as a cost effective way to restore the area. Over time, it is expected that the habitat restored by the beaver will support preferred deciduous species like aspen, willow, dogwood, and chokecherry. As beaver dams mature, meadows are created.

  3. The checks and balances for this project are thoughtful and in place. FWP has established strict procedures that must be followed before beaver reintroduction efforts can be authorized. Among them:
  • Because FWP realizes that beaver can damage important infrastructure, they have designed this project to minimize impacts to roads from flooding. In addition, the Bannack Grazing Association is well aware that beaver may disrupt their irrigation infrastructure;

Beaver photo by Steve, Wikicommons.

  • All beaver used in this project will be trapped from existing Montana populations and will be tested to ensure that they don’t spread any diseases;
  • The Reservoir Creek area has been evaluated as having 4 miles of suitable habitat with (almost) no likelihood that beaver will reestablish themselves in this area without being transplanted.
  • All landowners up and downstream from the transplantation site must agree to the project in writing before the project can be done.
  • The project is structured so it is likely to succeed, including initially providing beaver with deep-water habitat and hiding places to help them survive predators, transplanting the animals during the best season for survival (July through September), thinking through how this remote location and private land will prevent the transplanted beaver from being trapped, etc.

4. Landowners, stream systems, and FWP will all benefit from the results of this project. FWP has rarely conducted beaver transplants; other states have routinely done so. Because of the novelty of the project in Montana, it is important that the project includes conducting periodic surveys to determine if the transplant is successful, unanticipated impacts, and how future transplantations can be better undertaken.

As part of our River Initiative, Montana Audubon works to restore native populations of plants and wildlife along out rivers and streams.

Marsh Wren photo by Bob Martinka.

For More Information:

Please send your comments so they are received by Friday, June 22, 2018!

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