In the News

  • CBS News Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

    From pest to protector: How beavers are helping fight climate change

    As nearly 40% of the country is currently in drought, scientists are looking to the largest rodent in North America for help: the beaver. Researchers in California and Utah found that dams made by the animals can help create drought- and fire-resistant landscapes. 

    "Beavers move in here and they slow this water down," California State University professor Emily Fairfax told CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti. "It goes into recharging the groundwater and that's what we're pumping for irrigation. That's what we use for our food. That's what we use for our lawns."

    According to Fairfax's research, the dams beavers make out of sticks and mud help to prevent rainwater and snowmelt from draining down rivers and into oceans. Instead, the dams work as a natural fire break and reservoir capable of storing water for years that gets released into land slowly over time to create a more fire- and drought-resistant landscape. 

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