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Columbia Slough Watershed Council

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Better Beaver Behavior

Conserving shady areas to help aquatic life

Two men put a beaver cage around a tree. People are often surprised to hear about “beaver caging” in our Better Beaver Behavior program. Rest assured, we don’t trap beavers in cages! Rather, we put cages around trees along our waterways to protect them from beavers who love to chew on trees.

As an urban and industrial watershed, the Columbia Slough has a limited tree canopy and thin natural areas that border the Slough’s channels. This lack of trees means less shade to cool water temperatures. The aquatic plants and animals in the Slough depend on shady cool water to thrive in the ecosystem.

Since the number of trees is limited, every tree along the Columbia Slough is important to conserve our shady areas and keep water cool. However, we also want to ensure that beavers have a chance to live in the watershed. We selectively cage trees along the Slough, leaving some trees for beavers to cut their teeth on.

Working with partners to protect our trees

A fell tree that has been chewed by a beaverBeaver caging is one of our most popular ways for people to help care for the watershed!

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council received funding from the Port of Portland to visit natural area sites and private property owners who experience a high level of damage to their trees. We partner with the Multnomah Youth Cooperative (MYC), a workforce development training program through the Reynolds Learning Academy, to complete some of the caging. We also work with volunteers and businesses to cage trees.

How we cage trees

Two men put a beaver cage around a tree. The Council selects a variety of trees to cage based on size, species and proximity to the channel shoreline. Only about a third of trees are protected, leaving plenty of trees for beavers to chew on for food, shelter, or good ol’ teeth shaving!