Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) are exploring the possibility of introducing Beavers to the Eastern Yar, and are calling on the Government to develop a beaver strategy, as a part of a greener recovery plan for England.
In Devon, Kent, Scotland and other areas of the UK, Wildlife Trusts have been leading the way in bringing beavers back, showing how they can create thriving ecosystems and help us to put nature firmly back on the road to recovery.
The evidence and expertise
HIWWT say there’s an impressive and ever-growing body of independent scientific evidence showing the benefits that beavers can bring to society by working with nature. These include:
- Improved water quality: Beaver dams slow and filter water, causing sediment and nutrients to be deposited in ponds. This improves the quality of water flowing from sites where beavers are present.
- Land holds more water: The dams, ponds and channels created by beavers increase capacity of land to store water and produce a more consistent outflow below their dams. This can result in less water being released during heavy rainfall (reducing flooding downstream) and more water availability during times of drought.
- Carbon is captured: Beaver wetlands capture carbon, locked up in dams, and boggy vegetation and wet woodlands which are restored.
- More wildlife: Beavers create diverse wetland habitats that can provide a home for a wide range of wildlife, especially aquatic invertebrates which act as a food source for other species.
- People engaged with wildlife: People are fascinated by beavers. The presence of beavers in an area provides an opportunity for people to engage with wildlife, as well as creating a market for nature tourism.
De Retuerto: Bringing beavers back where they belong
Martin De Retuerto, Director of Projects and Services at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said:
“This is an incredibly exciting time for bringing beavers back where they belong.
“Having visited some of the fantastic projects being led by Wildlife trusts in other parts of the country, I have been inspired by the ability of these unassuming river rodents to breathe life back into barren, broken ecosystems.
“Working with the team of experts at the University of Exeter, we are now pushing forward our plans to bring beavers to the Island, as a vital part of our vision for a wilder Wight.
“We look forward to a positive response from government to help us achieve this aim.”
The Wildlife Trusts are gathering public support for an England beaver strategy and invite the public to share their views.
Read more about the benefits of beavers on the HIWWT Website.