Introduction of beavers to the Isle of Wight could help put nature firmly back on road to recovery

If the Wildlife Trust’s hopes are fulfilled, we could see beavers being introduced on the Isle of Wight – bringing with them positive thriving eco systems

beaver

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.

Image: beckymatsubara under CC BY 2.0

Saturday, 23rd May, 2020 7:57am

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Filed under: East Wight, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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10 Comments on "Introduction of beavers to the Isle of Wight could help put nature firmly back on road to recovery"

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Jenny Smart

Wonderful news

Rowan

Great idea – would improve the landscape and wildlife habitats and carbon storage, and manage the water and so reduce flood risk. Beavers welcome here as far as I’m concerned!

jarundel

Great idea! Do beavers have an inimical effect on Himalayan balsam, as well?

Tim

Hope that they have more luck with the Beavers than they did with the native White Clawed Crayfish

Colin

Just what we need; on a small island where flooding regularly occurs, especially on the eastern Yar. Not.

Colin

Perhaps if people were to read up on beavers in the UK (which are in Scotland) you might be a little more informed as to the problems which they bring. Try these links. https://theferret.scot/scottish-beavers-tayside-killed/

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/3341700/beaver-scotland-tayside-wildlife/

Benny C
Which part of the second bullet point did you not understand or, better, agree with? And please can you reference your information sources, which are clearly contrary to most others and therefore very important. If everyone else is wrong this needs to be aired. All I can find on line is supportive research from actual examples accredited to highly respected academic and environmental entities. And quite a… Read more »
Colin

Hi Benny C,

I did post some links before you posted your comment to some of the problems experienced in Scotland but they are still in moderation. (because the post has links) I expect they will appear here soon.

Benny C
Thanks. I can’t see anything but anecdotes about small issues. Nothing substantiated about Creating flooding or damage. Just a few landowners shooting them (badly it seems). What I don’t see is evidence that the well documented environmental benefits are false. The scientific research suggests they control water flow for the benefit of those in the way downstream. A pig head farmer shouldn’t be allowed to stand in… Read more »
Colin
@ Benny C I visited Knapdale in Argyll shortly after the beavers were released some years ago and spent time in the area. I’m not anti-beaver, far from it. There is a vast area there for them to spread out if they so desire. The problems on the Tay were well documented through the years but there it was an unofficial release of the animals. It’s important… Read more »