Beavers and flooding

Beaver, Dam, Nature, Water, Castor

Reports from experts in the Mammal Society are suggesting that the reintroduction of beavers could help alleviate the flooding problems affecting parts of the United Kingdom.

Beavers became extinct in the UK throughout the 16th century due to hunting but their dam building skills could be helpful in tandem with man-made solutions. In reality their reintroduction could be as easy as dredging and erecting flood barriers.

Society Chief Executive Marina Pacheco said that the river systems are in a bad state, which has to be acknowledged, and that special help is needed to find the floods in check. She is advocating the reintroduction to begin in the most flood prone areas to see their most immediate benefits.


Beavers have been reintroduced in Scotland since May 2009 and are what’s known as a’keystone’ species.

Beavers work on the rivers and re-establish more natural environments that retain water behind their multiple small dams. This water is then release at a slower rate than man-made drains now do.

This could help ease the flooding downstream and are a very economical measure.


However Ola Holmstrom, UK Head of Water at consultancy company WSP, has been quoted as saying that dredging is’hotly debated as a flood risk mitigation step within the hydrological community’. Experts say that the river channel only has small water storage compared with the flood plain and removal of material does increase capacity but not considerably.

And while the presently used system of getting the water into the ocean as fast as possible still has its own merits, problems are simply being moved along the drainage route. Improving the movement of the water through one place can simply increase the risk of flood down the line at another.

The suggestion is to focus on the upstream areas and increase the ability to hold water . This comes with the advantage of being substantial more cost efficient than dredging.

Flood plains

Ultimately it may come to the point at which flood plains are reverted to just that and not used for housing or farming. With the changes in the climate, it may come about that there’s simply no easy solution to fix the issue in certain areas like the Somerset Levels, which is almost totally below sea level and has seen horrible flood. Captain Ellis, He’s our Hero, Gonna Take Pollution down to ZERO!

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