77.32.580  <<  77.32.585 >>   77.32.590

Release of wild beavers.

(1) The department shall permit the release of wild beavers on public and private lands with agreement from the property owner.
(2) The department may limit the release of wild beavers to areas of the state where:
(a) There is a low probability of released beavers becoming a nuisance or causing damage;
(b) Conditions exist for released beavers to improve, maintain, or manage stream or riparian ecosystem functions; and
(c) There is evidence of historic endemic beaver populations.
(3) The department may condition the release of beaver to maximize the relocation's success and minimize risk. Factors that the department may condition include:
(a) Stream gradient;
(b) Sufficiency of the water supply;
(c) Stream geomorphology;
(d) Adequacy of a food source;
(e) Proper site elevation and valley width;
(f) Age of the beavers relocated;
(g) Times of year for capture and relocation;
(h) Requirements for the capture, handling, and transport of the live beavers;
(i) Minimum and maximum numbers of beavers that can be relocated in one area; and
(j) Requirements for the permit holder to initially provide supplemental food and lodge building materials.
(4) The department may require:
(a) Specific training for those involved with capture, handling, and release of beavers; and
(b) The notification of any potentially affected adjacent landowners before permitting the release of wild beavers.
(5) Nothing in this section creates any liability against the state or those releasing beavers nor authorizes any private right of action for any damages subsequently caused by beavers released pursuant to this section.
(6) For the purposes of this section, "beaver" means the American beaver (Castor canadensis).
(7) For the purposes of this section, beavers may only be released to carry out relocation: (a) Between two areas east of the crest of the Cascade mountains; or (b) between two areas west of the crest of the Cascade mountains.

NOTES:

Finding2012 c 167: "The legislature finds that beavers have historically played a significant role in maintaining the health of watersheds in the Pacific Northwest and act as key agents in riparian ecology. The live trapping and relocating of beavers has long been recognized as a beneficial wildlife management practice, and has been successfully utilized to restore and maintain stream ecosystems for over fifty years. The benefits of active beaver populations include reduced stream sedimentation, stream temperature moderation, higher dissolved oxygen levels, overall improved water quality, increased natural water storage capabilities within watersheds, and reduced stream velocities. These benefits improve and create habitat for many other species, including endangered salmon, river otters, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and other riparian and aquatic species. Relocating beavers into their historic habitat provides a natural mechanism for improving the environmental conditions in Washington's riparian ecosystems without having to resort to governmental regulation or expensive publicly funded engineering projects." [ 2012 c 167 § 1.]
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