Scientists discover beavers living in tidal wetlands on Oregon Coast
Branch moving by beaver Filbert while out for a walk. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham.

Scientists have made a new discovery about Oregon's state animal -- beavers have been found living along the coast. 

Thanks to grant funding, Wetlands Conservancy ecologists surveying the tidal wetlands of Oregon's Central Coast have found beaver dams and lodges in areas where scientists had not previously confirmed beavers' presence, according to a release from the Oregon Zoo. The survey spanned from Yaquina Bay to the Salmon River. 

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This discovery is helping to expand "the scientific understanding of where 'nature's engineers' live."

“We’ve always thought too much saltwater would kill a beaver, but then we started to see evidence up in Washington of them living on the coast and actually building their dams in tidally influenced areas,” said Katie Ryan, executive director of the Wetlands Conservancy, in a statement on the discovery. “That led us to question what’s happening here in Oregon.”

With a grant from the Oregon Zoo Foundation, Wetlands Conservancy ecologists have confirmed the presence of beavers along Oregon’s central coast, in places like the Salmon River estuary, seen here from above. Photo by Al Mowbray, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Ecologists are hoping to expand the pilot program to the Southern Oregon coastline in order to determine if beavers use estuaries year-round. They say they hope the data will inform land-management decisions and help with human-beaver coexistence.

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The beaver survey is one of four projects made possible by grants dispersed from the Oregon Zoo Foundation to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, according to a release on the findings. 

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