SACRAMENTO, CA—Yesterday, Assembly Bill (AB) 2196 by Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) passed the State Assembly by a vote of 72-0. Sponsored by the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, AB 2196 aims to ensure the longevity of the Beaver Restoration Program at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which was created by the FY2022-23 Budget Act. Beaver are keystone species that assist in restoring watershed and ecosystem functions in areas that need them most.

“California is bringing beaver back and we’re thrilled that Assemblymember Connolly has the strong support of his colleagues to codify the program created by Governor Newsom’s administration in 2022,” said Kate Lundquist, Co-Director of the WATER Institute at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. “The collaborative momentum between state officials, tribal leaders, nonprofits, and local governments is inspiring and poised to continue.”

The Beaver Restoration Program works with tribes, non-governmental organizations, private landowners, and other agencies to implement beaver-assisted restoration projects that support ecosystem conservation, habitat restoration, and species conservation, and improve climate change, drought, and wildfire resilience throughout California.

This bill goes way beyond just preserving wildlife.  It has very human implications as well.”

“Beavers are an instrumental keystone species to our ecosystems, and they play a vital role in maintaining and engineering habitats that have widespread environmental and climate benefits,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly. “AB 2196 will codify the Beaver Restoration Program in statute and ensure this important species continues to play a role in meeting our climate goals. I’m proud that this bill is supported by nearly fifty environmental protection, conservation, wildlife advocacy, sustainable agriculture, and other science-based organizations.”

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