Listening to the Land: Dam, Beavers! Dam!

Kate Holleran

As humans have come to understand and value the critical role of wetlands in healthy ecosystems, beavers—the world’s greatest wetland engineers—are finally getting the respect they deserve. In the first of several beaver-appreciation events in Seaside, join scientist Kate Holleran at the Seaside Public Library on Wednesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. for an evening exploring how to encourage beavers to return to our communities—and how to live with the results. “Dam, Beaver! Dam!” is the fourth of five wildlife-themed Listening to the Land presentations in 2017. Admission is free.

Even urban areas, where beavers were long considered pests, are now welcoming beavers as partners in habitat restoration efforts. Holleran, a senior natural resources scientist at Metro in the Portland area, has implemented several projects to improve the aquatic and forest habitat along Johnson Creek on the east side of the Metro district, on Chehalem Ridge on the west side, and on other nearby streams, much to the delight of beavers. She’ll talk about beaver restoration research and her own experience with beavers, exploring how her team has lured beavers back to streams and how adjacent landowners are coping with the effects of beaver activities on their property.

Holleran has spent the last 30 years wandering around in, working in, and studying the natural world. Since 2007 her work at Metro has focused on land acquisition and habitat restoration across Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. Previously she was a program coordinator and faculty member for the Natural Resources Technology Program at Mt. Hood Community College and worked in forest management for the US Forest Service. Kate has a bachelor’s degree in forest science and a master’s in science teaching.

On May 6, artwork depicting beavers and beaver habitat will go on display at Fairweather House & Gallery and other venues throughout town in time for the Seaside First Saturday Art Walk. That same day the author of Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver will make a special appearance at Beach Books. Visit for more information on all of these events. Listening to the Land is a monthly winter speaker series offered January through May and presented by North Coast Land Conservancy and the Necanicum Watershed Council in partnership with the Seaside Public Library.