SOCAN Testimony on HB4014: Beaver Coexistence Bill

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 7th 2024

 

 

Reference Bill Number HB4014

Chair Marsh and Members of the House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment:

Please allow me to start by apologizing for contacting you directly.  It was not until today, after the 48-hour deadline from the start of the Hearing had passed that I discovered the committee had held a public hearing for HB4014 on the first day of the session.  As you will probably appreciate, before the session starts, it is very difficult for the public to find information on bill schedules, so I just didn’t find anything about HB4014 until today after that deadline.

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals that address the climate crisis.  We are interested not only in bills that contribute to emissions reductions and greenhouse gas sequestration, both of which reduce the atmospheric concentration of these gases (mitigation), but also in bills that help us prepare for the inevitable climate consequences that global warming delivers and promises (adaptation).

During the 2023 session, I testified on behalf of SOCAN in support of HB3464 seeking to alleviate the pressure on an herbivorous animal incorrectly defined as a predator on private land allowing it to be hunted without limit. While we were pleased that the bill was successful, we were disappointed that the final bill contained many loopholes that would allow landowners and land managers still to kill beavers. We understand that many landowners find beaver impose problems for their operations and compromise management goals. However, we are also well aware that there are ways to live with beavers (ODFW 2023).  We are also aware that Project Beaver Executive Director Jakob Shockey and staff have experience advising landowners on how to co-exist with beavers. (see Project Beaver 2023). We approve of the concept of providing landowners and land managers with advice and tools to allow their coexistence with these animals.

I therefore return to offer testimony now in strong support of HB4014 which seeks to provide landowners and land managers with assistance in learning how to coexist with these remarkable animals.

McNamara (2023) states: “Beavers are ecological engineers whose ponds store carbon, improve water quality, create habitat to support biodiversity, and help reduce climate impacts.”
As depicted by Vanderhoof (2024) in Figure 1, beavers can contribute much to our ability to withstand the impacts of the changing climate.

Figure 1. Beavers can contribute much to our ability to withstand the impacts of the changing climate (Vanderhoof 2024).

 Because of the ecological benefits accruing to our natural world from our learning to coexist with beavers, and because if their contributions both to climate change mitigation and adaptation these animals can provide, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now strongly endorsed HB4014 and enthusiastically encourages its swift passage.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

 

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