On Tuesday the 14th, the Fargo Park District voted to approve a beaver cull along Fargo’s Red River. Experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are set to trap and drown the beavers in their attempt to preserve trees.
In having the beavers killed, the Fargo Park District will be taking away an essential part of the ecosystem and depriving local children of educational opportunities for school field trips. Lessons in wildlife conservation will be lacking with one less species to study.
Ecologists have dubbed beavers “ecosystem engineers,” as they greatly influence other animal and plant species and contribute to biodiversity. In cutting down trees, they allow new shoots to grow in the stumps, which provide food for moose and elk. In building dams, they redirect the river’s current, providing moisture to plants in dry places and filtering sediment that enriches the soil.
Beaver dams also lead to the formation of wetlands, which filter, clean, and store water, and even prevent floods. A large number of species, including fish, ducks, wading birds, otters, and muskrats, depend on wetlands for their survival, whether it be for food, shelter, or a resting place during migration.
If the Fargo Park District wished to preserve trees, better options would be relocating the beavers, or planting more trees in protected areas. Instead, they have chosen to slaughter them on a regular basis so that the population will never recover.
– Särah Nour