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Beavers Pitched to Ease Britain's Flooding February 7, 2014
Beaver cutting down tree.
“We urge the government to consider a bold and cost-effective wildlife solution: bring back the beaver and allow it to apply its benign engineering skills to our river systems.” — Marina Pacheco
The seemingly never-ending rounds of flooding that have plagued Britain for the past two years could be averted in the future by reintroducing beavers to the wild, a leading scientific organization advises.

The U.K. Mammal Society has recommended to the environment secretary that the “master river engineers” could permanently alleviate the nation’s frequent floods.

The animals were hunted to extinction in the U.K. during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century by those who wanted their fur and by landowners keen to protect their trees and fish.

Manmade diversion of waterways since then have set up conditions that reduced the land’s natural ability to hold water, allowing frequent devastating floods.

One wild beaver was recently sighted in Dorset, and a trial introduction of the animals is nearing completion in Scotland.

The government has considered paying farmers to hold back water in the uplands, at the cost of millions of pounds per year.

“The beaver could achieve the same effects for free and forever if we are bold enough to re-establish and tolerate it as a natural component of our river systems,” said Marina Pacheco, the society's chief executive.

Photo: File