Community Member

San Luis Obispo Beaver Brigade

Atascadero, California

Founded in 2020, The SLO Beaver Brigade aims to educate the county of San Luis Obispo on the benefits of beavers to the watershed and to create the political, social and physical conditions for beavers to thrive along the Salinas River. Beavers are nature’s best water engineers. Through their natural behaviors, they improve riparian areas, make landscapes more resistant to fire and flooding, and provide important habitats for other species. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recognized the importance of beavers as a “keystone species” in 2023 when they established the Beaver Restoration Program, which strives to implement beaver-assisted restoration projects to support ecosystem conservation and improve climate change, drought and wildfire resilience throughout California. By protecting beaver habitats, supporting research of beavers and wetlands, organizing cleanups and more, SLO Beaver Brigade is working as an ally and advocate for beavers in the Salinas Valley and throughout California.

February 2023, SLO Beaver Brigade fundraiser at Castoro Cellars with Kevin Swift, Dr. Emily Fairfax, Cooper Lienhart and Nick Hatalski presenting. (Photo by Brittany App)

The SLO Beaver Brigade carries out its mission through the hard work of a six-person staff of local SLO environmental experts and advocates. The benefits of the organization’s restoration, protection and education projects ripple through communities all along the 170-mile length of the Salinas River and its 4,160 square-mile watershed. The Brigade has presented their research findings at the annual California Beaver Summit at Sonoma State University and hosted webinars, book talks and documentary screenings around the county. In 2020, they organized 402 volunteers for a river cleanup that removed 6 tons of toxic and unsightly trash from camps along five miles of the river. In 2023, they hosted the First Annual Beaver Festival in San Luis Obispo, followed by a sold-out fundraiser at Castoro Cellars. Looking ahead, SLO Beaver Brigade is helping protect beaver habitats as they recover from the damage caused by the recent flood season. Luckily–the beavers know how to rebuild.

First Annual Beaver Festival, SLO Mission Plaza, April 1st, 2023. (Photos by Brittany App)

For more information:

New interpretive panels celebrating beavers to be unveiled – Atascadero Times, January 2024

As local beavers rebuild their dams after a brutal winter, the SLO Beaver Brigade seeks to rebuild their population on the Central Coast – The New Times, June 2023 

New state policy recognizes ecological benefits of beavers, promotes coexistence – KCBX, June 2023

Winter storms hurt Central Coast beaver populations – KCBX, February 2023

Beavers can help fight drought and fire say Central Coast experts at CA Beaver Summit – KCBX, April 2021

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart L. Sinclair is a writer, editor and educator from Ventura, California. His essays, reportage and narrative nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, The Millions, The Morning News, The New Orleans Review, Creative Nonfiction’s “True Story” series and elsewhere.


Dolores Howard, Head of Communications & Volunteer Coordinator


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Drought, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Heat, Wildfires

Environmental Justice Concerns

Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Groundwater Contamination, Noise/Light Pollution, PFAS/PFOS, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise


Art Activism, Community Organizing and Education, Green Infrastructure, Legal/permit challenges to development, contamination, pollution, etc, Nature-Based Solutions

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations