Since Kenneth McDarment was a kid in the 1980s, he’s seen the foothills of the Sierra Nevada change. As a councilman of the Tule River Tribe, a sovereign nation of around 1,000 members living on 56,000-odd acres in the foothills of the Sierras, McDarment deals with everything water-related on the reservation. Today there’s less rain and less snow than there was even a decade ago, which means that the land in the foothills was dangerously dry during the last fire season, when wildfires were sweeping across the state. “If you don’t got water,” says McDarment, “we don’t got nothing. In 2014, McDarment began looking into getting ahold of some beavers. McDarment hoped that beaver dams would create soggy areas on tribal lands that wouldn’t dry out during heat waves. “We’re hoping that means our land will be less likely to burn during fire season,” he says. “Beavers were here originally. So why not bring them back and let them do the work they do naturally? There was just one problem—it is illegal to move beavers without a permit. And a permit to move a beaver isn't easy to come by. - Sierra
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