Beaver are the classic keystone species. Their remarkable dam building creates deep ponds which are an essential component of aquatic habitats for diverse biological communities. However, their building instincts can sometimes conflict with human activities by causing unwanted flooding or removal of valued trees. In many cases, these ‘nuisance’ beaver are killed, rather than relocated to areas where their activities may be beneficial. Defenders of Wildlife works to restore beaver to their role as ecosystem engineers throughout the West, but in arid states like New Mexico, their ability to create and maintain wetland and riparian habitat is even more essential. As a first step towards understanding, recognizing, and expanding beaver’s range in New Mexico, Defenders of Wildlife modeled beaver habitat throughout the state to identify opportunity areas for beaver reintroduction and ecosystem restoration. Learn more about this work in our storymap!