Wildlife Management

View All FAQs

Keeping You & Telluride's Wildlife Safe

Recognizing the tremendous enrichment that we gain by the abundance and proximity of wildlife near our town, the goal of management is to promote co-existence in a manner that does not endanger the animal or humans. Many species of wildlife live in and around Telluride - beaver, black bear, mountain lions, lynx, and skunks to name a few. Currently, Telluride actively manages just two: bears and beavers.

Monitoring Local Beaver Dams

Managing beavers in Telluride requires keeping an eye on dams that back up waters from the San Miguel River and keeping stout wire around favorite trees. It is the job of beavers to graze on willows, aspen and cottonwoods. They often graze quite heavily on these trees for food and to keep their front teeth filed down to a reasonable length. This does not kill the trees or willows, which thrive on pruning, but it certainly changes their appearance - where once there was a tree, there now is a shrub that doesn’t have the same landscape appeal!

Dams in the river are a more serious issue on two levels. Left unattended, the dams could back up water into areas of town that are required for other uses, like the post office or someone’s home. Even those that don’t create an immediate flooding hazard, can exacerbate flooding during a large precipitation event. So, town staff is currently experimenting with a number of methods designed to allow beaver to build their dams and allow humans to control the water level behind them. When these methods fail and to minimize adverse impacts to the sensitive riparian corridor, lots of back-breaking labor is required to take down dams by hand. When even this fails, deconstruction machinery is carefully used to remove them.