I am not eager about beavers chewing down trees on my farms or flooding, but it depends. This book gave me some better appreciation of beavers as ecological engineers and creators of green infrastructure.
History was interesting. Beavers were exceedingly common in pre-settlement North America. You can still see that in place names. Many of the most fertile fields were former beaver ponds.
Beaver ponds are transient. They silt up, become wetlands, then forests or prairies. Beaver move on. The useful part of their green infrastructure is that the beavers never stop. The challenge of beavers is that they never stop and they can flood lot of other places. Besides that, the beavers never “build to code.” In places with human infrastructure, beavers are less welcome.
Beaver ponds slow water, help with flood control and help recharge aquifers. They provide wetland habitat & fields. On the other hand, they can be a real problem for irrigation systems, culverts, roads and buildings. Are they good or bad? It depends.
We cannot “re-beaver” all, most or even much of America, but we probably can benefit from using their never ending passion of making dams.