Welcome to the pyBRAT website. The Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) is a decision support and planning tool intended to help researchers and resource managers assess the potential for beaver as a stream conservation and restoration agent over large regions and watersheds.

The BRAT model can be run with widely available existing data sets, and is used to identify opportunities, potential conflicts and constraints through a mix of assessment of existing resources and scenario-based assessment of potential futures. The backbone to BRAT are spatial models that predict the capacity of riverscapes to support dam-building activity by beaver. The beaver-dam building capacity model uses both existing and historic vegetation layers to show current capacity and historic capacity.

Capacity is estimated using readily available spatial data sets to evaluate five key lines of evidence:

  1. a perennial water source
  2. availability of dam building materials
  3. ability to build a dam at baseflow
  4. likelihood of dams to withstand a typical flood
  5. likelihood that stream gradient would limit or completely eliminate dam building by beaver.

The decision support and planning tool side of BRAT uses rule sets to account for the recovery potential of riparian habitat and human conflict with beaver dam building to segregate the stream network into various conservation and restoration zones.

By combining capacity and decision support approaches, researchers and resource managers have the information necessary to determine where and at what level reintroduction of beaver and/or conservation is appropriate.

For more information on beaver and workshops we occasionally teach, see here.



Wally Macfarlane, Joe Wheaton, Martha Jensen, Taylor Dudunake, Jordan Gilbert and Nick Weber of Utah State University’s Ecogeomorphology & Topographic Analysis Lab.


If you are wishing to run the latest version of pyBRAT, you can download the ArcGIS Toolbox and associated files from the PyBRAT releases page on GitHub.

Source Code

For those wishing to tweak the source code, the open source version of pyBRAT is available in the pyBRAT repo on GitHub.

The Matlab versions of BRAT source code are available from the matBRAT repo on GitHub. The matBRAT code is a legacy version of BRAT, which is no longer maintained. For the most current BRAT models use the pyBRAT code.

Publications & Reports

Financial Support

Initial development of BRAT was funded through a pilot project granted to Utah State University (USU Award Control No. 120353) from the Grand Canyon Trust based on a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.


BRAT development and implementation for the entire State of Utah was funded by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (USU Award No. 130940).

Interested in Helping?

If you’d like to help improve BRAT and help UDWR better manage beavers, contact Joe Wheaton.