First of all, a belated Happy Earth Day. More on the challenges facing us environmentally at the end. I want to draw a little attention to the webinar, which starts at 1 pm today on the effect of beaver in the Jemez watershed in New Mexico. This should be an especially interesting and pertinent topic with regards to beaver in arid landscapes, a subject which we talk a lot about here on southland beaver. Follow the link here to sign up. Copied from Heidi's blog is the abstract below:
Abstract – Beaver are known for their engineering abilities and their impact on water resources. Water is a valuable resource in the arid southwest, and the focus of this study was to evaluate the impact of beaver re-establishment on the water resources of the Jemez Watershed in New Mexico for future state-wide management planning. The Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) was used to evaluate the current capacity of the watershed based on vegetation, baseflow, and flood stream power. The model demonstrated that the watershed is capable of supporting a re-established beaver population and identified the suitable stream reaches for dam building activities. Using HEC-HMS, we captured the hydrologic response of the Jemez River to precipitation by calibrating it to historic hydrographs. Once calibrated, 42 reservoir elements representing beaver dams were added to the Rio de las Vacas region to simulate an initial re-established population of beavers. The results indicate an attenuation of 5-30% of peak flows and an increase in baseflow of 5-15%. Additionally, we calculated the increase of aquatic and riparian habitat from dam construction and pond formation. It was determined that 15 special-status species in the watershed could potentially benefit from beaver activity and habitat creation. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii viginalis; state-sensitive) could utilize ponds as habitat and take advantage of dams as barriers to non-native trout movements and the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus; state-endangered, federally proposed) could utilize the increase in riparian habitat bordering ponds. It is possible that the re-establishment of beaver to the Jemez Watershed would allow theses species to expand into previously extirpated portions of their range, highlighting the positive impacts of beaver on water resources in this area of the arid southwest.
Who: Bryan Bird, Wild Places Program Director, WildEarth Guardians
Alexandre Caillat, Bren School Masters Candidate
Bret Callaway, Bren School Masters Candidate
Drake Hebert, Bren School Masters Candidate
Andrew Nguyen, Bren School Masters Candidate
Shelby Petro, Bren School Masters Candidate*
Now I got a little side-tracked with wolves for a bit there but that is a very important issue in California conservation and I am a firm believer in cross-talk and spreading the word for important wildlife/conservation issues.
But I do have some upcoming posts planned with regards to beaver:
I want to continue with Mojave Beaver and discuss some of the evidence I have found that beaver there are highly beneficial to reptiles, amphibians, and bird-life.
Lampreys do not get enough respect. I want to talk about several layers of evidence that lampreys benefit salmonids and that beaver ponds benefit immature lamprey. In my view abundant lamprey, salmonids, and beaver should be the end goal in river restoration in coastal North America. They may in fact form a triumvirate indicative of ecological health in a watershed. Stay tuned!!!
Beaver in the high Sierra!!!
Beaver and western pond turtles!!!
Beaver and aquatic fungi!!!
Vern Freeman Diversion Dam field trip on the Santa Clara River!!!
My message for Earth Day:
The environmental situation we find ourselves in today- beholden to a set of economic, political, and social paradigms that many interpret as natural, beneficial, and even decreed by god -is not dissimilar to the situation abolitionists found themselves in during earlier centuries. And then, just as now, there will be a vocal group advocating the status quo as what is right, natural, and decreed by God. The challenges we face today are not of a different type but of a different degree than earlier generations.