By: Cholla Rose Nicoll, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Coordinator
Beavers are the original water storage engineers and relatively recently have been gaining recognition in the field of habitat restoration as vital partners in the journey to restoring watersheds. Beaver’s biological activities of dam building and pond creation slow water flow and allows water to infiltrate more deeply into surrounding and upstream soils. Beaver dams also regulate water temperature and help trap sediment filling in erosion areas. These slower and wetter waterways are less prone to fire damage, flooding, and biodiversity loss than other areas where beavers have been eliminated.
After the colonization of the Americas, the beaver suffered the same fate as many other animals. Their populations plummeted due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction, leaving many gaps in the ecosystem where beaver needs to be restored. Arizona is in the arid west and has also seen a loss of 96% of its historic surface waters due to recent human activity. Making the remaining 4% extremely important to protect, restore and expand. Much of the restoration work at the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve and by Borderlands Restoration Network (BRN) revolves around restoring our local watersheds with similar methods to our friend, the beaver, but primarily in dry landscapes.
Recently led by Watershed Management Group (WMG), I had the opportunity along with some of BRN’s watershed restoration crew members, to join in with a group of like-minded individuals and organizations to discuss the reintroduction of beaver in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. With some prior restoration to retore suitable beaver habitat, this area with year-round water flow could provide an ideal setting for a small population of beaver and a space to study further how beaver populations re-establish in our region. Find out more about how you can help move this process along by visiting the link above to WMG.
Some more good news for beavers is also on the headlines in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has requested five permanent positions and a $1.67 million California Environmental License Plate Fund in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022–23 and $1.44 million in FY 2023–24 and ongoing to fund and support the implementation of a beaver restoration program within the department. If this request is approved, it could serve as an example for other states to do the same and create the national support network that beavers and humans need to coexist and partner against climate change. For more information on what this program could help maintain and support, please visit Worth A Dam and read the news article from May 14th, 2022, titled This Is The Big One: Dam Good News.
Good news for beavers or any fellow living creature is good news for us all.
SEARCH OUR BLOG