As the picture  above shows, the temperature in the beaver ponds is much cooler than the surrounding stream.  What does this mean?  Better habitat for trout and less evaporation.  Conversely, in the winter, the ponds are warmer.  Our native cutthroat trout can thus survive the cold winters. (Courtesy, USU)

Cooler Streams for Fish

Researchers investigated the hydro-dynamics of a stream segment before and after beaver moved into a system and discovered a substantial reduction in peak flow (shown in the figure above as "centralized flow").    The red lines show flow energy dampening due to  beaver ponds.  What  does this mean to land managers, landowners and emergency response personnel ?  Streams that have ACTIVE beaver colonies are less likely to have peak flood damage.  Law, McLean and Willby, "Habitat engineering by beaver benefits aquatic biodiversity"  Biodiversity (2006)

Why are beaver important?

Beaver Factoids

  • Beaver are active at night, but are most easily viewed before dusk.
  • Because they live in a wet habitat, prepare to be around wet areas.
  • Few beaver ponds have mosquitos.  This maybe because the fish and other water wildlife consume them.
  • Beaver can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes.
  • Beaver are very social and like us, want to be near their family.
  • Beaver are very territorial
  • While many report that beaver can have up to 12 offspring, this does occur, but the mortality rate for kits older than 2 is about 90%. 
  • Watch out for the "pongee sticks".   These are the chewed off end of willows are like sharpened pencils.  Wear heavy shoes.
  • Take a camera.  If you use your cell phone put it in a Ziploc bag so it does not get wet.
  • Be quiet.  Especially if this is the first time you have visited them.  They have become wary after years of trapping.
  • Be patient.  If you set quietly, you are more likely to see them
  • Talk to them. Sometimes beaver respond to gentle talking.

Reduced Peak Flood Damage

Other Benefits:

  • Increased bird habitat
  • Groundwater Recharge (We think...we are measuring that effect with our M.A.R.S. project)
  • More abundant waterfowl
  • More moose
  • Water available for fire suppression
  • Cleaner water
  • Part of the heritage of Southeast Idaho