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I have a brand new beaver dam!

 
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Joshua I agree that Jari Osborne's beaver documentary was wonderful! Here's a recent look at beaver reintroduction in three states.  

 
pollinator
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Dan Boone wrote:Hi, Heidi!  I am sorry to report that the beaver who built that dam never came back to rebuild it after the six-inch rain event.  However, there was active sign this summer in another part of the same stream not too far from this property, and I remain hopeful for another try by some more beaver soon.  



Did the nearby beavers stick around?
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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After a couple of years of no beaver activity in my ravines, this year there are again a couple of low trashy dams.  Nothing fancy, just the kind of nudged-up green sticks and muddy schmutz that a young beaver makes so that he can swim around instead of clambering over the rocks in a stream that's too shallow.  Having had my hopes dashed now several times in the past, I am not investing too much anticipation in this round of activity.  But each time this has happened in the past, the result has been a fairly considerable increase in sediment in the ravine in the area of beaver activity, with a widening of the notch, a shallowing of the angle of the banks, and an increase of bank vegetation after the beavers have moved on.  So it's all good.
 
gardener
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That's great news!
Last summer on a visit to my mother in rural NJ I went kayaking on a lake where the ranger told me a beaver lodge had been spotted. I found the lodge and went poking around nearby, then suddenly next to me was this massive KERPLUNK depth charge and a head that looked to me like a sopping wet irish setter (it was that big) went swimming by, grinning. Scared me so good I nearly tipped the kayak, but was probably the best thing i saw in 2018!
 
gardener
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Bump.

This is an old thread but one that I followed faithfully --- Dan, any new news on the beavers?  Did they ever return?
 
Dan Boone
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Marco, there may be one juvenile maintaining some low berms of mud and leaves, just four to six inches high, enough to allow easier travel up and down the stream.  But if so, he's not feeding on my side, not in the last several months.  It does however seem that the berms wash out with every rain and get rebuilt with fresh mud and greenery.  
 
Dan Boone
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Dan Boone wrote:After a couple of years of no beaver activity in my ravines, this year there are again a couple of low trashy dams.  Nothing fancy, just the kind of nudged-up green sticks and muddy schmutz that a young beaver makes so that he can swim around instead of clambering over the rocks in a stream that's too shallow.  Having had my hopes dashed now several times in the past, I am not investing too much anticipation in this round of activity.  But each time this has happened in the past, the result has been a fairly considerable increase in sediment in the ravine in the area of beaver activity, with a widening of the notch, a shallowing of the angle of the banks, and an increase of bank vegetation after the beavers have moved on.  So it's all good.



I was fascinated to come across the following diagram here that describes in visual terms the phenomenon I have been observing over a period of years in my own notch-cut ravines.  I would say I am at the early stages of (b) in this diagram, but the effect is unmistakable and the diagram gives me hope for the future!

beaver-changes.jpg
[Thumbnail for beaver-changes.jpg]
effect of beaver dams in incised channels
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Fascinating diagram Dan. While there are no beaver at my place in the desert, and no hope of them arriving (ever, or at least until the next ice age). I am noticing the same sort of pattern with structures that I built: rock or brush checkdams, and gabions. The incised ravines are now at stage D. I can drive my truck through ravines that were impassably steep and deep a decade ago.  A single storm dropped about 6 feet of gravel into the streambed upstream of a loose brush checkdam.

I was sure disappointed with the first blow-out of my first stone checkdam!!! It was a beauty! Since then, I have adapted the strategy of building lots of small easy structures rather than focusing on big checkdams. And once those fill with sediment, then I add another small structure on top of them, and slightly upstream.
 
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Location: NE Oklahoma
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Dan, this book was just published last summer.  https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/eager/  I haven't read it yet but it it looks like it could be a good reference for you if you're still interested in the matter.  Much success to you in re-establishing the eroded areas on your property to their natural state.  
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