Where we all take part in forest planning
I was so excited about the Beaver on the Kern Plateau, I contacted someone I know who works for BLM and who is an expert in watershed and arid areas. She works in Arizona and told me about the San Pedro River that is very low on water. BLM among, many groups, is trying to restore habitat there. She stated that one group has even hired a "Beaver Manager".
The ranchers living along the banks and the wildlife are very low on water. The marshy and riparian habitat has been largely destroyed. I did some research and noted that much has been written about it by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Colorado State University regarding the Upper San Pedro River including using beaver to help restore areas.
Down river in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the 19 beaver built 30 damns in 4 years in a 40 mile stretch of the river. BLM biologist, Mark Fredlake said that the beaver program was measurably successful and showed increases in the riparian bird diversity, deeper pools and water flows. Also the beavers dispersed rapidly, one locating as far as 100 miles away. It is my understanding that these beavers are Sonoran Beavers and are about 50 lbs versus our 40 lb Mountain Beavers. However, the work they are doing seems to be about the same. They believe the beavers multiplied to 30 animals by 2008. A large flood took out most of the damns after 2008 but the beavers have recovered. It was also estimated that beaver activity could raise the water table by 50%. I found this information in article from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia.
I also ran across an interesting news article from Earth Justice that said BLM - US Government is suing Arizona Department of Water Resources for approving a massive development that threatens the San Pedro River and Wildlife. This was reported by Earthjustice attorney McCrystie Adams who states that ""The state of Arizona continues to hold fast the fiction that groundwater and surface water are not connected. In the meantime, the river is disappearing and the birds, wildlife, and people who depend on a living in San Pedro are left high and dry.""
I haven't studied surface water or groundwater, seems like they should be connected though.
My contact at BLM says beavers will build damns out of almost anything they can get can get, ie: twigs, logs, rocks. Most of the damns I've seen in the past look like log jams, with sizeable logs, rocks, roots, etc. The damns on the Kern plateau are almost all vertical twigs, no more than an inch or so in diameter. If I tried doing that they would all wash away. I did see one small damn primarily out of rocks. I though Mr. Ranger might have done that one to keep banks from eroding in a narrow place so a hiker might not have fallen down but maybe not. Anyway, after researching all this, I'm a believe that if we hadn't of trapped all the beaver out in the first place, we would have fewer watershed problems and more habitat for our wildlife.