Abstract: Session G  3:50 pm (Back to Session G)
Dam! What to do about Beavers?

Rachel Ortt
Ecotone, Inc.
Forest Hill, MD

Authors:  Scott McGill and Rachel Ortt, Ecotone, Inc.

Many ecological restoration projects which include riparian restoration, floodplain reconnection, and conservation easements create ecological conditions favorable to colonization by the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis).  Projects have often struggled to meet success criteria due to beaver colonization during monitoring.  While trapping may be efficient in the short-term, adaptive management via flow devices provides a long-term, cost-effective solution while maintaining water quality and wildlife habitat.  Designing a project to anticipate and encourage colonization of beaver and dam building as part of the project’s long-term ecological performance can utilize the ecosystem services provided by beaver to provide not only long-term dynamic resilience to their projects, but can also reduce risk and costs.   Adaptive management techniques and methods which encourage and tolerate beaver activity will be reviewed, including installation of flow devices, planting regimes to develop food sources, floodplain reconnection to maximize stream power distribution across the floodplain, designing for long-term aggradation, and incorporating analog dams within a design.  Adapting traditional stream restoration monitoring and success criteria to anticipate and embrace beaver colonization as a sign of project success will also be discussed.