Thursday, February 21, 2008

Beavers can ease drought in addition to demolishing your trees

I’ll confess that I’ve harbored hostile thoughts towards beavers. They’ve taken over a nearby pond and stripped the surrounding woods and lawn of every damworthy stick. Upstream, I discovered a huge mud dike they’ve built across the creek, converting an entire wetlands into a pond that you can see on Google Satellite. When I stand by the edge of the pond and glare at them, they do figure-eights and smack their tails at me.

“Get lost, you miserable land-dweller,” that’s the apparent message.

But according to a study at the University of Alberta, beaver dams help prevent drought, increase the supply of open water, and enhance biodiversity by providing habitats and water for all sorts of species, including livestock. According to this story in Terra Daily, we should love our beavers, treasure them, take care of them.

This beaver is saying, I don't care if I've flooded your basement and wrecked your garden. I'm preserving biodiversity and sparing you a drought, you two-legged non-amphibious twit-- deal with it. Photo of American beaver guarding its pond near Chena Hot Springs, Alaska by Marcin Klapczynski, Wikimedia Commons

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