Let the Beaver do the work! This continent was once the undisputed domain of beavers, whose aquatic engineering defined and shaped habitats throughout the land. The arid West was a lot less arid when every streamlet had a resident beaver carefully conserving water, and the vegetation of riparian areas was so heavily influenced by beaver activity that it had robust effects at almost all levels of an ecosystem, from trees to salmon to eagles to butterflies and wolves. After their thorough removal at the hands of a rabid trapping industry and the subsequent transformation of much of North America’s wild lands by industry, the beavers are now making a comeback. They’re fanning out into the landscape after decades of efforts at reintroduction, and reclaiming the water and the piles of sticks that are their natural dominion. They need our help, and our loyalty! They will restore these battered landscapes more effectively than we ever could.
For an excellent overview of beaver biology and recovery, check out the book “Eager” by Ben Goldfarb.