C. Ecological & Hydrogeomorphic Feedbacks of Beaver Dams

Breached Beaver Dam on Beaver Creek

Breached beaver dam near the Idaho/Utah border on Beaver Creek.


Synopsis of Topic

We will cover both the physical (hydrogeomorphic) and ecological feedbacks of beaver dams.

Why We're Covering It

We need to understand the feedbacks and ecosystem services provided by beaver dams in order to develop appropriate restoration and conservation objectives around these.

Learning Outcomes

This topics helps us with the following learning outcomes for the workshop:
  • An appreciation of beaver ecology and the complex feedbacks between beaver activity, hydrogeomorphic responses, riparian vegetation and fish ecology


Slides & Handouts

Choose Workshop for Slides:

Relevant or Cited Literature

Overview of Feedbacks
  •  Fouty, S. 2003. Current and historic stream channel response to changes in cattle and elk grazing pressure and beaver activity. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, Department of Geography.
Hydrogeomorphic Feedbacks
Riparian Feedbacks

Stream Ecology & Fish Ecology
  • Benke, A. C. 1993. Concepts and patterns of invertebrate production in running waters. Vehr. Int. Verein. Limnol. 25:15-38.
  • Burchsted, D., M. Daniels, R. Thorson, and J. Vokoun. 2010. The River Discontinuum: Applying Beaver Modifications to Baseline Conditions for Restoration of Forested Headwaters. Bioscience 60:908-922.
  • Hanson, P., T. Johnson, J. Kitchell, and D. E. Schindler. 1997. Fish bioenergetics 3.0. University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Lindstrom, J. W. and W. A. Hubert. 2004. Ice processes affect habitat use and movements of adult cutthroat trout and brook trout in a Wyoming foothills stream. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 24:1341-1352.
  • Mcrae, G. and C. J. Edwards. 1994. Thermal-Characteristics of Wisconsin Headwater Streams Occupied by Beaver - Implications for Brook Trout Habitat. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:641-656.
  • Meentemeyer, R. K. and D. R. Butler. 1999. Hydrogeomorphic effects of beaver dams in Glacier National Park, Montana. Physical Geography 20:436-446.
  • Meentemeyer, R. K., J. B. Vogler, and D. R. Butler. 1998. The geomorphic influences of burrowing beavers on streambanks, Bolin creek, North Carolina. Zeitschrift Fur Geomorphologie 42:453-468.
  • Naiman, R. J., C.A. Johnston and J.C. Kelley.1988. Alteration of North American streams by beaver. . BioScience 38:753-763. filed under BioScience.
  • Naiman, R. J., J. M. Melillo, and J. E. Hobbie. 1986. Ecosystem Alteration of Boreal Forest Streams by Beaver (Castor-Canadensis). Ecology 67:1254-1269.
  • Pollock, M. M., G. R. Pess, and T. J. Beechie. 2004. The importance of beaver ponds to coho salmon production in the Stillaguamish River basin, Washington, USA. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 24:749-760.
  • Poole, G. C. 2002. Fluvial landscape ecology: addressing uniqueness within the river discontinuum. Freshwater Biology 47:641-660.
  • Sigourney, D. B., B. H. Letcher, and R. A. Cunjak. 2006. Influence of beaver activity on summer growth and condition of age-2 atlantic salmon parr. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1068-1075.
  • Snodgrass, J. W. 1997. Temporal and spatial dynamics of beaver-created patches as influenced by management practices in a south-eastern North American landscape. Journal of Applied Ecology 34:1043-1056.
  • Snodgrass, J. W. and G. K. Meffe. 1998. Influence of beavers on stream fish assemblages: Effects of pond age and watershed position. Ecology 79:928-942.
  • Vannote, R. L., G. W. Minshall, K. W. Cummins, J. R. Sedell, and C. E. Cushing. 1980. The river continuum concept. Can. J. Fish. and Aquat. Sci. 37:130-137.
  • Terrestrial Ecology
  • Landscape Predictors of Beaver Site Occupancy
    Importance of Dam Failure & Abandonment

    Relevant Links

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