Presenter Information

Kenna KarjalaFollow

Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Cara Nelson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

College of Forestry and Conservation

Abstract

The North American Beaver (Castor Canadensis), being both an ecosystem engineer and keystone species, used to dominate the North American riparian landscape until they were trapped into near extinction. Their absence has been felt on degraded riparian ecosystems. Restoration practitioners have recently brought the ideas of beavers back onto the landscape through beaver mimicry. Beaver mimicry is the restoration technique of mimicking the structure and function of beavers in a landscape to restore degraded ecosystems through the use of man-made replicates of beaver dams called beaver dam analogues (BDAs). While this technique is relatively cheap, mimics natural events, and might encourage the return of beavers to the streams, there is not much known about the impacts of beaver dams on the organic matter inherent to all streams. I will be studying the impacts of BDAs on organic matter in streams as part of a larger project on BDA impacts on streams run by Phd student Andrew Lahr in collaboration with the Clark Fork Coalition and The Nature Conservancy. We will be implementing a BACI (Before, After, Control, Impact) test on three pairs of first-order streams in Western Montana. To measure the impacts of the dams on the quantity and quality of organic matter I will be collecting organic matter (fine and coarse particulate as well as dissolved) to determine what size fractions are common in the streams prior to and post BDA installation. The results from my project will give better insight into how this seemingly perfect restoration tool truly impacts streams at the base of the food web, which will allow for better implementation of them in the future.

Category

Life Sciences

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Being the Beaver- a Dive into Beaver Mimicry and Nutrient Cycling

The North American Beaver (Castor Canadensis), being both an ecosystem engineer and keystone species, used to dominate the North American riparian landscape until they were trapped into near extinction. Their absence has been felt on degraded riparian ecosystems. Restoration practitioners have recently brought the ideas of beavers back onto the landscape through beaver mimicry. Beaver mimicry is the restoration technique of mimicking the structure and function of beavers in a landscape to restore degraded ecosystems through the use of man-made replicates of beaver dams called beaver dam analogues (BDAs). While this technique is relatively cheap, mimics natural events, and might encourage the return of beavers to the streams, there is not much known about the impacts of beaver dams on the organic matter inherent to all streams. I will be studying the impacts of BDAs on organic matter in streams as part of a larger project on BDA impacts on streams run by Phd student Andrew Lahr in collaboration with the Clark Fork Coalition and The Nature Conservancy. We will be implementing a BACI (Before, After, Control, Impact) test on three pairs of first-order streams in Western Montana. To measure the impacts of the dams on the quantity and quality of organic matter I will be collecting organic matter (fine and coarse particulate as well as dissolved) to determine what size fractions are common in the streams prior to and post BDA installation. The results from my project will give better insight into how this seemingly perfect restoration tool truly impacts streams at the base of the food web, which will allow for better implementation of them in the future.