The Methow Beaver Project

As we gain understanding of the ecological impacts of climate change, we see that water storage is essential to the long-term health of the Methow watershed. Earlier snow melts and precipitation that falls as rain instead of snow will make for drier summers, stressing fish populations as well as local irrigators. Beaver dams and the wetland "sponges" they create allow the watershed to retain water for longer, improving late-season flows. Beaver dams also increase riparian habitat, reduce stream temperatures, restore stream complexity, and capture sediment. These effects support many species, including the Spring Chinook, Steelhead, Cutthroat Trout, and Bull Trout that spawn in the Methow watershed. Restoring beaver populations is a way to adapt to changing climate conditions, ensuring the future of our salmon recovery efforts and of the local community.

Beavers are difficult to catch building dams, mostly because they operate at night. We set out a night-vision camera and caught this: