Watershed Guardians Have a Party

Mark & Sue Holbrook

Mark & Sue Holbrook

Batsy Hely,Tim Norton and Dana Olson

Batsy Hely,Tim Norton and Dana Olson

Venita Petti, Rob & Colette Thompson

Venita Petti, Rob & Colette Thompson

Colette Thompson

Colette Thompson

Bruce Padian and Mike Settell

Bruce Padian and Mike Settell

Amy Jo & Mitch Popa

Merrilee & Bruce Padian

IMG_2547                                                                                                                                     Amy Jo & Mitch Popa

Marita & Dwight Worthington

Marita & Dwight Worthington

Liz & Scott Jordan and Joan Brendt

Liz & Scott Jordan and Joan Bernt

Kasey Wozniak

Kasey Wozniak

Tim Norton and Mike Settell

Tim Norton and Mike Settell

Kitti McCoy

Kitti McCoy

Watershed Guardians Have a Party

When this group has a party, it is super: great food, great conversation and a great description of a complicated story: ‘Reverse Rendezvous’. Of course, somewhere in this event, there is a catch so read on and find out that collecting data on beavers, their habitats, and their contribution to watershed health is important.

Semi-aquatic animals known as beavers have given us a story that is worthy of investigation.  Instead of understanding this, humans have, in the past, destroyed beaver dams, thinking they were harmful to rivers and streams. Hunting and trapping were, and in some places are  still used.

One especially weird method that would cause you to laugh if it wasn’t so ridiculous was to put individual beavers into wooden boxes, load them in a plane and then parachute those boxes into unpopulated mountain areas. As the chutes hit the ground, so the story goes, the box would break and the lone beaver would be free to start a new life in the wilderness. This puzzling action ignored the fact that beavers need water, are family oriented and mate for life. Besides, climbing out of shattered box would make anyone, regardless of species, confused, terrified and unable to take the next step toward a functional existence.

Currently, increased precipitation is affecting the Portneuf River and creeks that feed it. This focuses renewed attention on these animals and the subject of their benefits to wetlands, flooding, and watershed protection. In addition to re-assessing the value of Beaver dams, there has also been a sharp decline in trapping, partially because beaver fur hats are no longer a hot item and partially because when trapping is consistently done in one area the number of beavers decreases.  Succinctly put, because we need their help, attention is now being given to the positive value of this species.

An active group bent on increasing knowledge and determining accurate numbers of beaver in the Pocatello area is Watershed Guardians. So far, they have found beaver populations to have greatly decreased in number.This group of individuals value their environment enough to put on snowshoes or cross country skis in winter and get their boots muddied and wet in spring, summer and fall to tromp along rivers and streams to collect data on water temperature; beaver population growth or demise; study the effects of willow, aspen and other tree growth along river and stream banks; effect upon trout populations; relation to water temperature and more.  Underlying these activities is the desire to get out and see for yourself rather than to merely read information gathered by others.

We do have much to learn about these creatures.If you Google Beavers, you will find tons of concrete evidence related to this species and its contribution to watershed management. Information also helps us begin to understand that animals have an intelligence that goes far beyond merely taking up space. In fact, their contributions to our environment (and to us) are steadily becoming better understood.

After looking through information about beavers, then Google Watershed Guardians for it has nicely provided facts  directed specifically toward our area. To be active, help find the necessary equipment needed for the exploration as to why beaver populations are so greatly diminished.  Then, get out into the areas where rivers and streams could support this species. By doing so, you might help collect important data and be actively involved in a project that would help our area.

The participation of individuals who care about the future of our planet and are willing to use the cognitive part of their brains is needed to discover and evaluate information collected through continued study and research.  So, here we are in a university town filled with people who love the mountains along with the plants and animals that live in them.  So why not participate in the activities of this local group so that our benefits will continue to provide us with a magnificent area?

Mike Settel, originator of the Watershed Guardians has, with the help of other members of the group, put together a host of informative materials that can be found online. So, read them and if you love this environment, contact Settell and get busy. It would not only be fun and exploratory but also connect you to a caring and interesting group of people who are serious about protecting this area.

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