GCT collaborates on Wildlife Notebook Series publication on Beaver

GCT & Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Collaborate on Wildlife Notebook Series Publication on Beaver

Utah beaver streamside
Photo by Jeremy Christensen

One of our central goals in the Beaver Restoration Program is to educate the public about the tremendous value of this industrious mammal we call the North American Beaver, or Castor canadensis, and now we have a great new tool to use in our efforts.

The State of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and its Department of Natural Resources just published the latest installation in its Wildlife Notebook Series: Beaver ! written by Grand Canyon Trust Wildlife Associate Jeremy Christensen. The series highlights wildlife species with significant ecological and resource importance as well as unique management challenges, such as Mule Deer, Elk, Coyote and Black Bear. Beaver have the potential to transform and shape the landscape on a scale that few other species can boast, and they deserve the added attention that we hope this publication will afford. They also have an incredible natural history and we hope that, like all of us at the Trust, the more folks learn about them, the more they will love them!

During the development of the Utah Beaver Management Plan, a Wildlife Notebook Series on Beaver was proposed as an important outreach tool, and when the State was ready to green- light the publication in the summer of 2011, they asked Grand Canyon Trust to take the lead in developing the piece. Christensen researched and completed the manuscript, commissioned the diagrams showing different flow control devices, and licensed a beautiful series of illustrations by famed local wildlife artist Clark Bronson, whose art has been featured in Utah DWR publications since the 1960s. UDWR packaged it into a great piece which is now available in print (contact Jeremy Christensen with requests for paper copies, jchristensen@grandcanyontrust.org) and on the web.

Beaver have gotten a bad rap as of late, showing up in a few evening newscasts in a less than favorable light. For generations, beaver have been viewed by rural residents as a bit of a nuisance, because of their tendency to gnaw on trees and interfere with water delivery and irrigation systems.  Now, it seems (if you subscribe to the hype) some say they threaten our very health and safety. We want to continue to show people on the Colorado Plateau that not only are beaver not a threat, they may be one of the keys to long-term sustainability of life for people in the region, and the sooner they embrace them, the sooner we can begin to realize the multitude of ecological benefits they can provide.

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