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Being beavers

Within the forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, meadows are in need of help. Fortunately, some eager beaver hands are up to the task.

Jamie Hinrichs
Pacific Southwest Regional Office of Communication
February 7, 2024

A group of people use shovels to dig within a stream.
Meadow restoration experts and trainees from Trout Unlimited, Anabranch Solutions, and the Tübatulabal Tribe work to create a beaver dam analog in Troy Meadow on the Sequoia National Forest, July 2023. (USDA Forest Service photo by Jamie Hinrichs)

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   Transcript | Download directly (66 MB)

In a meadow, the squish of mud and splash of a slightly flooded landscape are signs of health. It can be easy to overlook meadows within national forests, perhaps simply because our attention is more often drawn to things that fill a space - a lake, a mountain, a grove of trees - rather than what appears to be merely open space. Meadows may be a kind of open space, but they are not empty or void of value. Far from it. As we are soon to learn, meadows abound in natural resources and cultural benefits. But within the forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, meadows are in need of help. Fortunately, some eager beaver hands are up to the task. 

Put on your waders, wellies and the perspective of a beaver to learn all about meadows: their ecology, the causes of their deterioration and how they are being restored. There is a lot to learn. So, we visit two national forests and talk to land managers, researchers, Tribal members and restoration specialists.

Listen and find out more at Region 5 Forest Focus Episode 36: Being Beavers.

 

A group of people carry branches across a stream with a forest in the background.
Meadow restoration experts and trainees from Trout Unlimited, Anabranch Solutions, and the Tübatulabal Tribe construct a post-assisted log structure in Troy Meadow on the Sequoia National Forest, July 2023. (USDA Forest Service photo by Jamie Hinrichs)
Man wearing a hard hat and uniform stands in grass with burned trees in the background.
Sierra National Forest Supervisor Dean Gould discusses the importance of meadows while standing in the Lower Grouse Meadow, August 2023. (USDA Forest Service photo by Hilary Clark)
Woman wearing a white hard hat and uniform kneels in water with burned trees in the background.
Dr. Karen Pope demonstrates meadow restoration efforts, kneeling in stream in Sierra National Forest's Lower Grouse Meadow, August 2023. (USDA Forest Service photo by Hilary Clark)
A group of people stand within a stream next to a pile of logs and branches.
Meadow restoration experts and trainees from Trout Unlimited, Anabranch Solutions, and the Tübatulabal Tribe harvest vegetation and dig sediment to construct a completed beaver dam analog in Troy Meadow on the Sequoia National Forest, July 2023. (USDA Forest Service photo by Jamie Hinrichs)
https://www.fs.usda.gov/features/being-beavers