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.