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Using beavers to build and maintain ponds

 
Posts: 33
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
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Watched this PBS documentary called "Leave It to Beavers" with my kids and was super inspired to integrate beavers into a pond system. They show some simple management techniques that could be used to manage beavers in a permaculture system.

Leave it to Beavers

I would love to hear if anyone else has though about or done this.
 
Posts: 400
Location: SW Missouri
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I watched that just the other day. It was awesome to see the beavers turn that desert out west into a lush pond full of wildlife. Truly remarkable
 
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I've been a pro beaver fan all along that is why ,well one reason, we don't have lush forest and fertile lands
they may cut trees but they renew the land, I call it composting at its finest.type of Hugelkultur on steroids .
In my mind they should have been protected just like any other wild life habitat .
 
gardener
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Great Video, very good information on how to get beavers to do their building where you need/ want them to.
Wonderful explanation of why the creator made them too. Now if everyone would just watch this and learn from it, beaver would be seen for what they truly are, builders.

The only reason to move beavers is if the pond happens to be your drinking water source, their presence in that case will be detrimental to you and your family's health.
That is the only time I would think of moving them away or worst case, trapping them.

I see the beaver as one of earth mother's helpers, they can seem to be destructive and for some things I am sure they are.
But the many benefits far outweigh what could be seen as bad.
As this video shows, we just have to learn to think like a beaver, then we can direct their construction projects to our benefit.
In the big picture, they do far more good for the land and plant diversity than they do harm.
I see beavers as constructors not destructors, and if needed, a food / hide source. They are good tasting and their fur is super soft and warm, their teeth make good knives and scrapers too.

It is the same for all nature born beings, our perception can be tainted by a narrow focus on personal desires instead of taking in the whole scheme of the grandness of nature.
We live within nature and the land, not upon it. This Video points this out very well.
It has been the bane of mankind to have the backwards idea that mother earth is here for us to exploit, all that thinking has done is destroy the place upon which we live.

It is our duty to keep the earth for the generations that will come long after we have moved to the spirit world.
How sad it would be if our great, great, great grandchildren have a barren world because of our negligence and greed.
 
Posts: 254
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Is this the same video?...I'm guessing it is...looks good so far. Leave it To Beavers That other site keeps freezing my computer, so I searched youtube.
 
pollinator
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Location: Upstate SC
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On the negative side, beavers can be very wasteful by stripping off all of the bark from the 1 to 3 foot level on large trees (ones too large for them to cut down) around the pond, girdling and killing them. One way you can tell that beavers have moved into an existing man-made pond is by the number of dead 2 to 3 foot diameter beech and sweet gum trees lining the edge of the pond. And they will cut down any bamboo and many other useful plants growing near the pond.

On the positive side, by having the beavers build your dam, you might be able to avoid problems like that guy in Wyoming is having with the EPA going after him and fining him for building a 1 acre stock pond. Even if you don't have beavers, build a beaver style stick and mud dam (complete with beaver lodge) and if the EPA comes calling, "the beavers did it".

I read that when the Mormons founded Salt Lake City, as they were building the dams that were to supply their irrigation canals, they found that when they started building a dam using the materials at hand (sticks and mud), the local beavers would continue building on their dam during the night when no one was there. They considered the beavers their "night shift".
 
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Point of fact to stir the pot. Our "beneviolent" Wild life service disposes of about 24,000 yearly. only 22,496 last year. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/prog_data/2014/G/Tables/Table_G-2_Euth-Killed.pdf
 
gardener
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Let's inline that video:

 
Daniel Worth
Posts: 33
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
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To spitball some other ideas for management......
I'd bet in a silvopasture setup annual tree trimmings could first be passed through goats to strip leaves, then to the beavers to strip the bark for food and lower the load on the pond trees and lastly the wood can be collected for hugelkultur or use in a rocket mass heater.
 
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I have been thing about this too. I think beavers make a great analogy for thinking about permaculture. They find leverage points in the system, increase diversity, maximize edge, and build soil by slowing sediment.

Here is a great article by Toby Hemenway

http://www.permacultureactivist.net/articles/Beavers.htm
 
Posts: 15
Location: Texas, Blackland Prarie, Zone 8a
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We live in an area of east Dallas that should be chalk prairie, but our house is built on the site of an ancient beaver pond. And even though nearby creek has eroded to about 50 ft below the level of our yard, we enjoy silty topsoil several yards deep before we hit chalk derived mineral soils. Love beavers. They benefit the land they've been on for centuries after they're gone.
 
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If I needed a thesis subject I think I would go with linking the fur industry back in the 17th century to the current drought situations we are experiencing.
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Because beavers are extirpated in many areas, humans may have to take over the functions of beavers by making woody barriers in streams, aka "brush dams."



 
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