Beavers continue to be active at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve

Apr 17, 2017
Recent visits to Camp Polk Meadow uncover exciting signs of beaver activity at the Preserve.

Camp Polk Meadow Preserve has a long history of beaver activity, but until the Land Trust and our restoration partners restored the creek and meadow in 2012 beaver activity was fairly limited. We saw the first spike in beaver activity as we finished up the final phase of restoration in 2011. Since then beavers have continued to be active and seem to be spreading throughout the meadow and this spring the beavers were back in full force!

A beaver-felled cottonwood at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
A beaver-felled cottonwood at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
On recent visits to the Preserve, staff discovered many signs of beavers at work in middle meadow near the restored creek channel. These industrious animals took down several large cottonwood trees, in the process damning and diverting side channels of Whychus Creek. It was also interesting to note that many of chew marks left by beavers were several feet off the ground. This indicates the beavers were working on the trees over the winter when they had several feet of snow to stand on!

The Land Trust is pleased to see that beavers are thriving at the Preserve. It is an encouraging sign that the work we did to restore Camp Polk Meadow and Whychus Creek is beginning to take hold and nature is starting to take the lead.

Beavers were once removed from Camp Polk Meadow in efforts to control flooding for nearby landowners. Today, beavers are enjoying a comeback as we begin to acknowledge their role as nature’s restoration experts. They add wood to creeks and create side channels that improve habitat for fish, their ponds boost water quality, and they help to reduce erosion along the banks of rivers and streams. In short, they are allies as we continue to restore the meadow for fish and wildlife and we welcome them home.

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