Fire Resiliency

The idea that beaver dams can improve the resiliency of riverscapes to fire is common sense. That argument is made in Module 1’s Principles Lecture (e.g. Slide 18 at right). This page highlights some of the examples, anecdotes, and the surprisingly small amount (but convincing) of published scientific evidence that give credence to this idea that “It’s really not complicated: water doesn’t burn…”.

This page highlights some of the resources on:

If you are looking for examples of post-fire LTPBR case studies, see here:

LTPBR Post-Fire Case Studies

Media Coverage

In recent years, there has been some media attention focused on the role that beaver can play in improving the resiliency of riverscapes to fire. This is perhaps best summed up in Emily Fairfax’s stop-motion story:

News Articles

Documentaries

In Sara Tensegrity’s award-winning 2018 documentary Beaver Believers, the Methow Beaver Project’s Kent Woodruff talks about how the beaver ponds helped stave off the impacts of the 2015 Twisp Fire. A trailer is below.

The Beaver Believers Kickstarter Trailer from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.


Presentations on Beaver & Fire

Below are some talks on beaver and fire. As more talks emerge, we’ll post them here (or let us know if you want to contribute one).

Emily Fairfax

In the webinar below, Emily Fairfax explains the concept and the science behind Smokey the Beaver.

Joe Wheaton

Below, is an excerpt from LTPBR Workshop Module 1’s Principles Lecture on resilience:

The slide show for the Utah Watershed Restoration Intiative covers some of the concepts and examples of LTPBR used in a post-fire context (see case studies also)


Documentation of Beaver Increasing Resilience

The documentation of beaver increasing resilience of riverscapes to fire exists in both popular literature and is starting to emerge in the scholarly literature.

Wikpedia

Rick Lanman updated Wikipedia to include in the North American Beaver page, a section on § Beaver ponds as wildlife refugia and firebreaks in wildfires.

Three Against the Wilderness - ​If you really want to convince yourself we’re not on to anything new when it comes to partnering with beaver as a restoration tool, read Eric Collier’s Three Against the Wilderness. Although published in 1959, Eric describes his family’s efforts in the 1920s and 1930s to mimic the work of beaver in British Columbia by repairing the abandon dams left behind from their extirpation in his watershed in the 1830s and 1840s. It is one of the earliest examples we know of, of what you might call beaver dam analogues (though he didn’t give it a silly acronym). Eventually, he is able to stop doing the maintenance when a game warden brings him a few translocated, live beaver to introduce to the area.

Scholarly Literature

Some of the scientific documentation we are aware of is listed below, as well as more conceptual summaries (let us know if you know of studies missing from here):


Potential Sources of Funding

There are numerous sources of funding for LTPBR, but to use as an emergency restoration tool post-fire, the following Federal programs (by agency) are good candidates:

  • US Forest Service BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) - Known example(s): Nevada Gance Fire - 2018 and South Sugarloaf Fire
  • Bureau of Land Management BARR
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service EWPP (Emergency Watershed Protection Program)

Public Fire Information


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Case for LTPBR