Birch Creek, Idaho

Intro to Birch Creek, Idaho & Jay Wilde

Birch Creek, Idaho in southeast Idaho has become a poster-child case study for LTPBR. Birch Creek is a left-bank tributary to Mink Creek, which is tributary to the Bear River just downstream of Oneida Narrows. For a virtual tour, meet landowner and rancher Jay Wilde at right or see his talk furhter below.

The goals of this project were to improve riverscape health and restore perennial flow. The means to achieving this were reintroducing beaver and letting the process of beaver dam activity take over. As of Fall 2020, there are over 165 beaver dams in the creek now.

Jay Wilde’s Story: Reintroducing beaver to bring back perennial flow

We have had the privilege of working with Idaho Rancher Jay Wilde since 2014. For a more elaborate version of what Joe explains here, its best to hear directly from Jay what happened. Jay tells his story about bringing beaver back to the creek he grew up on to restore flow.

See Life on the Range’s condensed version of Jay’s Story here (or even shorter teaser)

Jay’s Story - The longer version

Jay started going on the road in the summer of 2018 with us and helped spread this message to workshop participants in SGI Low-Tech Process Based Restoration of Mesic & Riparian Workshops. He’s now told his story to 1000’s of workshop participants all over the American West. This video below is from the Logan Workshop:

If you’d like to hear part of the story on the ground (in a virtual field trip), check out this virtual field trip with Jay Wilde.

Go on the Virtual
LTPBR Birch Creek Field Trip

Birch Creek Lectures

Nick Bouwes gave an abbreviated version of the Birch Creek story in the Virtual Workshop Module 2

Video Part 3

Story Told by Others

This story has appeared in multiple media outlets. Here are a few of the recent ones:

Range Magazine - Return of Nature’s Hydro Engineers (2021)

An article titled “Return of Nature’s Hydro Engineers” appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Range Magazine on Jay’s story.

Beef Magazine: Beaver power provides year-long water to Idaho ranch (2020)

That’s right, Beef Magazine! This article by Briana Randall titled “Beaver power provides year-long water to Idaho ranch: Beavers? You read that right. Here’s how four-legged engineers helped restore an Idaho ranch.” explains to other cattlemen why Jay wants what many view as a nuisance on his ranch.

Life on the Range: Ranher Jay Wilde Realizes long-time dream tof bringng beaver back to Birch Creek (2020)

Steve Stuebner does a great job of capturing Jay’s story in both print and a 15 minute video for Idaho Rangeland’s Life on the Range.

National Wildlife Federation Magazine (2020)

In this article titled ““Nature’s Ecosystem Engineers Beaver dams create climate-smart wetlands that benefit wildlife and people”, Catherine Arnold highlights Jay’s story on Birch Creek.

Eager (2018)

This talk is elaborated in Ben Goldfarb’s new award winning book: Eager - The Surprising Secret Life of Beaver and Why they Matter.

View excerpts for free here

USU Today - The Aftermath of Us

The main focus of this article is on research Brendan Murphy and Patrick Belmont are doing on fire in the American west, but Jay’s story is featured in the end of the article.

Birch Creek Albums

Looking for some Pics? For media outlets, authors and individuals looking to use these images, you may use any of the images in these albums below at no cost. Joe Wheaton has licensed everything in the albums with a Creative Commons Attribution license, so you can use the images in your own works. They are listed in chronological order below, and not curated (i.e. there are tons of pictures in some of the albums).

Birch Creek Resources from Capstone Class

Birch Creek - 2020 Class - Intro Conservation Planning Resources for Birch Creek Design Resources for Birch Creek