Protecting beavers, one meadow at a time

Maddie standing on a full dam with equipment ready to measure

Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member Maddie Page, with her host site American Rivers, prepared the data and led the beaver dam monitoring in Faith Valley and Hope Valley meadows in June 2022. These meadows are located in the Carson Watershed in Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest

Faith Valley flowers, showing the plant biodiversity and how beautiful meadow ecosystems are

Beavers play an essential role in these meadows by building dams, expanding channels, and widening the natural floodplain. American Rivers has been monitoring beavers at these sites for many years. With the help of a SNAP member from Alpine Watershed Group, they measured dams, lodges, and partial structures in the two meadows. They collected information on these structures’ size, activity, ponding, photos, and GPS points. After the fieldwork, Maddie compiled all the data and updated the structure maps in GIS to represent the new data.

This is a beaver lodge, the structure beavers build to live in with the opening underwater to protect themselves from predators

Faith Valley and Hope Valley meadows are just two of the many meadow restoration projects American Rivers is involved with throughout the Sierra. American Rivers Headwaters Conservation Program works across the Sierra Nevada and foothills to improve California’s watersheds’ health and integrated management by focusing on river, meadow, forest, and road restoration. 

Healthy meadows benefit people, wildlife, and rivers by acting as natural reservoirs that give rain, snow, and runoff the chance to slow down, spread out, and sink into the soil, filtering and storing water. Meadows can act as fuel breaks, slow down fire, and are essential for plant and wildlife biodiversity. 

Maddie measuring a dam to get its height. They measured height, length, water depth, and noted activity and ponding.

Meadows are an integral part of the environment. American Rivers is working to restore the health of mountain meadows to help ensure that California rivers and water supply will be resilient for years to come.

Please visit their website to learn more about Maddie and American Rivers’ work to protect meadows. 

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