We could not be more excited to officially announce that we are sponsoring two Cal Poly Master’s students, Sophie Aubry and Casandra Leach, in their study of beaver wetlands in SLO County!
They are both enrolled in the Masters of Science in Environmental Sciences and Management program (MS ESM) with Dr. Seeta Sistla as their advisor. The pair will be studying and comparing three different ecosystems: beaver constructed wetlands, non-beaver wetlands, and rivers with no active beavers.
Sophie Aubry will be testing to determine the carbon sequestration potential of beaver
wetlands, something that has never been studied in our area. This can have widespread implications for carbon offset and mitigation projects in the future for our county and beyond. She will test the carbon in the soils surrounding the wetlands, the vegetation growth spurred by beaver chewing, and the greenhouse gas flux coming from the wetlands. Casandra Leach will be testing for nutrients in the beaver wetlands, non-beaver wetlands, and rivers without beavers. Specifically, she will be looking for nutrient cycling and availability, particularly as it relates to primary productivity. Together, they will
provide us with a needed, and in-depth analysis on how beavers affect greenhouse gas sequestration and nutrient availability.
This research could be a valuable tool in our tool belt as we learn how to mitigate the effects of climate change and restore life to our rivers and streams.