It was quite a highlight for Cooper Lienhart and myself, Audrey Taub, to get to attend and present at the State of the Beaver Conference in Canyonville, Oregon this Nov 13-16, 2023. We were able to hear from the founders of this conference, Stan Petrowski, Leonard & Lois Houston and feel their passion for their watershed and their conviction in the work of the beavers to return health back to their creeks and rivers. They presented decades’ long experience of restoring creeks and relocating beavers back into their habitats. If you want a beaver story, go no further than Stan, Leonard and Lois. Truly inspirational frontline restorationists.
Dr. Suzanne Fouty, another hero in the beaver world who has been instrumental in researching the beavers impact on streams and stream restoration for over 25 years, and how beavers and wolves interact to accelerate stream restoration. Dr. Fouty presented on her efforts to close federally managed public lands to beaver trapping and hunting as a strategic response to the emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss. She is working tirelessly to shine the light on the often unspoken and unnoticed quantities of beavers that are still being trapped today on public lands all over this country. Even as many dollars, hours and energy is being spent to restore streams to create the conditions for beavers to return, once the beavers do arrive, trappers often remove those very beavers from the watersheds, ultimately limiting the benefits of those restoration efforts.
Kevin Swift of Swift Water Design gave a presentation on his teams efforts at restoring the watershed of Tásmam Koyóm, the ancestral lands of the Mountain Maidu currently owned and maintained by the Maidu Summit Consortium. Using low-tech process-based restoration techniques, his team of restorationists have restored many miles of Yellow Creek and much to their delight, and the ultimate sign of success, have seen the return of beavers back into these restored waterways.
Cristina Valverde of Beavers Taught Salmon to Jump, was seen with camera in hand, always alert to this story of reconnection and the restoration of this connection by beavers, people and indigenous ecological ways. She is a skilled story catcher and is very often at the center of beaver/human activities, capturing the events as they unfold.
So many great moments to share, there will be more to come on this post in the upcoming months.