GROUND-TRUTHING A PREDICTIVE MODEL: In the summer of 2017, our ecological field intern traveled around Utah, helping Utah State University scientists ground-truth a new, habitat model that predicts which streams/riparian corridors in Utah could support beavers and which are likely highly degraded or have substantial conflicts with humans (development, intensive agriculture/grazing or water channel impoundment /augmentation/ damning/diversions). This state-wide spatial model, Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT), can help the Division of Wildlife and land and water managers identify 'low-hanging fruit' where the re-introduction of beavers (which historically were in nearly all streams in Utah) is an optimal restoration solution in the watershed. We will contribute on-the-ground information that will be critical to informing BRAT developers and users.
Wild Utah Project's Beaver Program
Wild Utah Project is facilitating new and existing partnerships with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and beaver scientists at Utah State University and to initiate a cooperative beaver habitat assessment program. The result of this effort will be an assessment of the current level of function in ‘pre- and post-beaver’ or Beaver Dam Analogue installations in riparian habitats. This level of analysis is critical right now, as many beaver introductions and Analogue building efforts do not collect this important before and after ecological data. Wild Utah Partners are collecting this data across Utah, and publisizing the results in this critical Proof-of-Concept exercise.