SEPTEMBER 14: BUILDING Beaver DAM ANALOGUES IN THE SHEEPROCK MOUNTAINS
Join us for a day in the Sheeprock Mountains on the western edge of the Great Basin in central Utah. Currently, the Sheeprocks' Vernon Creek is fairly degraded and down-cut, due to many stressors, one of which is that beavers - who usually keep streams dammed and water levels and water tables high - no longer occur in the Sheeprock Mountains. Earlier this season we were out in the Sheeprocks, with our partner the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, to assess a degraded section of Vernon Creek, before installation of 'beaver dam analogues' later this season, to both raise the water table and re-instate connectivity with the floodplain (as real beaver dams do, thus helping to restore degraded conditions), and also ready the stream for potential beaver recolonization or reintroduction. Our chief goal of this first field trip was to gather valuable baseline condition information on the current state of Vernon Creek before modification- beaver dam analogue installation - later this summer. Now it is time to return to the Sheeprocks and help the Division actually build these BDAs!
What are beaver dam analogues (BDAs)?
Man-made beaver dams, built by driving 2-by-4's close together and directly into the stream channel bottom, and then weaving local materials such as willow boughs through the 2-by-4's are often referred to as 'beaver dam analogues.' Once installed, these structures build up sediment and debris behind them, create a pond, and this can both raise the water table and even aggrade the whole stream channel with the sediment that is caught behind BDAs.
We will meet at our downtown office (824 S. 400 West, suite B-117) at 7:30 on the morning of September 14th to begin our carpool/caravan to Vernon, OR we can also meet volunteers at the "Silver sage" in the town of Vernon Utah at 9:00 on the 14th, and carpool/caravan to the project site from there. Plan on a full day afield helping our UDWR partners build a few of these BDAs along Vernon Creek....we should be back in Salt Lake sometime between 5 and 6:00 pm.
To Register for the one Sheeprocks Citizen Volunteer Trip, please fill out and submit the form below!