The key variable wasn’t precipitation. It was the presence of beavers, whose deep-water ponds and connecting channels were actually mitigating the effects of severe drought. “They’re really hydrological engineers,” says Hood. “Everything they do is about maximizing water.”
Hood’s work figures prominently in The Beaver Whisperers, a documentary from filmmaker Jari Osborne that airs March 28 on CBC’s The Nature of Things.
It also reflects how scientists and environmentalists are starting to amend some long-held views of Castor canadensis.
Lots of good news about Thursday’s debut of “The Beaver Whisperers“. I am practically a kid in a candy shop. It is still March and we have already had 7 articles this year about the benefits of beavers, from places like Nevada and Alberta. I just love the impact this documentary will have.
You know there will be folks that are upset that they don’t talk enough about chewing trees or ruining culverts, but lets hope when they sit down to write letters, they google the issue and find their way to US who will be delighted to help them find real solutions.
Scientists like Hood believe we should, and it’s not just because beavers have survived climate change in the past. In our own age of global warming, beavers may offer us a kind of environmental second chance, courtesy of their ability to preserve water resources, mitigate drought and boost biodiversity. By helping them, we help ourselves.
Just how many beavers now populate North America — and hence the extent of their recovery — remains an open question. Hood, for one, is cautious about offering an estimate, save that any habitat capable of supporting beaver probably has them today.
“They’ve come back as much as they can,” she says. “They have done a remarkable job.”
Hmm. I can think of LOTS of more places that could support more beavers if we could just use a crowbar or a power tool to open some minds and educate some cities about their value. Take Martinez for instance. We could have a few colonies upstream to slow all that seasonal flash. And Concord and Walnut Creek and Clayton. Beavers are missing from LOTS of places they belong, Glynnis. If we had protection at every culvert to start maybe we could creep a little closer to the 60,000 million beavers we were supposed to have at the beginning.