It seems fish like salmon and trout are finnicky about water temperature, and beavers may hold the secret to adjusting the faucets.
The CBC’s science columnist, Dr. Torah Kahcur, explored new research that indicates beaver-maintained ponds could be responsible for creating ideal fish habitat by creating more surface water and keeping the temperatures of those waterways cooler.
“It's significant because the high temperatures of river water— whichon some days can reach up to 29 C —is problematic for fish like salmon and trout,” Kahcur wrote of the study.“These fish need temperatures closer to 25 C,which is exactly what is achieved by having a beaver pond.Having much cooler water increases the survival of juvenile fish like the steelhead trout.”
In short: the researchers say beaver pond creation can positively and efficiently affect the temperature of water, which is beneficial for species of fish (and presumably other aquatic life).
“The proposal is to take inspiration from nature, and the beaver, to help restore habitat by constructing artificial beaver dams. And the coolest part is that beavers eventually take over the dams after a few years,” wrote Kahcur. “Not only can the dams restore river systems, but it means beavers might be guided into building dams where they might reduce the impact on people's lands.”
That’s right – the scientists are also proposing that they can start building a dam in desired areas to impact ecosystems, or in a location that would be preferable for land use, and the beavers will take over and maintain it.
This is whysupporting independent research is so vital – even today, hundreds of years after we started trapping beavers en masse for their fur, we’re still learning just how awesome they are as eco-engineers, and why we need to co-exist.