Thinking like a beaver: A BDA primer

In the first snow of October 2018, along Basin Creek outside of Butte, Montana, I volunteered to be a beaver. Or, lacking all the right anatomy, I at least tried to think and act how nature's best woodworkers might.

In this restoration project – using simple cutting and digging tools, plus a dose of aquatic ingenuity – I worked with colleagues to mimic the masters and build a series of beaver dam analogues (BDAs). Such low-tech earth-shaping seemed shallow next to the chasm at the nearby Berkeley Pit, but I knew these BDAs promised deep impacts, enhancing stable flows for Basin Creek's westslo...


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