Erin Kinnetz

Beaver Dam Surprise

Recently our Forest Learning Lab discovered a special treat in our Floyds Fork waterway. We found a beaver dam. Our students were able to examine the engineering put in place by the ingenious beaver engineer. Together we identified the arched structure and buttressing as well as the use of both stones and chewed sticks.

While Floyds Fork is home to many beaver families that leave behind signs like beaver chews, tracks, and felled trees, we don’t get to see beaver dams very often.

That’s because beavers won’t typically build dams in flood prone areas. It would be too much work to build a dam and have to fix or replace it in a creek that can flood a dozen times in a year. Usually our beavers just depend on naturally still deep areas of the creek for swimming and dig their homes into the banks of the creek.

This past summer our creek level has stayed lower than would be comfortable for a beaver despite the regular bouts of rain. Perhaps our beaver was just taking advantage of our flood free summer and supplemented their pool with a dam. Perhaps it was built by a young beaver that hasn’t yet learned the hard lesson of the destruction of a flood. Whatever the reason, our Forest Learning Lab students enjoyed the hands on engineering lesson taught by the common North American Beaver!

Learn more about our Forest Learning Lab and view a list of upcoming dates at Parklands Members receive a discount on registration!