Title

Quantitatively Analyzing the Geomorphic Characteristics of Beaver Meadows to Predict Suitable Habitat Locations in the Adirondack Mountains

Abstract

Beaver are ecosystem engineers that dramatically shape their environments through dam construction. They choose habitat locations that can accommodate changes in channel gradient and resulting pond environment. This study determines the geomorphic parameters that govern where beavers build dams along a first order stream in New York. Gradient, shear stress, sediment size, channel width, and bank depth are the stream characteristics used to determine stream reaches that are suitable beaver habitat. Initial results show that shear stress values at beaver ponds range from 0-50 Pa, increasing to 1060 Pa in steep channels. The beaver ponds also have median sediment sizes of 0.5 cm-1.2 cm and tend to be much flatter than elsewhere along the stream. Other streams in the Adirondacks that have these characteristics are likely to have hosted beaver in the past or have the potential to currently host beaver.

Faculty Sponsor

Lyman Persico

Tracks

poster

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Location

Cordiner Hall

Presentation Type

Poster

Research Funding Source or OCS Program

National Science Foundation, Keck Geology Consortium, ExxonMobil Corporation

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Quantitatively Analyzing the Geomorphic Characteristics of Beaver Meadows to Predict Suitable Habitat Locations in the Adirondack Mountains

Cordiner Hall

Beaver are ecosystem engineers that dramatically shape their environments through dam construction. They choose habitat locations that can accommodate changes in channel gradient and resulting pond environment. This study determines the geomorphic parameters that govern where beavers build dams along a first order stream in New York. Gradient, shear stress, sediment size, channel width, and bank depth are the stream characteristics used to determine stream reaches that are suitable beaver habitat. Initial results show that shear stress values at beaver ponds range from 0-50 Pa, increasing to 1060 Pa in steep channels. The beaver ponds also have median sediment sizes of 0.5 cm-1.2 cm and tend to be much flatter than elsewhere along the stream. Other streams in the Adirondacks that have these characteristics are likely to have hosted beaver in the past or have the potential to currently host beaver.

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