At the end of August, 13 volunteers joined the Bureau of Land Management and The Nature Conservancy to inventory beaver dams in Upper Gold Creek.
Missoula BLM is currently undergoing a significant land acquisition project in the Lower Blackfoot area. The land was industrial timber lands for about 100 years when The Nature Conservancy took over ownership. Thanks to successful applications for Land & Water Conservation Fund projects, the land is now being acquired by the BLM.
Volunteers waded two miles of creek and helped collect information at each dam including dam width, height, pool depth, and lodge location. Beavers provide an important ecosystem service--their dams help store water and improve hydrologic conditions--improving the overall watershed and making it more resilient to the effects of warming weather and drought. Historic over-trapping in this area caused a decrease in beaver activity and a resulting degradation of the watershed. The information collected here will help establish baseline data as land ownership is transitioned and allow the BLM to assess additional beaver restoration opportunities in the Gold Creek watershed.
This project was part of an ongoing effort by the BLM to inventory and assess these newly acquired lands. Starting in 2024, the BLM will begin restoration efforts based on treatment recommendations that come out of current inventory and assessment efforts.
More information on the land acquisition and restoration efforts by the BLM can be found HERE.
Thank you to BLM staff for leading the project, to volunteers for donating their time, and to Cambie for providing a much-needed lunch after a morning of wading and bushwacking.