Miracle in the Nevada Desert

Beaver and cattle are symbiotic. Together they can turn desert into wetlands.

Posted by Chris Gill

  1. My old schoolmate Bill Magee who back in the fifties grew up on one of those giant high-desert mountain ranches in Nevada, sent me this comment on beavers in the deserts:

    Dear Chris,

    Riding the foothills and mountains on either side of the Grass Valley Ranch I have come upon beaver dams. The runoff from the beaver dams created small mountain meadows and a water supply for the cattle.

    Sincerely,

    Bill

    To which I replied:

    Dear Bill,

    Yes and in the absence of timber, they will build the dams from salt cedar and even grass. Yet in our blinkered wildlife thinking, beavers as solutions to desertification aren’t even considered: The theology of invasive species biology says beavers, like cattle, are ‘invasives’. As such beavers are eradication targets. Plus, they don’t cost enough, and, require no chemicals, machinery, fire or other wildlife ‘management’ – other than planning the grazing – to do their jobs.

    Regards,

    Reply

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