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Can Beavers Clean Our Water and Restore Wild Salmon Populations?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

beaver for salmon population

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  • Beavers are “ecosystem engineers” with an “ability to manipulate and change their environment” that’s second only to humans; their creation of dams and ponds benefits many other animal, bird and insect species
  • The density and survival of juvenile steelhead increased following the installation of simulated beaver dams
  • Young salmon spend the early seasons of their life in the quiet depths of beaver ponds before migrating toward the ocean; as such, beaver provide help in maintaining the proper complexity of habitat that young salmon need to thrive
  • One of the beavers’ greatest gifts to the environment is slowing down water flows and impounding water, which results in water storage, allowing water to infiltrate the ground and restore aquifers
  • Beaver ponds improve water quality by acting as sinks for nitrogen in the water and result in a process called denitrification, during which nitrogen compounds are turned back into nitrogen gas, which is then released from the water

Beavers are intriguing animals found throughout North America. The largest living rodents in the region, beavers were hunted for their pelts to near extinction in the 1800s, but have made a comeback and are now relatively common along rivers, streams, lakes and marshes.

Beavers have an ingenious ability to change the landscape to suit their needs, building dams in order to create deep, calm water, or ponds, in which to build their homes, known as lodges.

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