Research Task: 83279NA.3.0
Task Manager: Bruce Baker
Beaver are a keystone species whose populations throughout Rocky Mountain National Park have declined since the 1940s. The goal of this research is to understand how beaver influence landscape processes and why populations have declined. Our approach will (1) replicate previous Park-wide beaver surveys and identify possible limiting factors in each drainage; (2) evaluate the effects of the Grand Ditch (de-watering the Colorado River and its tributaries) on beaver ecology and landscape processes in the Kawuneeche Valley; (3) evaluate mortality and dispersal as factors limiting beaver populations; and (4) evaluate the interaction of beaver and elk as a mechanism of declining willow. Results will be used to map and age beaver-created landforms and well as riparian communities associated with all beaver-controlled landforms. Scientists will also develop a vegetation succession model and a model of the role of beaver in landscape formation and valley hydrologic regime and vegetation patterns.
For more information contact Bruce Baker