Can Beavers Be Water Quality Superheroes?

Forestry specialist to speak during virtual field day

January 23, 2023, 10:10 am | Liz Ripley, Billy Beck

AMES, Iowa – Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual field day on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. Central time. Join for a live discussion with Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University and Andrew Rupiper, graduate research assistant in natural resources ecology and management at Iowa State University.

Researchers at a beaver dam site near Otho, Iowa.The event will explore a unique research project, located at the Ann Smeltzer Trust Iowa Learning Farm in Webster County, looking at a free in-stream conservation practice tying together water quality, wood and wildlife.

Funded by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, the team is working to quantify hydrologic impacts of beaver dams in the stream system and their effect on nutrients and sediment to determine the influence, positive or negative, these ecosystem engineers have within their watershed.

“Many of the stream channels in Iowa aren’t able to assist with nutrient and sediment reductions and may be sources instead due to the straightening of streams, removal of riparian vegetation, removed in-channel wood and added artificial drainage to the landscape,” noted Beck. “While contentious, beaver dams are a free in-stream conservation practice that could help improve water quality and reduce nutrient and sediment loads within the watershed.”

Webinar access instructions  

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 1 p.m. Central time Feb. 9:

The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so that it can be watched at any time.

Participants may be eligible for a Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU (if approved) will be provided at the end of the event.

Shareable photo: Andrew Rupiper (L) and Billy Beck (R) at beaver dam research site near Otho, Iowa.

 

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About the Authors: 

Liz Ripley

Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!

515-294-5429