09.11.13

In Celebration of Southern Utah’s Most Useful Mammal

“Leave it to Beavers!” is a family friendly festival in celebration of southern Utah’s most useful mammal – and it’s coming your way September 21, 2013 to the Anasazi State Park in Boulder, UT. Organized by members of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership, the annual festival celebrates all things Castor canadensis and the incredibly useful—and often surprising—role that beavers play in creating mountain meadows, lakes, habitat for other species and for water conservation.

For example:

  • Famously “busy,” beaver build dams on rivers and streams that effectively store and keep water in-stream. This creates the opportunity for more plant-life to grow that, in turn, becomes better habitat for other animals. More wetland habitat produces better hunting and fishing for people.
  • In arid ecosystems, such as those found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, beaver dams keep more water in dry environments and hold back silt—silt that otherwise rushes downhill during big storms and causes problems by piling up in reservoirs. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that irrigators spent approximately $13 million in 2011 to remove sediment and restore capacity to Wide Hollow Reservoir.
  • One of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is Lower Calf Creek Falls trail, about halfway between Boulder and Escalante on Highway 12. It is a great place for visitors to see active and inactive beaver dams all along the stream and to the waterfall.

The Leave it to Beavers! Festival on September 21 in Boulder, UT will offer a range of kids’ activities, nature walks to see beavers at work, an exhibit of live beavers from Hogle Zoo, music, educational booths and a beaver film festival.

The festival is just one outreach component of broad conservation work being accomplished by the Escalante River Watershed Partnership – a group of more than 25 organizations, agencies and community residents working to restore and maintain the natural ecological conditions of the Escalante River and watershed and involve local communities in promoting and implementing sustainable land and water use practices.

Check out this great video documenting the reintroduction of beaver to the Dixie National Forest (UT), with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Boulder Community Alliance and Grand Canyon Trust—all members of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership.

beaver_UTdivisionofwildliferesources

A beaver sits at the edge of a river bank. Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.