Grand Canyon Trust

Climate Change Challenge

The Southwest is the hottest and driest region in the U.S. Here, the availability of water has defined its landscapes and history of human settlement. Climate changes pose challenges for this already parched region where it is expected to get hotter and, in its southern half, significantly drier. Increased heat and changes to rain and snowpack will send ripple effects throughout the region, affecting 56 million people and its critical agriculture sector.

The Conservation Response

The Grand Canyon turned their attention to locally appropriate, practical tools to help these arid ecosystems adapt to changing conditions. Using the beavers natural hydrological engineering skill, they strategically reintroduced these large rodents whose dams help slow the flow of water, create wetlands, reduce the force of floods, and expand riparian habitat for wildlife.

Partnering with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on the three US Forest Service national forests in southern/central Utah (Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests) and Utah State University Watershed Sciences, Grand Canyon Trust reintroduced dam-building beaver to 80 creeks/water bodies on the three forests approved for potential beaver reintroduction. They tracked ecosystem services provided by reintroduced beaver and helped land managers and owners adjust to beaver, including assisting with installation of flow control devices (trapezoidal fences to prevent blocking of culverts, and pond levelers for stabilizing rising pond levels). They also assisted with restoration of historical habitat of beaver that currently lacks sufficient woody food and construction materials for successful reintroduction of beaver.

Geography

Utah

Within and adjacent to the three Colorado Plateau national forests in southern/central Utah: Dixie, Fishlake and Manti-La Sal NFs.


Greater Yellowstone Coalition
Scenic Hudson