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July 1, 2022

Reintegrating The North American Beaver (castor Canadensis) In The Urban Landscape.

Bailey, David R.; Dittbrenner, Benjamin J.; Yocom, Ken P. (2019). Reintegrating The North American Beaver (castor Canadensis) In The Urban Landscape. Wires Water, 6(1).

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In recent decades, ecological restoration and landscape architecture have focused on reintegrating ecological processes in the urban environment to support greater habitat complexity and increase biodiversity. As these values are more broadly recognized, new approaches are being investigated to increase ecosystem services and ecological benefits in urban areas. Ecosystem engineers, such as the North American beaver (Castor canadensis), can create complex habitat and influence ecological processes in natural environments. Through dam building and wetland formation, beaver can create fish habitat, diversify vegetation in riparian zones, and aggrade sediment to increase stream productivity. As beaver populations have increased in urban areas across North America, their presence presents challenges and opportunities. Beaver can be integrated into the design of new and established urban green spaces to improve ecosystem functions. If managed properly, the conflicts that beaver sometimes create can be minimized. In this paper, we examine how landscape architects and restoration ecologists are anticipating the geomorphic and hydrological implications of beaver reintroduction in the design of wetlands and urban natural areas at regional and site levels. We present an urban beaver map and three case studies in Seattle, WA, USA, to identify various approaches, successes, and management strategies for integrating the actions of beaver into project designs. We make recommendations for how designers can capitalize on the benefits of beaver by identifying sites with increased likelihood of colonization, leveraging ecosystem engineers in design conception, designing site features to reduce constraints for the reintroduction and establishment of beaver, and anticipating and managing impacts. This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness Engineering Water > Planning Water


Beavers; Cities & Towns In Art; Nature; Riparian Areas; Municipal Water Supply; Restoration Ecology; Wetland Ecology; United States; Seattle (wash.); North America; Beaver; Biodiversity; Castor Canadensis; Ecological Design; Ecological Restoration; Ecosystem Engineers; Ecosystem Services; Species Richness; Wetland Habitat; River-basin; Dams; Channel; Streams; Impact; Water; Ponds; Ecology; Urban Populations; Habitats; Ecosystem Management; Landscape Architecture; Colonization; Fish; Geomorphology; Habitat; Design; Ecological Monitoring; Landscape; Urban Areas; Restoration; Riparian Environments; Ecosystems; Wetlands; Ecologists; Reintroduction; Case Studies; Environmental Restoration; Open Spaces; Freshwater Mammals; Urban Environments; Aquatic Mammals; Water Conservation; Ecological Effects; Disputes; Design Engineering; Dam Construction; Engineers; Urban Planning; Complexity; Hydrology