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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Monday, January 28 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
(SYMPOSIA-06) Beaver as a Provider of Ecological Services for Fish and Wildlife

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AUTHORS: Kerry Fitzpatrick, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Through their dam-building and feeding activities, beaver alter the hydrology, channel morphology, biogeochemical pathways, and community productivity of streams. The literature documents that streams with beaver are substantially different from those without beaver: • Beaver are a primary disturbance regime in northern hemisphere forests. They create wetlands, forest openings, and early successional patches in what would otherwise be mature forest.• Beaver ponds increase riparian habitat, create favorable conditions for aquatic plants, and sub-irrigate nearby vegetation. Riparian plant communities are biologically more diverse in the presence of beaver.• Beaver create conditions, favorable for an entire suite of wildlife species, that are in limited supply in streams without beaver. For some wildlife, beaver-created habitat is essential to maintain a large portion of their populations.• Beaver have been shown to reduce peak flood levels, maintain flow during droughts, and reduce the variability of flow compared to streams without beaver dams.• Water that flows out of beaver dams has lower turbidity and sediment levels than that entering ponds, resulting in cleaner substrates downstream than would occur without beaver.• The stair-step profile of streams with beaver have a lower kinetic gradient, which reduces scouring and erosion. Streams with a history of beaver are more braided, wider, and have larger and deeper pools.• Streams with beaver capture and process organic matter more efficiently and closer to its source than streams without beaver. High nutrient levels and solar exposure yield the high productivity associated with beaver ponds and meadows.• Water passing through beaver ponds has an elevated acid neutralizing capacity, which can modify the pH of water originating from acidic sources such as peat bogs, conifer forests, or tannic streams.Beaver are increasingly being used as an economical stream restoration tool. This presentation outlines the rationale for maintaining or re-introducing beaver for the ecological services they provide.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B