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Saving the DammedWhy We Need Beaver-Modified Ecosystems$
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Ellen Wohl

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190943523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190943523.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 June 2021

July Of Fish and Frogs and Flying Things

July Of Fish and Frogs and Flying Things

(p.81) July Of Fish and Frogs and Flying Things
Saving the Dammed

Ellen Wohl

Oxford University Press

By mid-July, abundant water continues to move in all directions within the beaver meadow. Water flows noisily down the main channel, creating deep pools where it mixes with water entering from secondary channels. Deeper waters well up from beneath overhung banks and the willow stems along the banks remain partly submerged. Pieces of driftwood collect where the channel bends, floating in perpetual circles atop the shadowed water. The water is clear of suspended sediment but stained slightly brown. Flow is noticeably lower in the secondary channels, where algae and bacteria stain the cobbles reddish-brown. Shallow water runs down a beaver trail toward the main channel, and I can easily imagine the trail eroding into a small canal over a period of years. The fern-like stems of rust red that grew beneath the pond waters earlier in the season have now emerged and bloomed, revealing a row of pink flowers of elephant’s head. Diminutive white twinflowers bloom near the conifers at the edge of the meadow. Stalks of pink and white Pyrola flowers rise above their ground-hugging leaves, which have been green since April. Mountain bluebells form clusters of indigo among the green hues of the grasses and sedges. Broad white blossoms of cow parsnip create a canopy above the other herbaceous plants. Aptly named shooting stars resemble tiny bursts of yellow and white trailing spiraling pink petals as they lean over the ground. The songbirds are less vocal than in June now that they are busy tending to nestlings weak at flying, but I can still hear the notes of chickadees, sparrows, and warblers, underlain by the distant croaks of ravens. Hummingbirds continue their mating displays, diving toward the ground as though intent on suicide, only to pull up at the last moment. The red blazes on their throats flash like fragments of momentary flame amidst the thick greenery. Mosquitoes are more noticeable now, despite the damselflies and dragonflies busily hunting back and forth across the openings among the willows. Beds of matted grass lie dispersed across the meadow.

Keywords:   beaver physiology, biodiversity, carbon, dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), elk (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces)

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