The Question: What is the role of beaver dams on hydrological processes in montane riparian areas?
Understanding the hydrological processes such as inundation and recharge of alluvial aquifers in riparian areas is key to proper management of rivers and watersheds. For example these processes can influence biodiversity by providing wildlife habitat for a disproportionally large number of wildlife species (i.e. birds, butterflies, small mammals, insects, and amphibians). Biologists have long assumed that beaver (Castor canadensis) may influence hydrologic processes in riparian areas of rivers through the building of dams. Researchers conducted this study in order to test the assumption that beaver dams play an integral role in creating and maintaining healthy montane riparian areas.