The Grand Canyon Trust is working on a new Utah beaver management plan. Acting as the ground troops (air troops in our case) they are looking at 82 streams in the state for suitable beaver habitat. EcoFlight flew a team over southern Utah to look at potential locations for beaver reintroduction. Partnering with EcoFlight allowed Grand Canyon Trust and a team of scientists to do a rapid reconnaissance assessment to determine which streams will be able to support beaver reintroduction. Using GPS tagged photos, we were able to determine which streams had adequate food supplies, construction materials and water levels. Flight allowed us to cover in just a few hours what would have taken weeks to do on foot.
Beavers are an important part of the ecosystem and they play an especially important role in this dry climate where water scarce. Beavers are responsible for the creation of meadows and riparian and aquatic habitat. They can help the area adapt to climate change and water shortage by increasing water storage. Their dams act as water storage above and below ground, consistently releasing water throughout the year in times of drought, and as flood control, slowing down massive flood events.
Photos from our flight will be used to help determine which areas are best suitable for beaver habitat and where to focus reintroduction efforts.