Wednesday, May 5, 2021: Micro and Macro Beaver Projects

Today feels like a good day to talk about the two parallel projects we have going on. The first project is, of course, our desire to make sure that our Glenview beavers will not be trapped and killed on Village of Glenview property, especially if they decide to leave their current habitat (which, we believe, is also owned by the Village) and jump into Lake Glenview. To that end, we made our first public comments at a Glenview Village trustees meeting last night and are continuing to brainstorm ways of reaching out to the Village. We would like the Village to develop a beaver management policy that reflects forward-thinking, scientifically proven best practices in beaver remediation such as the use of flow devices to prevent flooding and the practice of wrapping trees to prevent tree damage.

Our second project is much more "macro" in nature, and it involves a lot of outreach to our state legislators and to the public to share how amazing beavers are ecologically and how we can harness their power to all of our benefit. Beavers are a keystone species and their habitats allow other animals, fish, birds, and amphibians to flourish. More wetlands in the State of Illinois--which beavers actually can engineer--would help prevent flooding; improve water quality; raise the levels of our water tables; grow the population of birds, amphibians, fish, and other mammals; provide eco-tourism opportunities; prevent further contamination of our rivers; *and* offer profitable opportunities for nutrient farming, which involves designing, building, and restoring wetlands for the purpose of managing nutrients, trapping sediments, and storing flood waters. Because wetlands absorb and sequester carbon from the atmosphere through plant photosynthesis, they keep the carbon from warming the climate and help remediate climate change.

There are a lot of moving pieces on this one. We have to reach out to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois EPA, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, county and municipal governments, etc. We have to convince farmers to abandon centuries of lethal beaver control in favor of something new. We have to find ways of financing small projects that will prove that "low-tech process based stream restoration" (i.e., forget all of those expensive, man made stream restoration projects; let's find some suitable streams to relocate beavers and let them do the work of developing wetlands--it will be cheaper and more effective) will work in the State of Illinois.

In the meantime, try to find the time to enjoy nature and to get out to the ponds to visit the beavers!

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