QUANTITATIVELY ANALYZING THE GEOMORPHIC PARAMETERS OF SUITABLE BEAVER HABITAT, ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS, NY
We find that beaver live in reaches with gradients ranging from 0.001-0.025, median grain sizes of 0.05 cm – 0.9 cm, total bank-full shear stress from 0 Pa –143 Pa, and bank-full stream power values from 1.0 W/m – 514 W/m. The values in beaver habitat are compared to those in reaches without beaver, through a two-sample t-test. This test shows significant differences between the two environments. Beaver-reaches have fine sediment, low gradients, low shear stress and low stream power values because beaver dams create ponds with lower stream velocity. This allows fine grained sediment to aggrade, which in turn further decreases gradient and lowers the stream’s total shear stress and stream power.
After beaver have chosen a reach, they further modify the geomorphic properties of that area. By selecting calmer stream reaches, beaver avoid areas with high risks of dam washouts. These calm areas also allow the species to swim from one part of the pond to another when foraging, without facing turbulent water. The information about suitable geomorphic characteristics from Panther Brook can be used to identify areas of possible beaver habitat in the broader Adirondack region.