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April 05, 2020 - Literary Hub

What the Beaver Can Teach Us About Innovative Conservation

What the Beaver Can Teach Us About Innovative Conservation
BeaverFile Photo / © Photabulous

Engineering that views nature as a model, not an obstacle. That which is destructive acts as a disturbance mechanism, churning the landscape and creating new opportunity.

The whole of nature—which is to say, all of the world—is like the beaver’s patchwork quilt: dynamic, changing, chaotic. Beaver dam analogs and their champions often find themselves in uneasy coexistence with regulatory agencies responsible for keeping rivers manageable and controlled. The very purpose of a BDA is to add a bit less control—a bit of untidiness—to the river. The dams help the river burst its banks, begin to meander, and reenter the old floodplains. But then, it’s often a flood-control agency rubber-stamping such projects, and these agencies are inherently skeptical of introducing an object meant to bring about the very thing—a flood—they have been tasked with preventing.

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