Beavers: natural water engineers at REFRESH research location

GrooteMolenbeek BeaversThe beaver population is steadily increasing in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands. Since the introduction of 33 beavers in 2002, the population has increased to approximately 200 individuals. Recently, signs of beaver activity have been encountered at the REFRESH research location at the Groote Molenbeek. During last summer’s field work for REFRESH, the Dutch team found several logged Salix trees (picture left). Surprisingly, these trees were located in the proximity of the dam construction of the flooding experiment. During the following months no beaver dams were encountered close to the experimental section. 

On January 3rd 2013 the Dutch National news program NOS showed a news item concerning the increasing beaver population in Northern Limburg. The beaver dams discussed here are located approximately five kilometers downstream of our research sections. At this location, the Groote Molenbeek flows next to a major road (A73). The beaver dams even form a threat to the stability of this road. Currently, managing this natural water engineer’s population is daily business in Northern Limburg. Dutch governmental costs for managing the beaver population: 400 tons per year.

The video can be viewed (in Dutch) at: