Through dam-building activity, beavers have the ability to radically modify their environment. Landowners and managers have long recognized the positive benefits of beavers in riverine ecosystems, including flood attenuation, wetland habitat creation and water quality improvement. Of particular importance in Wyoming is the benefit of storing water on an arid landscape. Wyoming Game and Fish Department has used beavers as a tool for riverine ecosystem restoration since the early part of the 20th century. Department biologists live trap beavers on private lands where they causing damage and translocate them to streams in need of restoration. In the last five years, the Department’s Cody Region has translocated over 70 beavers to 15 locations, resulting in over 60 dams.
Jerry Altermatt has been a terrestrial habitat biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Cody Region for over 30 years. He received a BS in Biology at Dickinson State University and continued his graduate studies at the University of Montana. His work in the Cody Region has focused on implementing habitat enhancement projects for the benefit of big game, upland birds and waterfowl.
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