Jones, Holly P.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Biological Sciences
Freshwater streams provide vital ecosystem services, but their ecological function is gravely impacted by agricultural practices especially in grassland ecosystems. Though there is evidence that the re-introduction of beavers can help restore the ecological function of streams, little is known about their restorative impacts in grasslands. At Nachusa Grasslands Preserve in Franklin Grove, IL, we investigated the presence and impact of beaver dams on their waterways. With increasing beaver dam volume, we found an increase in sediment retention and less sediment retention with increasing beaver dams upstream from a dam. Though we did not find evidence that beaver dam volume or beaver dams upstream impacted stream flow (measured as discharge), nutrient retention (measured as volatile sedimentation), or stream naturalization (measured as channel slope), we believe other variables surrounding the beaver dam including beaver dam shape and human/wildlife conflict may contribute to these factors. Additional research is needed to better understand grassland beaver impacts and their potential for restoring agriculturally degraded streams.
Sikora, Jessica L., "Exploring beaver-facilitated restoration in grassland channelized streams" (2023). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 7189.
Northern Illinois University
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