View Full Version : Stocking beaver in GSMNP?
10-03-2009, 04:35 PM
While I've seen discussion on the otters being 're-introduced' into the park, I'm curious why stocking some beaver didn't actually precede them?
Most of the otter that I've seen/watched in the wild were in or near beaver ponds.
Additionally, with streams of minimal size and erratic flow, beaver ponds represent the best option to grow bigger fish-WITH more protection for all.
Naturally some flows and gradients will take-out beaver ponds-or they can't even get built- but overal it'd seem both consistent with stated park policy AND good for the fishery. Beaver can even help keep stream banks from being choked off by trash brush.
And beaver don't eat trout:-). Ghost
10-12-2009, 08:09 PM
I think beavers have been living in the Park for a long time. I remember seeing a beaver pond near Abrams Creek back in the early 90's. During the drought of 2007 and 2008 a big dam was built by them on Little River at the April Pool. We watched as it was under construction. Most people knew it was just a matter of time before it blew out. They live here in the valley along with the otters. I've seen both in the creek behind our house. Laurel Lake near our house is infested with beavers. They built a huge dam that blew out this year. I guess high gradient streams are not suitable habitat for those critters. But they live here, try to make a living and get by.
10-12-2009, 09:17 PM
But they live here, try to make a living and get by.
That goes for a lot of us....
10-13-2009, 08:17 AM
Now that's funny!... I don't care what species you are.:biggrin:
10-13-2009, 02:30 PM
If the beavers were able to maintain permanent dams on the rivers, it would be detrimental to the health of the streams. The high gradient of our streams and good flows is what keeps the streams cool and oxygenated. If there were stagnant pools, the water temperatures would spike higher in the summer than they already do...beaver ponds further north make for good trout habitat but most of the lower elevations of the Smokies just get too warm as it is...
Seem to remember some beavers and dams on upper reaches of Bone Valley Creek. It does flatten there before the cabin. Did make a big wetland; do not remember catching a fish there or seeing a beaver. Skip
06-08-2010, 10:26 PM
There are beaver ponds further south than the Smokies, at high elevations, which hold trout. I have begun seeing beaver in a few remote areas which have not been there in the past. I am looking forward to them building me some new areas to fish. Like many species in the post-fur age, they are re-establishing their range. We now enjoy some of the oldest-growth forests that anyone has seen in decades if not longer.
I don't think beavers are a bad thing at all. They need controls (predators), of course. But trout and beavers co-existed happily for a very long time before we came and will do so again. Their dams leak, so water warming is not really an issue, provided they build in an area with enough canopy.
06-09-2010, 07:45 AM
Ghost--Two points: (1) There are beavers at many places throughout the Park--Abrams Creek, Deep Creek, Indian Creek (big pond there which occasionally gets blown out), Luftee near mouth of Collins Creek, Bone Valley Creek near Hall cabin, etc.. (2) I don't fully share your view about beaver being good for trout in this part of the world. Where they build dams and slow the water that means warmer water, lower oxygenation, reduced or removed canopy, and other negatives. It isn't the same situation as beaver ponds in more northerly climates.
06-09-2010, 03:46 PM
Over the years, I recall seeing articles that dealt with fishing beaver ponds for trout. These were in the western states. Maybe a difference in water temps?
06-09-2010, 04:27 PM
Yes, water temperatures are cooler in beaver ponds out west, generally because of the high elevation. Many of my favorite beaver ponds "out west" are at or above 9000' and are generally in sections of streams that are not too high gradient. The night time temperatures routinely fall into the 30s and 40s out there at night throughout the summer due to lower humidity, so the streams stay nice and cool. Recent attempts at dam building by beavers in the Smokies always fail eventually. They just aren't built to withstand the stress of extremely high water that we experience every year at some point or another.
Beaver ponds in Southeastern trout streams are usually detrimental to trout. They warm the water often to excessive levels and cause silt to build up in the streams which hurts spawning habitat. I know of one stream where they have caused considerable decreases in trout populations and another where the trout seem to be gone completely. The latter stream had multiple ponds and a very large population of beavers.
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