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Beaver Dam Analogue -- Myers Creek

Beavers and Restoration

Beaver Dam Analogue 1, Myers Creek Mitigation Site   Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) are wooden structures that both mimic the benefits of beaver dams and encourage beaver activity. Functioning much like beaver dams, BDAs are constructed by placing a channel-spanning line or multiple lines of vertical pilings in the streambed, with live cuttings woven across. In OHA's BDAs, streambank plantings are also woven across the line of pilings. This creates a live dam, increasing stability as the plantings become established. BDAs back up and slow down the water, which raises the water table, helping restore incised channels, and creating the moist soil conditions needed for riparian vegetation to flourish. BDAs can also help build up incised streambeds by facilitating the deposition of sediment. Water that moves slower drops more sediment. This technique provides multiple benefits at a relatively low installation cost, making it a great solution for Myers Creek and other incised streams.
       Above: Beaver Dam Analogue #1, 
        Myers Creek Habitat Restoration Project

Articles about Beaver Dam Analogues:

The Beaver Restoration Guidebook
The Beaver Restoration Guidebook: 

OHA's Myers Creek Mitigation Site restoration project is featured as a case study on page 150.

Helpful Documents Related to Restoration

The purpose of the Stream Habitat Restoration Guidelines (SHRG) is to promote process based natural stream restoration, rehabilitating aquatic and riparian ecosystems. These guidelines advance a watershed scale assessment of the stream system, establishing goals, objectives and design for restoring optimum sustainable native biodiversity, using principles of landscape ecology and integrated aquatic ecosystem restoration.

The Aquatic Habitat Guidelines collection was created by a consortium of public agencies to assist property owners, planners, designers and regulators protect and restore marine, freshwater and riparian fish and wildlife habitat. These guidelines provide “how to” guidance that, while scientific in approach, can be understood and used by volunteers, planners, designers and managers of aquatic restoration projects and facilities. (WA Department of Fish and Wildlife)

An excellent support guide for species selection! This guide "describes the establishment management of woody riparian trees and shrubs for riparian area stabilization and enhancement. It provides species descriptions for several woody riparian species commonly used in the Intermountain West."

This literature review addresses the following issues: design and ecological considerations for new channels, habitat restoration and mitigation, channel relocation and realignment, channel modification for habitat and stability, placement of large woody debris (including removal and relocation), placement of boulders (including smaller rocks and substrate), off-channel ponds (rearing and other), off-channel channels (new floodplains, high flow by-pass), gradient control structures, habitat enhancement activities and structures. 

  • Riparian Area Management: A User Guide to Assessing Proper Functioning Condition and the Supporting Science for Lotic Areas

Proper functioning condition (PFC) is a qualitative method for assessing the condition of riparian-wetland areas. The term PFC is used to describe both the assessment process, and a defined, on the-ground condition of a riparian-wetland area. The PFC assessment refers to a consistent approach for considering hydrology, vegetation, and erosion/deposition (soils) attributes and processes to assess the condition of riparian-wetland areas. A checklist is used for the PFC assessment (Appendix A), which synthesizes information that is foundational to determining the overall health of a riparian-wetland system. 

This document provides information on three sampling methods used to inventory and monitor the vegetation resources in riparian areas. The vegetation cross-section method evaluates the health of vegetation across the valley floor. The greenline method provides a measurement of the streamside vegetation. The woody species regeneration method measures the density and age class structure of any shrub or tree species that may be present in the sampling area. Together these three sampling procedures can provide an evaluation of the health of all the vegetation in a given riparian area.

An EPA guide for the public containing background on wetlands and restoration; information on project planning, implementation, and monitoring; and lists of resources, contacts, and funding sources.

An overview of wetland functions and Ecology's role in protecting, restoring and managing wetlands, with many links to wetland resources on the left sidebar. 

This rating system was designed to differentiate between wetlands in eastern Washington based on their sensitivity to disturbance, their significance, their rarity, our ability to replace them, and the functions they provide. The rating system, however, does not replace a full assessment of wetland functions that may be necessary to plan and monitor a project of compensatory mitigation.

Hruby, T. 2004. Washington State wetland rating system for eastern Washington – Revised. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication # 04-06-15.

This EPA document provides background information on classifying wetlands, selecting criteria variables, designing monitoring programs, building a database analyzing nutrient and algal data, deriving regional criteria, and implementing management practices. The wetlands modules (at the bottom of the website) provide "state-of-the-science" information to help develop biological assessment methods to evaluate both the overall ecological condition of wetlands and nutrient enrichment (one of the primary stressors on many wetlands).

PowerPoint lectures that teach about stream morphology, hydrology, physical factors, organisms, ecosystem processes and more.


Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Programs

  • Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program
  • Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • Grassland Reserve Program
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)

Other Helpful Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Wetlands
What are Wetlands? Why Protect Wetlands? How are Wetlands Protected? What You Can Do to Protect our Vital Resource
The Freshwater Trust (Streambank)
The Freshwater Trust is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that actively works to preserve and restore our freshwater ecosystems

The Volunteer Monitor Project
The National Newsletter of Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring

Partnering with Beaver in Restoration
Beaver Workshops with Joe Wheaton

Mesic Habitats (Sage Grouse Initiative)