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The ecological benefits of woody debris and beaver habitat will be the topic of discussion this Thursday, Nov. 7, at the MidCoast Watersheds Council Community Meeting in Newport.

NOAA Research Fisheries Biologist Dr. Chris Jordan will talk about how the presence of large wood debris and beaver restoration can improve streams and create resilient watersheds.

Historically, beaver dams and large woody debris were ubiquitous throughout North American rivers, with beavers often building their dams on large logs that would be stable even through winter storms. Their dams exerted a major influence on streams by elevating water tables, capturing sediments and evening out river flow. Salmon evolved under these conditions, with both the wood and beaver dams creating ideal fish spawning and rearing habitat.

Across North America, rivers have been simplified and degraded by the systematic and widespread removal of beaver and large woody debris. Many streams are now no more than deep channels that don’t spread out floodwaters or create good salmon habitat. Consequently, one of the MidCoast Watersheds Council’s major goals is to restore the natural processes that large wood and beavers used to create.

Jordan will emphasize two types of efficient low-tech structures that are being installed in streams to achieve restoration goals. The goal of both structures is to achieve dynamic, self-sustaining and resilient habitat conditions.

Trained as a mathematical biologist, Jordan has worked on a wide range of biological topics, with recent work including the design and implementation of large-scale monitoring programs to assess anadromous salmonid freshwater habitat and population status.

The presentation will begin at 6:30 pm in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided.

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