Maxx Mills and other scouts from Denver mimicked how to build beaver dams, whose purposes include creating wetlands, connecting rivers and streams with their floodplains, and increasing water storage. The Dugout Ranch is located in San Juan County, near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
To earn his Eagle Scout badge, Mills and his teammates built a beaver dam analog (BDA) by pounding vertical wooden posts into each side of a streambed and weaving willow branches between the posts across the channel. Then, they packed soil, small rocks and organic materials on the upstream end of the structure to make it less porous and to pool water.
“Through research, scientists are better understanding all the benefits of this restoration activity,” according to a press release from TNC. “For example, BDAs are less expensive than current stream restoration approaches that involve realigning or redesigning stream channels with heavy earth-moving equipment.