March 2021 - 37

Beavers not only eat willow and parts of trees, they use them to construct their dams and lodges. (Photo by Dawn Wilson)

and put it in the trailer. They'll fight, and probably
to the death. "
That limits Game and Fish personnel to trap in one
area, put beavers in their trailers and then release them
before going to another area. " I can't trap anywhere else
because I have no place to put them, " Altermatt said.
He said a permanent facility big enough to hold
beavers from different families would improve beaver
relocation efficiency. It also would allow the possibility to create a pair of male and female beavers from
different colonies prior to relocation.
" A permanent facility allows to trap multiple
families at a time, and allows you to release more
pairs. If you can't catch a pair, you can create a pair, "
Altermatt said.
Other states have used similar facilities. Washington has used an old fish hatchery for more than a
decade to temporarily house trapped beavers before
relocation. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife started a pilot program last year to keep trapped
beavers at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.
Altermatt has been tasked to help draft protocol
for beaver trapping and relocation for Game and Fish,
with detailed information on trapping and holding
methods, suitable habitat and proper procedures if
transmitters are attached to beavers.
Beaver trapping and relocation will continue to be
an important part of Game and Fish's work, although
there are challenges. It may always be a juggling act
for Game and Fish in terms of time, execution and
finding suitable habitat. But habitat, and the chance
to improve it, remains the key.
" From a habitat perspective, that's about the most
important thing we can do with far-reaching benefits
to numerous wildlife, " Cundy said.

Game and Fish employees build a beaver dam analog, which simulates the function of a beaver dam.
These structures help to store water and can make the area more appealing to beavers and other wildlife.
(WGFD photo)

Beaver dam analogs
Beaver dams, when in the right place, provide a habitat boost for wildlife and riparian
areas. However, beavers aren't the only ones
who can do this.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department habitat
biologists often build beaver dam analogs,
which are structures that raise stream-side
water tables, promote greater riparian vegetation development and entice dam-building
by beavers.
" Analogs are intended to make the area
more attractive for beavers and increase riparian, woody vegetation such as willow, " said
Travis Cundy, Game and Fish aquatic habitat
biologist in Sheridan. " Our hope is to detain
water on the land longer and get more riparian
habitat acreage in the long run. "
Biologists build analogs by installing a line of
posts with a woven lattice of willow branches
between. This creates a semi-permeable barrier that is sealed in some areas with sod and
mud. They are intended to slow - but not stop

- water movement in small streams, which
over time creates conditions that will hopefully
attract beavers to naturally populate the area.
In some cases, biologists transplant beavers at analog sites. Experience has shown
to keep beavers in these areas, it is best to
have a mated pair or several members of a
beaver colony.
Cundy said ideal sites for beaver analogs
are found along high headwaters of streams
on public land, and streams that have been
depleted and in need of a boost.
In the summer of 2019, Game and Fish
personnel in the Sheridan region teamed
with the U.S. Forest Service to construct 10
beaver dam analogs along Grommund and
Sourdough creeks west of Buffalo. Game and
Fish recently used beaver dam analogs for
the Bolton Creek Riparian Restoration Project
in the Casper region, which helped minimize
sediment dumping into the North Platte River.
- Robert Gagliardi, WGFD

- Robert Gagliardi is the associate editor of Wyoming Wildlife.


Wyoming Wildlife | 37


March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021

From the Director
In this issue
A couple pennies
Opening shot
Ask Game and Fish
Project profiles
Case files
In the field
Tracking the rarest carnivores
Seeking the slam
A family matter
Getting kids outside
Wild country dispatch
March 2021 - Cover
March 2021 - From the Director
March 2021 - In this issue
March 2021 - A couple pennies
March 2021 - Mailbag
March 2021 - Opening shot
March 2021 - 7
March 2021 - News
March 2021 - 9
March 2021 - 10
March 2021 - 11
March 2021 - Ask Game and Fish
March 2021 - Project profiles
March 2021 - Case files
March 2021 - 15
March 2021 - In the field
March 2021 - 17
March 2021 - Tracking the rarest carnivores
March 2021 - 19
March 2021 - 20
March 2021 - 21
March 2021 - 22
March 2021 - 23
March 2021 - 24
March 2021 - 25
March 2021 - Seeking the slam
March 2021 - 27
March 2021 - 28
March 2021 - 29
March 2021 - 30
March 2021 - 31
March 2021 - A family matter
March 2021 - 33
March 2021 - 34
March 2021 - 35
March 2021 - 36
March 2021 - 37
March 2021 - Getting kids outside
March 2021 - 39
March 2021 - 40
March 2021 - 41
March 2021 - 42
March 2021 - 43
March 2021 - 44
March 2021 - 45
March 2021 - Wild country dispatch
March 2021 - 47
March 2021 - Backpage