Webinar: Cheap and Cheerful Stream and Riparian Restoration | Beaver Dam Analogues As Low-Cost Tool


Photo: Beaver Dam Analogue on Birch Creek, Idaho; upstream view (left) and cross section (middle). Drone image (right) showing expansion of riparian vegetation in green after BDA installation.

When: March 22, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Host: USDA NRCS Science and Technology


  • Joe Wheaton, Ph.D., Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT
  • Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR

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Description: Participants will learn how beaver-assisted restoration techniques can be applied as a low cost alternative for restoring riparian areas.

Stream and riparian area degradation is widespread across the Intermountain West, yet restoration resources are limited. Relatively simple and low-cost alternatives are needed to scale up to the scope of the problem.

A renewed appreciation of the role of the once widespread beaver has revealed insights about how this ecosystem engineer affects stream hydrology, geomorphology, riparian vegetation and habitat for other species with its dam building activities. Drawing upon lessons learned about how nature heals degraded systems, conservationists are increasingly seeking ways to recreate beneficial effects associated with beaver dam-building activities where appropriate to achieve a variety of stream and riparian recovery goals.

Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) are one low cost, ‘cheap and cheerful’ technique used in beaver-assisted restoration to mimic natural beaver dams, promote beaver to work in particular areas, and accelerate recovery of incised channels. This webinar will provide a brief overview of beaver ecology and hydrogeomorphic feedbacks, beaver-assisted restoration, BDA design and application, and NRCS planning considerations and resources.

Read more about cheap and cheerful restoration


The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.