Effective ecological monitoring is a critical component of managing ecosystems in a way that balances the needs of people and wildlife. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy – Wyoming (TNC) and the Water for Wildlife Foundation, UHPSI research assistant Alex Wells is developing a monitoring plan that will evaluate both beaver wellbeing and the impacts of this charismatic keystone species on downstream water rights at TNC’s Tensleep Preserve. Not only will this involve creating monitoring protocols for TNC citizen scientists and staff to survey beaver colonies and quantify their impacts on streamflow, it will also entail creating a tool that will use remote sensing imagery to periodically map the dynamic area of water impounded by beavers. These data will inform the implementation of Tensleep Preserve’s Beaver Dam Management Plan such that beavers and people can both thrive. While the monitoring plan is being developed with the Tensleep Preserve in mind, the team hopes that the monitoring protocol can be useful across the west for land managers seeking to support adaptive management of beaver populations and effective communication with their human neighbors.
Alex Wells, Research Assistant | Alex is a Masters of Environmental Management candidate at Yale School of the Environment, specializing in ecosystem management and conservation. Having grown up in the Roaring Fork Valley of western Colorado, his passions and priorities are centered on the Mountain West and how its ecological systems can be adapted to the climate crisis in a way that helps both ecosystems and people. Alex holds a B.A. in Conservation Biology from Middlebury College and spent the four years prior to Yale coordinating wildlife-focused citizen science projects in Vermont and Colorado. In his freetime, Alex enjoys playing guitar and running up, down, and around mountains. See what Alex has been up to. | Blog