Key Concepts in Riparian Restoration

Whether you’re learning about restoring streams and rivers for the first time, or you’re a life-long beaver believer, this list of resources will provide additional information on both how and why ONDA focuses on restoring beaver habitat in our riparian restoration programs.

Background and introductory resources

Historical background on the extirpation of beaver from the Pacific Northwest:
“Ruining” the Rivers in Snake Country
Ott 2003

A potpourri of concepts, beaver habitat does not persist without beaver, water storage volumes numbers:
Chapter 7. Euro-American Beaver Trapping and Its Long-Term Impact on Drainage Network Form and Function, Water Abundance, Delivery, and System Stability
Fouty 2018

Guidebook created as a result of the work at Bridge Creek:
The Beaver Restoration Guidebook version 2.01
Pollock et al. 2018

Beaver habitat as fire-breaks and refugia:
“Smokey The Beaver”
USFS webinar by Emily Fairfax

How and why ONDA restores beaver habitat:
“How to Build a Beaver Dam”
ONDA webinar presented by Jefferson Jacobs

How ONDA plans and implements planting:
“Planting the Seed for Beaver Success”
Poster for River Restoration Northwest 2024 by Jefferson Jacobs


Western Rattlesnake

Western Rattlesnake

Also known as the Great Basin Rattlesnake, these pit vipers have buff-tan coloring and small, oval blotches to blend into their arid surroundings. Small heat-sensing indentations on each side of the snake’s snout detects warm-blooded prey for better striking accuracy in the dark. Source: The Oregon Encyclopedia

Latin name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus


Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”


Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Beavers - So what?

When the High Desert Museum installed a new exhibit dedicated to beaver in 2021, ONDA's Riparian Restoration Coordinator Jefferson Jacobs helped out with the design.

In this talk, he delivers fact after beaver fact, always diving deeper to discover the "so what?" behind these facts. You will learn a ton about beavers and their important role in the desert ecosystem. This presentation starts with interviews of four artists commissioned to create public artworks in conjunction with the museum exhibit; JJ's talk starts at 15:00 minutes in.

Watch and Learn
More technical research resources

Conceptual model laying out varying degrees to which biology (i.e. vegetation), hydrology and geology help shape streams:
Stream Evolution Triangle
Castro and Thorne 2018

“Process Based Restoration”, explaining the shift away from static man-made constructions:
Process-based Principles for Restoring River Ecosystems
Beechie et al. 2010

“Stage Zero” original paper, a sinuous, single-channel stream is often not enough:
A stream evolution model integrating habitat and ecosystem benefits
Cluer and Thorne 2014

Recovery of a mature riparian plant community can more than offset global warming impacts to stream temperatures in eastern Oregon:
Can stream and riparian restoration offset climate change impacts to salmon populations?
Justice et al. 2016

Summary of the landmark work triggering beaver-based recovery with beaver dam analogs at Bridge Creek, eastern Oregon:
Ecosystem experiment reveals benefits of natural and simulated beaver dams to a threatened population of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Bouwes et al. 2016

Beaver meadows sequester 35X more carbon than non-beaver meadows:
Landscape‐scale carbon storage associated with beaver dams
Wohl 213

Useful in understanding why incised, and otherwise degraded streams are so severely damaged from a morphological viewpoint:
The Four-Dimensional Nature of Lotic Ecosystems
Ward 1989

Data on the impacts of beaver loss on riparian systems OR “beaver-based restoration in reverse”:
Changes in riparian area structure, channel hydraulics, and sediment yield following loss of beaver dams
Green and Westbrook 2009