This is great news:
Horace Smith blew up a lot of beaver dams in his life.
A rancher here in northeastern Nevada, he waged war against the animals, frequently with dynamite. Not from meanness or cruelty; it was a struggle over water. Mr. Smith blamed beavers for flooding some parts of his property, Cottonwood Ranch, and drying out others.
But his son Agee, who eventually took over the ranch, is making peace. And he says welcoming beavers to work on the land is one of the best things he’s done.
“They’re very controversial still,” said Mr. Smith, whose father died in 2014. “But it’s getting better. People are starting to wake up.”
As global warming intensifies droughts, floods and wildfires, Mr. Smith has become one of a growing number of ranchers, scientists and other “beaver believers” who see the creatures not only as helpers, but as furry weapons of climate resilience.
Last year, when Nevada suffered one of the worst droughts on record, beaver pools kept his cattle with enough water. When rains came strangely hard and fast, the vast network of dams slowed a torrent of water raging down the mountain, protecting his hay crop. And with the beavers’ help, creeks have widened into wetlands that run through the sagebrush desert, cleaning water, birthing new meadows and creating a buffer against wildfires.
I love stories like this because not only do I love everything furry, but because stories like these JUST MAKE FUCKING SENSE TO ME. It makes intuitive sense to me that tens of millions of years of evolution would lead to an animal that is PRETTY FUCKING GOOD at what they do and surviving and thriving in their environment. I love stories like this because it involves one of my favorite things in life, which is not fucking with animals and people and letting them do their thing. I love stories like this because a beaver dam is free and chemical free and doesn’t trash the environment and doesn’t mean ugly as cement canals or rusting pipes all over the place.
And I love stories like this because biodiversity is so important and so easy to achieve, it just means not doing stupid shit and it means you don’t have to inject chemicals and other bullshit into land to achieve a lush environment. I don’t understand it. I have not used fertilizer or any chemicals in my back yard since moving here. I planted a ton of pollinators, some trees, and I just let shit go and the bugs and birds and critters do their thing. They tithe a couple apples and some veg from the garden and occasionally work Thurston into a froth when the rabbits in their warren under the shed act up at night, but other than that, everything takes care of itself. I’ve got enough greenery and shade that I didn’t even need to water the garden this year, and the leaves and droppings from the willow tree makes great mulch and that keeps all the water in.
The only thing I have to do in the backyard (which is now nothing but garden, a small patch of grass that is half clover, and trees) is occasionally check the ph under the pine trees that overhang into my yard and take a trimmer to the willow and the wisteria. Other than that, everything takes care of itself. I have no idea why this is so complicated for so many people. I don’t understand why more farmers don’t plant a row of wildflowers to attract insects and predators to attack the pests on the cash crop. Obviously it is more complicated than what I am saying, but not much.