Montana Wildlife Project
From Beavers to Bats: Assessing the Importance of Beaver and Beaver-based Restoration to Riparian Communities in Prairie Systems
February 2022 - December 2027
We plan to use standardized sampling methods (e.g., night-time sticky traps and acoustic monitoring) to estimate (1) insect production, (2) bat foraging activity, and (3) species richness of bats at beaver sites, BDA sites, other available water bodies (human-made ponds/reservoirs/wetlands), as well as corresponding control stream sites. There has been very little work done on the ecosystem effects of beaver in Northern Plains systems, and even less on their potential benefits to non-aquatic species. Because bats in our region forage on flying invertebrates, they are closely associated with water. Water is scarce in the Northern Plains. To help land managers make effective resource decisions and to better understand the role of beaver in prairie systems, we plan to measure the role of natural and artificial beaver ponds (e.g., beaver dam analogs) in insect product and local bat activity.