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  • Who can turn a desert into a garden?

  • oh my god look at this

  • its gorgeous

  • when you need to save crops and cattle from the deepest drought

  • who you gonna call?

  • call a beaver

  • controlling water is what beavers have been doing for thousands of years

  • No one does it better

  • every beaver family is dedicated to the job

  • excavating, logging

  • building channels and dams

  • They build whole landscapes for hundreds of other creatures

  • In 2002, we had the worst drought on record

  • The only places where we had water was where we had beaver

  • So after we nearly eliminated them,

  • Some very interesting people are working to bring them back

  • I am a hairdresser, honey. I like HBO I want a toilet that flushes

  • But for some reason when there's wild life involved, especially beaver, I'm kind of fearless

  • Now I'm a hairdress, and a live beaver trapper

  • Hi! Who's this sweet little

  • Come here sweetie, come here sweetie

  • With the other animals that I've rehabbed, you want to limit your contact

  • but for the beaver because they're so family-oriented they need to feel nurtured

  • We brought you some new family members

  • I'm delighted I'm not sure how many there are

  • hopefully they'll be babies. Yeah yeah this is good

  • wonderful

  • North America's fertile landscape is the work of one animal more than any other

  • but building a garden of Eden isn't easy

  • you must fell hundreds of trees to dam a river

  • then build a castle with a moat filled by a flood that spreads over several acres

  • yet beavers don't look like the kind of animal that can change the world

  • somewhat blind and slow they seem like simple folk

  • but this overgrown rodent is an extraordinary engineer

  • the landscapes of Europe, Asia and North America

  • were once dominated by millions of these hard-working builders

  • beavers are vegetarians

  • they gnaw through bark to eat the sugary layer underneath

  • which makes them orange

  • they grow continuously and even self sharpen

  • the pond makes it easier to move around the heavy logs they need to build their dams

  • out of the water, it's a struggle

  • stones help way down the base

  • the whole family works together, carefully interlocking the timber

  • they dredge mud from the pond bottom to seal the damn

  • each pond trap several inches of sediment every year, so there's plenty of it

  • the young act as apprentice builders learning the tricks of the trade

  • the final results are impressive

  • in the Rocky Mountains beaver dams slowly filter billions of tons of water

  • the ponds build up soil and nutrients and help prevent floods and droughts

  • but hundreds of years ago, beavers were most valued for something else

  • when Europeans arrived in North America

  • they found beavers dominating the landscape, from Mexico to the Arctic

  • they were said to be industrious enough to hold the Niagara Falls

  • but their fur made fantastic felt hats

  • for 200 years they were trapped near extinction

  • then fashions changed and we lost interest

  • only a few beavers survived

  • now they are recovery, but they're finding a changed world full of houses and farms

  • as beavers reclaim their ancestral ponds they flood hundreds of human homes

  • anywhere with a rich soil was probably once a beaver pond now housing

  • developments golf courses and farms find that beavers are just a problem though

  • half the soil maybe thanks to beavers farmers prefer the land under their control

  • but beavers don't give up

  • in Canada clearing dams from culverts under Rhodes is the job of highway

  • maintenance

  • that's thousands of cubic meters of water that we have to get rid of if we

  • can't get rid of it here where it's supposed to go

  • it's going to end up on the infrastructure it's going to end up in

  • the ditches it's going to end up backing up into basements it's you know it's

  • gonna end up everywhere

  • they are excellent hydro engineers and they will figure out ways to work around

  • just what everything we all know the water doesn't always go where we want it

  • to the beaver has a very amazing way of getting getting it to work for

  • we don't always know that if we could learn more about their practices and how

  • to get that to work i did it would be great if you could train them to put it

  • where you need it

  • that would be ideal if if you could simply put up a little arrow sign or a

  • water this way it would

  • yeah but you'd be smiling but unfortunately they don't read very well

  • and they just kind of do what they want to do

  • there is one place where the beavers do seem to be reading the signs and doing

  • more or less as instructed

  • in gatineau park near ottawa the local beavers follow the directions of

  • self-styled Bieber whisperer

  • Michelle eclair fit in the hours even better

  • but you still have ear all around so 30 years ago

  • leclair was hired to stop beavers from the flooding roads around the 140 square

  • miles of Gatineau Park the only solution then was to kill the animals and destroy

  • their dams

  • some people call them equal zero some people go them

  • pest so dependable

  • it's all about how much program you have to do with them and when you have work

  • program with them and you don't know how to resolve them they are not be very row

  • that's for sure

  • they passed the major problem is is flooding rules

  • the beaver dam accumulates water and if the water pressure is too big

  • the beaver dam just bust and then there's a big out through water that

  • cuts rose in half

  • what happens is that the road just gets cut off complete

  • gatineau park has hundreds of miles of roads threatened in many places by

  • beavers damming up culverts my starting eight hours a day and breaking them and

  • the first day I came here

  • 82 time well equipped teams dismantled dams by day but the Beavers rebuilt them

  • every night

  • what the hell's the problem

  • what they do and what they did it and you're going to fight against them

  • you want to be a war and i'm sure i'm not sure if you're going to win that

  • sure mclaren his colleagues trapped a thousand bieber's a year in the wildlife

  • park and beavers were the only ones caught

  • great blue herons turtles hotter

  • you never know what you're going to get in your trap so I didn't like it very

  • much

  • it was horrible leclair wanted to find another way and thought that beaver

  • behavior might offer a solution

  • first thing is a song of water running

  • he places a recording of a running stream on top of the beaver dam

  • so now you're going to see what the beaver reactions and the beavers gonna

  • dance or it over the night

  • a small tree takes a few minutes

  • it's perhaps an hour for bigger trees and branches

  • and half the night for a 12 inch thick trunk

  • aspen poplar and Willow are usually the favorites

  • Bieber's have been crushed by falling trees but that doesn't happen often

  • over the course of the year they may clear several acres of trees most

  • rodents have a high work rate but beavers are probably the busiest they

  • have a reputation to keep up

  • the dams owners have buried the stereo with branches and mud that they made

  • that sounds very exciting for them

  • that's exactly the same here that's all it's time to work

  • running water is to a beaver like the sound of the plug being pulled draining

  • their pond

  • leclair thought he could use this knowledge to stop beavers from gamming

  • inside culverts and flooding nearby rose

  • he spoke to a supervisor Shelby am

  • the technique was a bit odd but it made sense to us so let's try to go ahead and

  • do it because we can't travel constantly in the park we have to do something else

  • so that's what we did

  • McLaren's idea was to shift the sound of the running water

  • he puts in posts 15 feet away from the culvert the Beavers obliged by building

  • their damn in the new location

  • not under the road

  • he also lays down sections of pipe and the Beavers incorporate them into the

  • damn i going to open that pipe over there to the water water when the water

  • gets a little high

  • Michel simply pulls the plug for a short time and lowers the level in the pond

  • ok

  • you have to be a plumber yeah I'm a plumber of the beaver dam i put drink

  • like you do I can house to the garage door water running

  • if its work here is gonna work all over the place so we are just at the turning

  • point where we have to spread that knowledge and the bigger they are p cost

  • last less work and everybody's happy that way

  • in the Rocky Mountains the benefits of a Beaver's pond are seen most easily in

  • spring millions of acres of wetlands provide safety and food for many birds

  • and mammals a thousand years ago almost every creak would have had chains of

  • dams down each valley

  • for many animals they are still essential

  • moose make special trips to beaver ponds to eat the water weed

  • it's full of nutrients like sodium and potassium that are often scarce in the

  • surrounding forest

  • for the Beavers the pond helps to keep out bears and wolves

  • one of the parents tail slaps to sound the alarm

  • the beaver family provides protection for all the residents like a kindly

  • landlord and the deeper the pond

  • the safer they are

  • and