Updates on the tenuous plight of the beavers on Pebble Creek
For some historical background, click here

Homepage for Beavers on Pebble Creek is HERE

30 April 2018
  • The ponds are thawing with clear water near the dams, but not a single sign of beaver life.
    11 November 2017
  • The ponds are frozen, with utterly no beaver sign, confirming reports from last June. Something happened between March (when there were abundant signs) and June...
    18 October 2017
  • Most ponds immediately above Wyler Pond look pretty good, as do three lodges, but there are no signs at all of recent activity. It looks like there are no beavers left in the Pebble Creek Valley.
    25 June 2017
  • While some of the beaver ponds just above Wyler Resevoir are full, and three lodges are in good repair, there are NO signs of recent beaver activity. Time will tell, but they may be extirpated from the Pebble Creek Valley.

    31 March 2017
  • We snowshoed down to the ponds. All were still frozen, but open water was visible at inlets and outlets. Plenty of signs of beavers coming out on top of the snow to gather willow, but only at the pond with the biggest lodge (the lowest of the 4 lodges). No signs at the other ponds.
    2016, 2015, 2014 updates
    19 November 2016 - Pictures HERE.
  • Only the Lower Ponds (just above Wyler Pond, below the ranch meadow) are occupied. The four lodges and numberous dams and ponds located there are very healthy. One lodge (the biggest) has a large cache of winter food. Unfortunately, for the third consecutive year, the beavers have not moved farther upstream. The Upper Ponds are completely empty. As last year, the beavers did move upstream to the 'First Pond' (just below the irrigation ditch), where they repaired the dam and filled the pond, but hey did not occupy the lodge, and later in the spring abandoned the pond, for unknown reasons. It, as well as all ponds higher upstream, are empty.

    17 May 2016
  • The beavers survived the winter and have been busy in the past month. There are now FIVE lodges along the 'lower ponds' (the ponds just above Wyler Pond - three are on FS property, two on private property); there is a photo here showing the lodges; the total number of ponds, counting the small ones, must approach twenty. In addition, the "First Pond" (higher up, just below the irrigation ditch) is nearly full (it was empty last fall), but it doesn't appear that beavers have moved into the lodge there, nor have they recreated the satellite ponds above and below "First Pond." Have they moved farther upstream? Can't tell - too much snow.

    On an evening's walk, we were greeted by two beavers, who swam up to the shore, within ten feet of us. Also, something we had never seen before - the beavers would dive like ducks! Their flat tails would stick straight up out of the water as they chewed on shoots of grasses in the ponds.

    7 September 2015
  • The lower ponds - the ones just above Wyler Pond - are spectacularly full, with plenty of signs of recent activity. There appear to be at least three lodges in the 6-9 ponds. Above these - nothing. Hopefully, next year will see some young'uns moving upstream, where luxuriant, fallow habitat awaits them. The empty ponds up higher have been irrestible to Canada thistle - click here to see the sad result.

    23 August 2015
  • Irrigation of the meadow has stopped, and the Lower Ponds (the ones below the irrigation ditch headgate) are fuller now that they are receiving all of Pebble Creek flow. The First Pond shows no sign of beaver activity. The ponds just above Wyler Pond are in excellent shape. No signs of beaver activity upstream. It looks like we have 6-8 ponds and two lodges on Pebble Creek (about 10-20 percent of historic levels).

    17 August 2015
  • Irrigation of the meadow has stopped, and the Lower Ponds (the ones below the irrigation ditch headgate) are fuller now that they are receiving all of Pebble Creek flow. The First Pond shows no sign of beaver activity. The ponds just above Wyler Pond are in excellent shape. No signs of beaver activity upstream. It looks like we have 6-8 ponds and two lodges on Pebble Creek (about 10-20 percent of historic levels).

    24 July 2015
  • Not much has changed this month. The First Pond remains almost completely empty. Most of the flow in Pebble Creek is being diverted into the irrigation ditch (despite a wet month). No beaver activity upstream. The ponds just above Wyler Pond remain active.

    7 July 2015
  • As earlier, still no sign of any recent beaver activity at the First Pond. Nothing up higher, either. The ponds just above Wyler Pond are active.
  • Irrigation of the meadow has begun, and most of Pebble Creek streamflow is being diverted into the irrigation ditch. The level of water in the beaver ponds is falling significantly. Heavy rains for the past three days have not caused the irrigation ditch to be shut off.

    5 June 2015
  • The First Pond has seen no activity, and the level of water is falling. I think that they have deserted this pond, which is surprising after all the work they did last fall and earlier this spring.
  • The Lower Ponds - just above Wyler Pond - are a totally different story. The ponds are brim-full, and there are 3-4 active lodges.

    24 May 2015
  • Still no sign of any beaver activity above the First Pond.
  • In the evening, I walked from the First Pond to Wyler Pond, and back. I saw 3 beavers in the Columbine Pond (which is at the bottom of the meadow, about 4 ponds above Wyler Pond. No other beavers.
  • Signs of recent activity are evident at the two ponds just above Wyler Pond. Curiously, after a busy spring at the First Pond, there have been no signs in the past 3-4 weeks of activity. The pond, and its satellites above and below, are pretty full, the dams show no signs of recent work. Did they all move back downstream?
    5 May 2015:
  • The First Pond and its lodge are in good shape. In addition, there are 3 satellite ponds above and 3 below, all in good shape.
  • The ponds below the meadow also look good (although it's difficult to tell, early in the season, if the ponds are full because the dams have been repaired or if the high runoff fills an otherwise abandoned pond.
  • The pond just above Wyler Pond, which was nearly empty 2 weeks ago, is now almost full.
  • We think that we may have identified another lodge, just above where ranch property line crosses the creek. If so, that's three lodges on Pebble Creek.
  • A hike below Wyler Pond (all the way to the waterfall) revealed no sign of beaver activity.

    23 April 2015
    Progress continues at the first pond, and there are clear signs of activity back down near Wyler Pond. Above the first pond, the creek is still covered in deep snow in most places, and there are no signs of beavers moving upstream.
    1. The satellite ponds above and below the First Pond have seen lots of activity. Notice the near-complete lack of willows on the dams. Last summer they bristled with them.

    2. Down near Wyler Pond, signs of freshly chewed willow branches lying in the water

    3. The breach cut by the trappers last fall had not been repaired on April 10. Now (April 23), it is fully repaired (compare with pictures below)

    4. The next pond down also had a trapper-dug breach, which is now repaired. Curiously,...

    5. ...the pond is nearly empty! A hole in the dam allowed the water to run out. You can see where repairs on the hold have begun (the sticks and grass on the dam at water's edge). Sometimes, beavers deliberately drain their ponds, and this may be an example of that.

    10 April 2015: With the very early melt-off, we were able to walk to the First Pond today. We found abundant signs of beaver activity. The dam was in good shape, and the willows that grew profusely from it last year were gone - chewed off and the wood incorporated into dams, especially two small ponds just below. Fresh tall (~3') aspen stumps suggested either giant beavers or some recent cutting when the snow was deeper.

    We even were able to walk down along the creek to the ponds below the meadow, where we saw absolutely NO SIGN of recent beaver activity. At the ponds just above Wyler Pond, the breaches cut by the trappers last November (arrows) were not repaired.

    So, in summary, it appears that the only pond housing beavers this winter on Pebble Creek was the First Pond. Naturally, we hope that they will be spreading upstream this spring and summer.

    UPDATES FROM NOVEMBER 2014: The trapper was here October 25 and set at least two traps on the shore of the small pond immediately above Wyler Lake. A day or so later the traps were moved to two ponds above, and set in breaches cut into the dams.

    November 8: There has been no discernable beaver activity recently in the ponds just above Wyler Lake. The two ponds where the trapper removed part of the dams are still low, the breaches unrepaired. There seems to be no larder of food laid in, and while the large lodge looks impressive, there are no recent signs of activity anywhere in the vicinity. Thus, it appears that no beavers are resident or active in those ponds just above Wyler Lake.

    The same holds all along the "lower ponds" at the bottom of the meadow - no discernable evidence of active lodges or recent activity.

    Upstream, the pond below the irrigation ditch ("First Pond") is an altogether different story. There has been much recent cutting of aspen trees, the dam is in great shape, a large pile of winter food (larder) decorates the pond, and the lodge shows clear signs of recent attention. On November 1 (early evening) I saw three beavers (simultaneously) swimming in the pond (lots of tail slapping and curious swim-bys for about a half hour).

    There are no signs of current beaver habitation farther upstream ("upper ponds").

    In summary, it looks like only one pond on Pebble Creek is inhabited by an active beaver family.

    Most beaver ponds on Pebble Creek have been located in two groups, one at the bottom of the meadow ("lower ponds") and one higher up ("upper ponds" - where the first views of the high Gore peaks appear from the trail), as shown in the image below. Other locations (less consistent) of beaver ponds over the past four decades are marked with blue asterisks.

    Below are two time lapse views of the upper and lower ponds (2 images each, one in 2005 when the ponds were occupied, and one in 2011, after the beavers had disappeared). Yellow check marks show Wyler Lake and active beaver ponds.

    Today, the lower ponds have partly recovered (and look more like they did in 2005 than in 2011), while the upper ponds have not (still resemble 2011).
    Lower ponds
    The white line shows the approximate boundary between private and public land.

    Upper ponds