The largest rodent in the United States lives here along the middle Rio Grande. We can look for their lodges in ponds like in back of Tingley Beach but are more apt to find them cruising around the holes they live in along the riverbanks. These holes are hard to see as the beavers bring in brush to camouflage them. Since we also have nutria and muskrat in the mid Rio Grande watershed, you can identify beavers by looking for their flat tail.

Photo: Elliot Collwell / FlickrCommons

There are literally hundreds of beavers in our watershed. Their dams can become a problem by blocking waterways between ponds and other waterways. Since there are important ecological advantages to having beaver dams/ponds for groundwater recharging, the Open Space Division in Albuquerque has been able to build channels between ponds to keep the water level even. In other areas, restoration groups have built wetlands around areas where beavers have dammed streams and then fenced off cattle grazing.

Right now, winter is coming, and the beavers have chewed down a food supply and stored it near their holes. If it becomes too cold, they can hibernate below the ice and retreat to their underwater passages while still having food handy.