About the Author

Who are you and why are you writing this blog?

In short, I’m a graduate student studying the intersection of geology and hydrology in wetland ecosystems. I’m writing this blog because I strongly believe that science is meant to be shared with and understood by both scientists (like my colleagues) and non-scientists (such as my friends, family, and the general public).

This is me standing on a log jam at Rocky Mountain National Park.
This is me standing on a log jam at Rocky Mountain National Park.

This blog is a tool for me to communicate my research findings, experiences and struggles as an aspiring professional scientist, and general thoughts on the current state of wetland science to anyone and everyone willing to listen.

It’s my goal to never use scientific terminology without defining it in plain English first. If I write something that doesn’t make sense or needs to be explained better, please comment on the post asking for clarification. There is no such thing as a dumb question. I learned so much more when I finally got over the fear of “looking stupid” in class or office hours and started asking questions when I was confused.

3 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Hello, my name is Judy Taylor-Atkinson. I live in Port Moody, BC, Canada. Dr. Marvin Rosenau just sent me your blog about beavers. I am very pleased to read that you have devoted some of your study time to beavers because there is very little research on beavers, not to mention the beaver/salmon relationship, in British Columbia. This has led to a real disconnect between the current research, mostly U.S. based, and the actions of both the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans and our provincial wildlife management (who classify beaver as a nuisance species). I am part of a team who advocates for beavers and have been installing flow devices throughout the lower mainland in BC for about a decade. This has been a tough struggle to find agreement for the idea behind co-existence with municipal level governments. We are making headway in our city of Port Moody right now with the proposed implementation of a Beaver Management Plan based on co-existence. This is due to a motion from city council and resulted from an unfortunate incident where a beaver kit was drowned by the city when infrastructure work was being done in 2018. I have had wonderful assistance from U.S. beaver experts and researchers, including Ben Dittbrenner, Joe Wheaton, Nick Bouwes, Dan Logan (NOAA), Heidi Perryman (Martinez Beavers) and most recently, Marvin Roseanau (BCIT). If you don’t mind I would appreciate knowing about where you are doing your undergraduate work? Are you aware there is a State of the Beaver Conference being held in Canyonville, OR, on February 19-21, 2019? Many notable researchers will be attending. Thankyou for your response, Judy


    1. Hi Judy! Thank you so much for your comment.

      The disconnect between researchers and land managers is an ongoing struggle. I am always looking for ways to increase the availability of my work to the people who actually make environmental decisions. It’s good to hear that you are working on a team advocating for beavers – they are such an integral part of the environment.

      I know Heidi and Joe, but have not had the chance to meet any of the other researchers you mentioned. I am planning on attending the State of the Beaver conference next month and am looking forward to speaking with more beaver advocates and scientists!

      With regards to my education, I did my undergraduate work at Carleton College from 2010-2014, and am now finishing my PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder.

      Always happy to chat more if you have additional thoughts or questions! I never get tired of talking about beavers.


  2. Hi Emily
    I somehow missed this until just now. That’s great news that you are going to be at the conference. One of our team members, Adrian Nelson, will be a keynote speaker Wednesday night. I was hoping you lived in western Canada because we don’t have many people who are studying beavers out here (at least compared to the U.S.). The biggest problem we are facing is pushback from D.F.O (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) who have federal jurisdiction over salmon streams. DFO is like the U.S. “N.O.A.A” but with more political interference in how they function. The 2 local representatives from DFO, who are involved in our Beaver Management Plan, have taken the position that dams are an impediment to fish movement, both during the spring salmonid release and the fall spawner return. Both times they have breached the beaver dam here in Suterbrook Creek, even though the spring high-water flow conditions provided NO barrier to the less-than-a-gram size of the salmonids. I had taken a video of the spring conditions, sent it around to 10 experts and they all said that breaching was not necessary (including Dr. Nick Bouwes) but the DFO went ahead and breached anyway. The DFO release about 20,000 chum salmon each year in Suterbrook Creek and we get back about 20 chum in the fall. This fall the DFO, once again, breached the dam and the step dam in a major way and this resulted in the beaver reacting by building 2 additional dams. The water levels dropped to such an extent that one adult and the kit did not even have enough water to cover them for 1 day until it started to rain again. It was really distressing to watch this. We are trying to find a way to deal with this and somehow convince the DFO to take a look at options and consider a different approach than more breaching. It’s a tough sell. They are really stuck in old, traditional thinking.


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