Simple method for estimating water storage in beaver ponds

posted Feb 20, 2017, 12:31 PM by Joe Wheaton
Daniel Karran (a PhD student of Cherie Westbrook at University of Saskatchewan) led an effort to test how well simple methods for estimating surface water storage volume from just surface area and dam height works for beaver ponds. The methods have been used widely in estimating storage in wetlands and prairie pot-holes, and provide a nice morphometric approach to estimating dams from area (easy to measure off aerial imagery) and dam height, which can be quickly measured in the field. This allows foregoing the effort of full topographic surveys to estimate pond volumes.  Given the growing interest in beaver as a restoration and climate adaptation tool, methods for quickly estimating their impact on hydrology (in this case through increasing surface water storage) are very topical. 

  • Karran, DJ, Westbrook, CJ, Wheaton, JM, Johnston, CA and Bedard-Haughn, A, 2017. Rapid surface-water volume estimations in beaver ponds. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21(2): 1039-1050. DOI: 10.5194/hess-21-1039-2017.