The Navy’s expansive outdoor recreation areas at Jim Creek include campgrounds, a Navy-preserved old growth forest, trails, and mountain lakes.
In the late summer, flooding from the Twin Lakes overflowed into parking and boat ramp areas, cutting off access. The overflow was caused by a family group of beavers that increased their dam building between the upper and lower Twin Lakes.
In October, to prepare for heavy rains and prevent additional flooding, Navy environmental staff collaborated with biologists from the Tulalip Tribe to carefully trap and relocate the beavers to another place where they can build dams that will create new wetland areas instead of causing damage. As a result of the partnership, five beavers were relocated to a remote high elevation stream in the upper Stillaguamish watershed.
The collaboration is part of a program called the Tulalip Beaver Project that works to relocate beavers from areas where they are considered a nuisance to areas where their instinctive building is beneficial to increase fish habitat, improve fresh water quality, and open up dense woodland for more diverse plant and animal life to prosper. Beaver dams contribute to ecosystems that are habitat for spawning fish, such as salmon, grazing animals, migrating birds, and other wildlife.
The Navy is aware of multiple beaver dams between the upper and lower lakes and more between the lower lake and Cub Creek reservoir. A Tulalip Tribe biologist estimated up to 40 beavers are living at Twin Lakes in multiple family groups.
Notches will be cut in the old dam so that the water will return to desirable levels that enable access to facilities.
To prevent another family of beavers from moving in, the Navy will work with non-profit organization Beavers Northwest to install devices that will maintain water at the desired level. Beavers Northwest will also provide ongoing monitoring training for Navy staff.
Naval Station Everett’s Natural Resources Management Program supports many restoration and environmental management projects such as invasive plant control, marine mammal monitoring, fish and wildlife studies, habitat restoration, and forestry management.
“Engagement is key to effective natural resources management,” said Alicia Higgs, Natural Resource Manager for Naval Station Everett. “We will continue to cooperate with local agencies, regulators, and tribes to plan and implement environmental compliance and conservation strategies as part of the Navy’s stewardship responsibilities for these valuable public resources.”
Find out more about the Tulalip Beaver Project at https://nr.tulaliptribes.com/Programs/Wildlife/Beaver