February 4, 2023
In October 2022, one or more North American beavers (Castor canadensis) migrated up Rocky Branch from Walnut Creek. They established a dam across the creek at the site of an earlier stream restoration project.
Rocky Branch is a relatively small stream. However, because of all the development and the high proportion of impervious surfaces (e.g., buildings and parking lots) across its watershed, it responds quickly to precipitation events. As a result, the stream's discharge increases quite quickly when it rains. After a heavy rain event, the beaver dam is commonly reduced in stature, and the upstream pond level decreases. After such events, the activities of the beaver are readily apparent as they work to repair the dam.
The U.S. Geological Survey has a real-time stream monitoring station about 200 feet downstream from the beaver dam that records stream stage, discharge, and precipitation and is available at the following URL. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/monitoring-location/0208735012/#parameterCode=00060&period=P7D.
In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey also maintains two real-time groundwater monitoring wells about 200 feet upstream from the beaver dam, adjacent to the Greenway Path. The depth from the ground surface to the water table is available at the following URLs. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/monitoring-location/354649078400701/#parameterCode=72019&period=P7D
This chronolog is maintained by faculty and students in N.C. State University's Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. We are studying beavers in urban streams around the greater Raleigh area. We are interested in the physical and biological changes in urban streams following the establishment of beaver dams.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this Chronolog site and contributing your photographic observations. We encourage repeat visits to see how this reach of Rocky Branch changes after rain events and with the seasons.
For questions, please get in touch with Karl Wegmann, Associate professor of geology and geomorphology. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State.
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