Wildlife Biologist Torrey Ritter will be presenting his talk, Stories of the Bountiful Benefits of Beavers, at our February meeting, which is on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 7pm in Room 123 of the Gallagher Business Building on the UM campus.
Wetlands and riparian areas make up a tiny percentage of the overall land cover in Montana yet provide critical resources for an extraordinary number and diversity of wildlife species. However, long-term degradation that started with European settlement of western North America has turned complex, braided streams into single-thread channels and has broken the critical ecological link between the stream channel and the associated floodplain. Often this level of stream degradation takes millennia to recover. Fortunately, beavers can fast-forward the recovery process for many streams, and these creatures are a bright spot in an otherwise glum picture of the future of Montana’s water resources and the immense biodiversity they support. Using aerial imagery, published research, and on-the-ground observations, Torrey will illuminate the vital role beavers play in enhancing and maintaining healthy wetland and riparian areas in Montana. Torrey will also discuss the pros and cons of beaver-mediated habitat restoration from a social and ecological stand-point, with the goal of promoting a balanced view of the role beavers can play in re-wetting the west.
Torrey is currently the Region 2 Nongame Wildlife Biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He was born in Lander, Wyoming but grew up in the Bitterroot Valley fishing the Bitterroot River and climbing the Bitterroot Mountains. After high school, Torrey moved to Bozeman where he got an undergraduate degree in organismal biology. Torrey spent the next six years working on research and monitoring projects for a variety of species including small mammals, peregrine falcons, bald and golden eagles, sage grouse, pikas, elk, grizzly bears, whitebark pine, and most importantly of all, beavers. In 2015, he returned to MSU to conduct a graduate research project on beaver dispersal and settlement site selection in the upper Gallatin and Madison River drainages. Recently, he was hired as the new nongame biologist based out of Missoula, a true dream job.
Join us to hear Torrey’s talk on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 7pm in Room 123 of the Gallagher Business Building on the UM campus.