Beavers Move to Local River Despite Pollution

Beavers Move to Local River Despite Pollution

Author Isabel Snyder

Trees chewed by beavers in Rockford State Park.  Beavers have moved into the park, despite pollution in the Brandywine and much human activity.  Photo by the author.

Trees chewed by beavers in Rockford State Park.  Beavers have moved into the park, despite pollution in the Brandywine and much human activity.  Photo by the author.

In the United States, the American beaver has traditionally been a ubiquitous species, ranging from New York to California to Alaska. The first true threat to their population was the European thirst for beaver fur after the European beaver had been hunted nearly to extinction. With the Europeans came the threat of habitat destruction.

As cities developed, beavers were pushed out of urban areas, especially in the East, where little room was left for natural habitat.  In addition to this, polluted waterways became an issue that endures to this day, even in local areas.  The Delaware River is actually the fifth most-polluted river in the US.  Of course, in a developed area like the Wilmington suburbs, there is another threat: people.

Some people see parks like Rockford as more for people than for wildlife, but parks should be just as much for one as the other.  As humans, we are not alone in this world and we could not survive if we were.  In our area and everywhere, we should do our best to protect the shreds of the wild still remaining.

Chemicals on the surface of the Brandywine River.  The river is polluted enough that it is considered unhealthy to consume fish from it.  Photo by the author.

Chemicals on the surface of the Brandywine River.  The river is polluted enough that it is considered unhealthy to consume fish from it.  Photo by the author.

Finally, the Brandywine Creek has been a dumping place for partially-treated sewage, road and farm runoff, manufacturing process waste and more for many years.  This is, however, not just the story of the Brandywine: in 85% of Delaware’s waterways swimming is prohibited due to toxicity, according to Delaware Online.  It would take years for all our waterways to be cleaned up.

Among litter, pollution, and human pathways, beavers have created a home on the bank on the Brandywine.  This species has endured all that humans have thrown at it, but for this perseverance to continue, we need to protect these creatures.

Trash caught on branches on the bank of the river the beavers have made their home.  The green bins in the background are toxic waste bins from the DuPont factory.  Photo by the author.

Trash caught on branches on the bank of the river the beavers have made their home.  The green bins in the background are toxic waste bins from the DuPont factory.  Photo by the author.

This should be taken as a reminder to take care of our natural spaces.  Ways one can help include small things like picking up litter and larger things like supporting organizations that work toward preservation and conservation, such as the Delaware Nature Society.  One example of local environmental clean-up is the Red Clay Valley Clean Up, held in March every year to work to clean up the Red Clay watershed.  It is a great chance to meet other people who are interested in the environment and to help protect nature.  Of course, the simplest thing anyone can do to help the world’s environment is raising awareness.

Beyond the End of Time Chapter 3

Beyond the End of Time Chapter 3

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