Millions of years of building dams and shaping waterways have not only made beavers expert water managers but also enabled them to survive wildfires which have destroyed the landscape around them. The largest wildfire last year in Fort Collins, Colorado could not touch the sprawling network of pools and canals constructed by these industrious creatures. “When you’re at this beaver complex,” says ecohydrologist Emily Fairfax, “it never stops being green. Everything else in the landscape – the hill slopes on either side, they both charred. They lost all their vegetation during this fire. But this spot, it did not.” The dams and canals built by the beavers also serve as a means of storing melt water from the mountains and humans are learning another valuable lesson from nature.

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