Characteristics of beaver ponds on deltas in a mountain environment


David R. Butler, Department of Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666–4616, USA. E-mail


Many beaver ponds in the Rocky Mountains, that have been described in the literature, are in-channel ponds that are relatively small and short-lived. This paper describes floodplain beaver ponds on low-gradient deltas in glacial finger lakes in Glacier National Park, Montana. These ponds are distinctly larger, probably fed by hyporheic flow, and stable and long-lived. Ponds examined were, with one exception, 44 years old. Glacial discharge is present in each valley where beaver ponds occupy low-gradient deltas, and this discharge likely sustains pond water level over the course of the summer. As glaciers recede and disappear, deltaic beaver ponds dependent on hyporheic flow may be negatively affected. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.