How to Monitor
How to Monitor
Explore the different tabs above to see the different protocols for monitoring beavers.
Check out the Beaver Monitoring Application Protocol (pdf) for a printable list of the protocol.
Monitoring Beaver Dams
To begin monitoring beaver dams, click the 'Monitor Beaver Dams' button in the main menu. For each visit, the first time you click either of the 'Monitor' buttons, a new record will be created for you. If you are simply switching between monitoring types or are revisiting a stream on the same day, you will be taken to the last record. After recording data at the first dam, you can create new dam records by clicking the 'New Document' button in the upper right corner of the 'Beaver Dam Monitoring' screen.
When you come to a beaver dam, you will pause and fill out information in the three tabs of the 'Beaver Dam Monitoring' screen.
Under the general tab you need to designate the current dam as ‘Active’ or ‘Abandoned.’ Determining a dam’s status will be difficult at first, but will become easier as you see more examples. Active beaver dams should be fairly obvious; however, determining if a beaver dam has been abandoned is more difficult. Abandoned dams will have often been breached with no recent evidence of reconstruction, there will not be recent branches added, and the general age of all the wood making up the dam will often be apparently aged/withered.
You will also need to enter your confidence in the status (Active vs. Abandoned). This allows you to have some wiggle room for the certainty of your decision because determining the status of a dam can sometimes be tricky.
Finally, you will need to get a GPS location of the structure using the ‘Get Location’ button near the bottom of the General Tab. Simply press the button and wait a few seconds for the location to appear. The field labeled ‘EPE’ is simply a measurement of accuracy for the retrieved location.
As of version 3.0 of the Beaver Monitoring Application, the vegetation tab is still being designed. Currently, we are asking volunteers to collect a small amount of observational data on three tree species: Aspen, Willow, and Cottonwood. To enter vegetation data:
1. Tap the field under ‘Tree Species’ to select one of the species.
2. Select the approximate density of that species under the field heading ‘Tree Density’
3. Select the approximate diversity in height under the field heading ‘Tree Height’
4. Please fill out a record for each of the three species. If the species is not present, select “Not Present” under the ‘Tree Density’ field heading.
This tab provides a location for storing photos and notes on the current dam being monitored. You will take a photo from downstream of the dam looking upstream, from upstream of the dam looking downstream, and an overview photo of the dam. For the overview photo, you should hike up a hill or away from the dam to capture as much of the area around the dam as you can. Simply tap the field and select ‘Camera’ from the popup menu to take a photo using your device. If you like the photo, tap ‘Use’ in the lower right corner of the camera screen.
The ‘Comment Container’ is meant to store any extra multimedia information you would like to include about the current dam. You can record video, audio, or insert another photo. The last field at the bottom of the page is an area to record typed text. When you select this field the iOS keyboard will appear and you can type any important observations.
Selecting Previous Dams
You can return to data of previous dams by selecting the ‘Document List’ button in the upper right corner of the ‘Beaver Dam Monitoring’ screen. This button will take you to a list of all the dams you have recorded data for during this current visit. To switch to a dam, tap the large magnifying glass next to the dam record. Likewise, you can delete a dam record by tapping the large X next to a dam record.
Monitoring Beaver Activity
The location of dams is very important for our projects. However, we will gain a lot of information in knowing where beaver activity is present even if a dam is not present.
To return to the Main Menu, tap the beaver scientist in the upper left corner of the form until you reach it. To begin monitoring beaver activity, simply tap the ‘Monitor Beaver Activity’ button.
When you come to signs of beaver activity, you will pause and fill out information in the two tabs of the ‘Beaver Activity Monitoring’ screen.
Under the General Tab, you will need to first record whether you saw a beaver or not. You will also be looking for evidence of beaver felling trees, harvesting branches, and signs of active foraging (corn on the cob; branches completely stripped of bark). Tapping the light bulb button will bring up a popup window showing examples of those three activities.
Finally, you will record a GPS location of the activities you’re describing by tapping the ‘Get Location’ button. Often, you will find these activities spread out across the valley. For example, there might be fallen trees in a 10 m2 area. Please record these instances once; do not create an activity record for each individual fallen tree.
The Beaver Activity form also includes a tab for recording photos and notes. There are container fields to store three photos of the activities you are recording. The third container labeled ‘Comment Container’ can be used to store any type of multimedia data (video, audio, or another photo).
Finally, there is a large field for recording typed notes on your activity observations. Tap the field to bring up your iOS keyboard and type any important information you wish to include.
We ask that you upload the data you have collected after you return from the field. Although it is possible, we recommend that you do not try to upload data over a 3G or 4G connection because photos and videos will upload very slowly. Connect your device to a WiFi network before attempting to upload.
Simply click the ‘Upload Data’ button on the Main Menu screen of the Beaver Monitoring Application.