Introduction to Algonquin Park Habitats - Beaver Ponds
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Beaver Ponds
   
 

Beaver Ponds  
Beaver ponds would not be present in Algonquin Park if it were not for the Beaver. Other than man, the beaver is the only animal in Algonquin Park to dramatically modify its environment in order to meet its needs. Beaver ponds are created when beavers dam a creek or river in order to create a pond several metres in depth, provinding a safe refuge for eating, sleeping, and raising a family. The dam, a wood and mud structure, slows the flowing water, increasing its temperature and thus lowering the oxygen content. This dam building action has both negative and positive impacts for a variety of plant and animal species. For species such as the Brook Trout dependent upon cold water, this recently changed habitat may be intolerable, killing this species. Yet at the same time, this warmer, more nutrient rich environment is critical to the survival of some species of warm water fishes such as the Pearl Dace. The creation of a beaver pond provides habitat for common aquatic plants like the Water-shield, Common Bladderwort, White Water-lily and Bullhead Lily. These plants provide shelter for dragonfly and damselfly larvae, whirligig beetles, water striders, and backswimmers. This rich insect life is, in turn a food source for the American Bullfrog, Green Frog, Mink Frog, and birds such as the Eastern Kingbird and Tree Swallow. You might also spot a Black or Wood duck, the long-legged Great Blue Heron, or even a Moose standing belly-deep in a beaver pond. A beaver's dam and pond will not last forever. When food supplies, like Trembling Aspen, are in short supply around the pond, or if a predator, like a wolf, kills a beaver (or the whole colony), the dam can fall into disrepair. With heavy rains or melting snow in the spring, many Algonquin Park beaver dams break causing the ponds to drain. This draining of the pond should not be seen as a 'bad' thing, but rather as an environmental change with both positive and negative impacts. For grasses and sedges, the nutrient rich muck once found at the bottom of the beaver's pond is a suitable site to grow and reproduce. Within just one growing season the drained pond turns into a lush green meadow, providing habitat for species like the Meadow Jumping Mouse, most commonly encountered in these 'beaver meadows'. Eventually, the sun-loving Trembling Aspen which initially may have attracted the beaver to this area will regrow, attracting beavers once again to this location. The beaver has an immense impact on the survival of many plants and animals in Algonquin Park. If it were not for beavers, many of Algonquin's animals would be less numerous that they are today. To learn more about beaver ponds, click on the link below.

Take a 360° tour of an Algonquin beaver pond (Beside Lodge)

Take a 360° tour of beaver lodge in Summer

Take a 360° tour of an beaver pond (on top of lodge)

Educators:

Learn more about Algonquin's habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the web site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:

Suggested Reading
Educators: Learn more about Algonquin’s habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the Web Site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:

Beaver Pond Trail Guide
Algonquin Beaver Ecology


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Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park
Of all the living things that inhabit Algonquin Provincial Park, none are more important than the trees. Trees are by far the largest living things in the Park and they almost completely blanket the landscape. With a little practice you can quickly become adept at identifying all of Algonquin's trees, and this will open the door to understanding the fascinating world of Algonquin Provincial Park.


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Birds of Algonquin Provincial Park
Many visitors to Algonquin Park are unaware that it offers a unique opportunity for seeing and hearing the birds of Ontario. This book will introduce you to the main habitats of the Park and to many of the common species, 77 in all. Through colour photographs and short accounts we hope to encourage you to discover and enjoy them for yourself.


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Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park
Anyone who visits Algonquin Park during the spring and summer will see wildflowers. The Park has many different habitats within its borders and each area has its own distinct wildflowers. This book has over 55 colour photographs of the most common wildflowers in the Park, and will give you an idea of the incredible richness and beauty of the plant world and how important plants are to the ecology of Algonquin Park.


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Mammals of Algonquin Provincial Park
Fifty-three species of mammals have been found in Algonquin Provincial Park. This book explains the life history of these mammals. The many illustrations help to make it easier to identify them, and the book also contains a useful reference chart for distinguishing tracks and scats.


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