beaver dam

Chris Bachman opens up some flow of water over a 6-foot-high beaver dam on Linda Jovanovich’s property in the Palouse area.

When Linda Jovanovich bought a 7-acre slice of land on the Palouse 25 years ago, it was nearly treeless, other than the obligatory row of pines and a few mountain ash planted to block the wind. A straight and deep no-name stream cut through the loamy topsoil, its only decoration a long-abandoned car.

Wedged between a basalt hill and surrounded by farms, the land had been cleared long ago for agricultural interests.

Jovanovich is no farmer. She had run a landscaping business for years in Pullman and then worked as an elementary school librarian. In a college geology course she’s become enamored with the natural world.

So, she started planting aspens, willows and other vegetation along the little no-name creek.

Two-and-a-half decades later that work has paid off. Her property is a wildlife oasis among rolling fields of wheat. Piles of tree limbs dot her land, providing shelter for rodents and birds, coyotes and raccoons.

So, when beavers showed up eight years ago, she had mixed emotions.

On one hand, she was thrilled. She knew streams slowed by beaver dams and lodges create better habitat for animals and insects, collect silt and store and cool water, among other things.