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Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 8/31 – Jackson County Experiencing Record Covid Cases, Grants Pass Teacher Named Regional Teacher of The Year; Body of Missing Ashland Man Found

The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather 

Air Quality Alert

Today– Widespread haze before 11am. Patchy smoke after 11am. Sunny, with a high near 83. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday– Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 87. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday– Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 91.
Saturday– Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 91.

Jackson County Still Experiencing Record Covid Cases

Jackson County has hit a new record again for coronavirus cases, with public health officials reporting that last week’s new cases outstripped the all-time high set earlier in August.

Jackson County Public Health said that there were 1,947 new cases last week, easily surpassing the previous record of 1,500 set just a few weeks ago.

As of Monday morning, there were 205 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout Jackson and Josephine County hospitals, and 58 patients in an intensive care unit. JCPH also reported three new deaths attributed to the virus, bringing Jackson County’s death toll to 202 since the beginning of the pandemic.

With cases and hospitalizations continuing to rise, public health officials are still urging the public to do their part in order to curb viral spread — by wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and avoiding gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As bad as things have been for much of August, there’s now an additional wrinkle to the current public health landscape — the return of students to classrooms.

Already, there have been delays to in-person learning due to the prevalence of COVID-19. Southern Oregon University announced that it would delay the start of on-campus classes into October, and the Rogue River School District had to postpone the start of the Junior/Senior High School due to quarantines of key staff.

“It can be safe, I think,” said Tanya Phillips, health promotion manager for JCPH. “I think the schools are doing the best that they can, you know, following the state and ODE guidance about masking and making sure that teachers and staff are vaccinated, and making sure that they have access to those resources — but again, it’s going to take the community to make sure that kids can go back to school safely because a lot of kids aren’t eligible right now for the vaccine, so they don’t have that choice. Their only protective measures are adults getting vaccinated and then making sure that people are wearing masks.”

The weekend also brought sobering news from Josephine County, where officials have requested refrigerated trucks to hold bodies as mortality rates exceed the local capacity to adequately handle them. According to Phillips, Jackson County is looking at its contingency plans, but is not on the verge of making a similar request.

“Right now Jackson County is not at that point, but we are definitely being prepared for . . . if we do hit that point, that we know what we’re doing, and being able to make those asks of internal partners of the County or asking for resources from the state,” Phillips said.

Jackson County E. Coli Cases Still Not Linked To A Source

Public health officials in Jackson County are still working to track down the source of an E. coli outbreak that has hospitalized a dozen people since early this month according to an update Monday.

Jackson County Public Health revealed on August 25 that it was investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) affecting 15 people, including 10 who were in the hospital. Several of them were children, according to Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County health officer.

As of Monday, the outbreak included 16 confirmed cases and 12 hospitalizations, with the first case reported back on August 8. JCPH said that it is working with the Oregon Health Authority to pinpoint the cause.

“Right now, we do not have a definitive hypothesis on what the source of infection may be. The genome sequencing, performed at the state public health lab, has not matched any other cases in the state or nationally,” states Dr. Jim Shames, Health Officer for Jackson County Public Health. “Therefore, we continue to do in-depth interviews with those that have tested positive to help us identify a possible source of exposure.”

Now public health officials are asking medical providers to be aware of the increase in E. coli cases, urging them to collect and test stool specimens on patients suspected of having bacterial gastroenteritis.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. While most E. coli are harmless and actually form an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract, some E. coli (like STEC) are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness — either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons.

Most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick within three or four days of eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. That said, illness can appear anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure.

“Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine,” JCPH said.

Public health officials gave these everyday steps that can help prevent E. coli infections:

  • Practice good overall hygiene with special attention to good handwashing.
  • Wash your hands after touching animals or their environments.
  • Keep what you eat and drink away from animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Prevent raw meat from contacting other food. Do this by washing hands, utensils, cutting boards and surfaces after use to prepare meat.
  • Avoid consuming raw and unpasteurized dairy and juice products.
  • Avoid school and childcare attendance, food handling and patient care if you are ill. People with diarrhea should not go to school or child care, handle food, or care for patients.

Grants Pass Teacher and Former Student Both Named Regional Teachers of the Year

Two teachers, one from Grants Pass and another from Albany, have more than being awarded their regional teacher of the year. They also at one time were teacher and student.

When Lois MacMillan found out she was the teacher of the year for her region, the Grants Pass High School teacher was incredibly honored, then she got even more good news.

One of her former students, Rachelle Bell, who is now a teacher at Takena-Central Elementary School in Albany, was also named a regional teacher of the year.

“Ms. Pieper, Rachelle’s sixth grade science teacher, called me the day after I received the regional award to tell me the wonderful news about Rachelle,” MacMillan said. “We were over the moon! Ms. Pieper and I reminisced how lovely of a person Rachelle was and discussed how the great ones become teachers! The next day I looked up Rachelle’s school and emailed congratulations to my girl!”

Both MacMillan and Bell were named Regional Teacher of the Year for their respective regions, MacMillan in Grants Pass and Bell in Albany. Both said they were shocked and overjoyed that both of them had been named, and it gave the duo a chance to catch up. The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence, with the Teacher of the Year serving as the face and voice of exemplary educators across the state. The program is a partnership between the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Lottery. 

Bell said that when she was MacMillan’s eighth-grade American History student, she didn’t really know where her path in life would lead. She mentioned she didn’t have much support financially or academically and felt lost.

“Then I met Lois!” she said. “(She) is one of those special individuals who have the capacity to change your trajectory. She helped me realize my potential as a community member and human being. I remember her looking me in the eyes to welcome me to class, offering big bear hugs, and allowing me the space to bring my heavy heart into her classroom. I understood that she genuinely cared for me … I believe Lois’s qualities are recognizable in my classroom today because she helped shape the person I am and the teacher I have become. Each day I think about my impact on students. I know that every interaction is an opportunity to create the same positive change that Lois had on myself and my family.”

Beginning in 2018-19 the Oregon Teacher of the Year program expanded to celebrate educators in every region of the state. Up to 19 teachers are honored in the different education service district regions. Those regional winners, including MacMillan and Bell, are then considered for the overall Oregon Teacher of the Year Award. Each regional teacher of the year receives a $500 award, if they are named finalists they will receive $2,000 and the statewide Teacher of the Year is awarded $5,000 as well as a special fund to cover travel costs for the year. In addition, a matching gift of $5,000 is awarded to the Teacher of the Year’s school. This program is a part of a partnership between the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Lottery. The 2022 Teacher of the Year will be named in September.

Both teachers said it was an incredible honor to be named a Regional Teacher of the Year and are pulling for each other to win the top honor. MacMillan said on a recent trip to Washington D.C. with 67 other teachers to study the constitution, she bragged.

“I bragged to everyone about my ‘Rachelle!,’” she said. “I screenshot her picture from the (Teacher of the Year website) and flashed it around. A majority of those teachers were Rachelle’s age, so it became a conversation starter on what teachers inspired us to become teachers.”

Both said that when they found out they were Regional Teacher of the Year, it was an emotional experience.

Bell found out she had been selected as a Regional Teacher of the Year when she got a surprise greeting from school board members, superintendent, her teaching partner, district leaders, coach, and principal. 

“The most profound moment from that day was when our office manager asked if I went to Riverside Elementary, because Ryan Thompson, my first-grade teacher, wanted to speak with me,” she said. “That made me lose it. Discovering that so many teachers cared about my life after I left their classrooms and, more than 20 years later, are still interested in my accomplishments has added such an incredible significance to the award.”

MacMillan’s experience was as powerful, but for a different reason.

“My third grandson, Atticus, was born at 4:30 a.m. on the same day my principal came in with the surprise announcement,” she said. “In fact, I was presenting a onesie with ‘New Nana, again!’ when my administrators and former students surprised my class and me coming in with the award. So, I celebrated by going home and rocking my new grandson.”


The Oregon Lottery is the proud presenter of Oregon’s Teacher of the Year as well as a valued partner of the Oregon Department of Education. Currently, 53-percent of Oregon Lottery profits are directed to Oregon’s pre-k to higher education public schools to help pay teachers’ salaries, build and repair schools, purchase much needed textbooks, computes, equipment and support other essential services. This biennium Oregon Lottery has contributed $535.7 million toward K-12 education. That’s about $460 per student each year. — Oregon Lottery 

UPDATE: Trevor Watson Found

GLENDALE, OR. – The search for a missing Ashland, Oregon man has come to a close after searchers found his body on Saturday. 

Search and Rescue crews continued their search for Trevor Watson on Saturday, August 30, 2021, searching a larger area where he was last seen. Crews located Watson’s body in a creek bed around 10:00 a.m. The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting a death investigation, although foul play is not suspected at this time. 

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public for their assistance in locating Trevor. 

He had last been seen at his mother’s home in Glendale the prior Sunday. When she woke from a nap at about 3 p.m., he was gone. Relatives said he had never gone missing before and his phone and wallet were found separately at the house.

The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting a death investigation, but authorities said they do not suspect foul play. 

No further information is expected to be released. If you have information call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 541-440-4450. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Fatal Crash between Grants Pass and Merlin

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office reports that a man is dead after a single-vehicle crash between Grants Pass and Merlin on Sunday evening. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded at 7:10 p.m. to calls for a single-vehicle crash in the 1100 block of Plumtree Lane. Staff from Rural Metro Fire and American Medical Response also responded to the scene.

Arriving in the area, deputies found a “heavily damaged vehicle” that had crashed into a tree and power pole. The only occupant of the vehicle was the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was identified as 49-
year-old Rodney Paul Jones of Grants Pass. The Sheriff’s Office says that his next of kin has been notified. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Oregon reports 5,545 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 40 new deaths

There are 40 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,155, the Oregon Health Authority reported 5,545 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 273,896.

The 40 new deaths and 5,545 new cases reported today include data recorded by counties for the 3-day period between Friday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 29.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (17), Benton (62), Clackamas (452), Clatsop (58), Columbia (66), Coos (83), Crook (27), Curry (58), Deschutes (431), Douglas (442), Gilliam (2), Grant (17), Harney (12), Hood River (17), Jackson (486), Jefferson (39), Josephine (255), Klamath (72), Lane (529), Lincoln (110), Linn (248), Malheur (21), Marion (528), Morrow (20), Multnomah (583), Polk (49), Sherman (2), Tillamook (81), Umatilla (80), Union (62), Wallowa (32), Wasco (29), Washington (451) and Yamhill (124).

Oregon reports 2,493 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Aug. 27, 1,864 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Aug. 28, and 1,188 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Aug. 29.

HOSCAP report recalls 2020 COVID-19 peaks, bed capacity constraints

Oregon Health Authority is releasing the Oregon HOSCAP COVID-19 Review: April 2020-2021, which covers the first year of reporting hospitalizations of patients who either tested positive or were suspected to have COVID-19.

The Oregon Hospital Capacity Web System (HOSCAP), which predates COVID-19, has been used throughout the pandemic by hospitals, health systems and state health authorities for health planning and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, published today, has several findings:

  • COVID-19-positive hospitalizations peaked in summer 2020, followed by a larger fall peak.
  • Hospitalized patients testing positive for COVID-19 surged again in spring 2021, as patients with suspected COVID-19 continued to decline.
  • Though trends varied between regions, bed capacity constraints were widespread.
  • In the fall and summer 2020 surges, COVID-19-positive hospitalizations initially peaked approximately two weeks after COVID-19 cases.

Hospital capacity data is published Monday through Friday on OHA’s COVID-19 data dashboards.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 1,120, which is 23 fewer than yesterday. There are 316 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 14 fewer than yesterday.

There are 39 available adult ICU beds out of 671 total (6% availability) and 314 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,240 (7% availability).


The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

Note: Please do not visit an emergency department for COVID-19 testing, unless you require emergency care for your symptoms. Emergency departments in Oregon are under significant strain responding to the current surge in COVID-19. You can find a test here.  

If you have a medical condition that doesn’t require emergency care, contact your provider. An urgent care center may also help you get the care you need and will save emergency departments from added strain.   More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

Fire crews were kept busy over the weekend after a series of thunderstorms peppered Southern Oregon with hundreds of lightning strikes, sparking dozens of confirmed fires and leaving the potential for more to emerge over time.

Officials with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest said that there were about 700 cloud-to-ground lightning
strikes throughout the region on Sunday, landing both within the federal forest and on the state, county, and private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

RRSNF said that it responded to 16 fires within the national forest in tandem with ODF and the Coos Forest Protective Association. The largest priority was the Bear Camp Fire, which they hit with a Type 2 Initial Attack Crew and two engines. Crews were able to build a handline around the 4 or 5-acre fire, and about 40 percent of the fire has hose line around it. Firefighters remain on the scene, working toward containment.

Crews from ODF responded to about 50 separate fires in the wake of those thunderstorms, working through the night to find and extinguish the reported starts. Of those fires, 35 were confirmed to be active. The agency said that 20 have been extinguished, 15 are in various stages of response, but the majority are fully lined and in the mop-up stage.

While parts of the Bootleg Fire’s interior continue to burn, firefighters have largely kept the fire from growing as they approach near-full containment. The fire was estimated at 413,762 acres — or 647 square miles — with containment staying at 84 percent as of Monday morning.

Crews reported seeing smoke from fuels burning within the fire area on Sunday as they worked to widen fire lines and soak the remaining heat and flames along the edges. Officials said that dozers have been straightening the “ragged edge” of the fire on the east side to build better containment.

Despite all the recent progress, officials noted that the Bootleg Fire’s size and local conditions mean that it still traps a great amount of heat and will continue to pose a fire hazard. “Megafires” like the Bootleg usually will not be fully extinguished until the late fall or early winter, when temperatures drop and moisture rises.

The record heat event in late June included three days in a row of more than 100-degree temperatures, adding to the phenomenon of drying trees, vegetation, and soil. Fire meteorologists anticipate thunderstorms in the area will bring isolated showers in the afternoon on Monday, but dangerous fire weather conditions are likely to return over the next several days — leaving fuels vulnerable to ignition from lightning strikes or embers.

Here are links to be able to see updated info on the larger fires in Oregon:

This public lands link is super helpful to check before you head outdoors. The Keep Oregon Green website carries ODF’s public use restrictions. Click the link for up-to-date information:

Former Chiropractor Sentenced to Federal Prison for Distribution of Oxycodone

A Clackamas, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for distributing oxycodone pills acquired from dozens of fraudulent prescriptions, one of which led to the overdose death of Starlin Swan, a 26-year-old woman.

Mark Steven Gardner, 33, was sentenced by the Honorable Michael W. Mosman to 50 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release.

“The opioid epidemic has cost more than 500,000 American lives. The death toll in this country is staggering and the tragic loss that surviving family members must endure is devastating.  This prosecution represents our office’s firm commitment to hold those accountable who unlawfully distribute controlled substances that results in death.”  said Acting United States Attorney, Scott Erik Asphaug.

 In November 2015, Gardner, a chiropractor, stole a prescription pad from a physician with whom he shared his Portland office building. Over the next four months, Gardner used the doctor’s name to forge fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions. Gardner instructed others to fill the prescriptions at times when he knew the doctor’s office, to which he had access, was closed. Gardner would then enter the doctor’s office, answer the doctor’s office phone, and pose as the doctor to verify the authenticity of the prescriptions when contacted by pharmacies. The individuals filling the prescriptions would typically give Gardner half of the pills received.

On January 8, 2016, Gardner called 911 to report finding a female friend unresponsive. Paramedics arrived on scene and found Ms. Swan deceased.  A subsequent autopsy and toxicology examination revealed that Ms. Swan had died of an oxycodone overdose.

On the afternoon before Ms. Swan’s death, Gardner forged a prescription for Ms. Swan for 90 30mg pills of oxycodone. The prescription was filled the same day, although the pharmacy only filled it for 60 oxycodone pills. 

In total, Gardner forged 48 prescriptions for 25 different recipients, including some scripts that were written after the overdose death of Ms. Swan.  A total of 2,352 30mg oxycodone pills were fraudulently dispersed because of Gardner’s scheme. Following the discovery of the script forgeries, Gardner was stripped of his chiropractic license.

On May 15, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging Gardner with distribution of oxycodone resulting in death; distribution of oxycodone; and acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge. On April 19, 2021, he pleaded guilty to unlawful distribution of oxycodone.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement. This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Peter D. Sax, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. — U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon 

Oregon Department of Fish and WIldlife Kills Two More Wolf Pups

Employees from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, firing rifles from a helicopter, shot and killed two wolf pups from the Lookout Mountain pack on Sunday.

On Thursday, the agency’s director authorized either ODFW employees, or a Baker County ranching couple or their designated agents, to kill up to four sub-adult wolves from that pack, which has attacked their cattle at least four times since mid-July.

The Lookout Mountain wolves have killed two animals and injured two others, according to ODFW investigations. The two wolves killed Sunday are 3 1/2-month-old pups, according to Michelle Dennehy, an ODFW spokesperson. —

USDA Announces Relief Funds for Hard Hit Klamath Water Users

Klamath Water Users Association expressed strong support and appreciation for today’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement of financial relief for Klamath Project irrigators who have been deprived of Klamath Project water this year.

USDA will contract with the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency (KPDRA) to provide nearly $15 million to producers who have been slammed by successive years of water shortage, compounded by the past year’s COVID pressures on production and markets. Producers would be eligible whether they participated in other KPDRA
programs this year or not. “All producers have dealt with their own unique problems, losses, and costs, and the KPDRA board is inclined to spread the assistance to all.”

KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons said that KWUA has been working with USDA officials since January to identify relief opportunities.

Oregon Earthquakes


Nearly 50 earthquakes were reported around the world Sunday, including one about 120 miles off the Oregon coast west of a small town in Curry County. All in all, it was no big deal.

The quake — measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale — happened just after noon far off the coast from Langlois, an unincorporated community of 135 people, a place once known for blue cheese until the factory burned down in the 1950s and was never rebuilt.

Sunday’s earthquake took place under the Juan de Fuca plate, a subduction that extends under the North American Plate in the Cascadia subduction zone and is continuing to move. Blakeman said the Earth is active in this area. Miles below the surface of the ocean new crust is being added to the western side of the subduction zone, which is moving east and under the North American Plate.

During the past 7 days, Oregon was shaken by 7 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or above and 1 quake of magnitude 2.2. There were also 23 quakes below magnitude 2.0 which people don’t normally feel.
Biggest quake: Reported seismic-like event (likely no quake): 2.9 mi east of Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA, Aug 30, 2021 4:20 am (GMT -7) 1 day 4 hours ago
Biggest quake today: 1.4 quake Explosion – 5 Km NW of Brownsville, Oregon, Aug 30, 2021 2:48 pm (GMT -7) 17 hours ago —

OSU Study Finds Beavers Are Well Established And Moving Through The Oregon Coast Range

Few studies have accessed the impacts of dispersing beavers, making it difficult to determine best practices for translocations. Beavers are often translocated to restore populations in areas, reduce their conflicts with humans and take advantage of their ability to improve ecosystems. A new study from scientists at Oregon State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center begins to change that.

courtesy Oregon State University

The scientists, who collected genetic samples from almost 300 beavers in the Coast Range of western Oregon, sought to understand whether landscape features, such as slope and distance to water, influenced gene flow among beavers.

They detected relatively strong genetic differentiation of beavers, which they believe is shaped by watershed boundaries and past relocations of the rodents. This led them to recommend that relocation efforts of beavers in topographically complex landscapes, like the Coast Range, occur within watersheds when possible.

“We wanted to see if there were things that are limiting beaver dispersal in western Oregon, whether they are not able to disperse because of geography or some physical limits,” said Jimmy Taylor, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S.D.A’s National Wildlife Research Center in Corvallis and a courtesy faculty member at Oregon State. “Our findings indicate that doesn’t seem to be the case. They seem to be moving freely within watersheds, with at least occasional movements between watersheds.”

The overharvest of beavers during the 16th to 19th centuries in North America is well documented. This legacy, however, sometimes overshadows the restoration of beaver populations throughout North America in the 20th century.

Spurred by the population restoration, there has been growing interest in the western United States in using beavers for stream restoration projects that can restore floodplain connectivity, improve grazing opportunities for livestock, mitigate increasing aridity and provide habitat for threatened species, such as Oregon Coast coho salmon.

In the recently published paper, the researchers focused on beavers in the Coast Range of Oregon, a region characterized by multiple watersheds, dense forests, and steep hillside slopes.

The team reviewed the limited scientific literature and historical documents about beavers in the region and concluded not much is known about beaver history or ecology in the area. They did, however, find records showing more than 700 beavers were released in the area between 1939 and 1951 by the state to provide optimal distribution of the species.

“Beavers are a really storied part of this landscape and they are an iconic species for Oregon,” said Clint Epps, a wildlife biologist at Oregon State and co-author of the paper. “For me, it was kind of a mystery of how beavers have persisted in this Coast Range landscape. How much of that was influenced by translocation? How much of it was just beavers persisting on their own? I can’t say we directly tested this. But from looking at the translocation records and the genetic structure it looks to me like they hung on in this landscape.”

The researchers collected genetic samples from 292 beavers from 12 counties along the Oregon Coast. They live-trapped 232. The remainder were either road kill or supplied by trappers.

They then mapped records of beaver translocations during the 20th century to consider the effect of those movements on the genetic structure of beavers.

They concluded that slope and distance to water did not strongly limit dispersal and gene flow by beavers in this system, but that dispersal is more common within watersheds, as opposed to between watersheds.

“This is a native species” Taylor said. “I’m pleased we see gene flow. This is an animal that’s well established and dispersing in its native ecosystem.”

Taylor is also hopeful that this research will lead to a greater appreciation of beavers in the Coast Range, where they are not as visible because they don’t tend to build dams or lodges in that landscape.

“There are a lot of beavers on the landscape but people don’t know that because they don’t see the classic signs that they learned in children’s books,” he said. “Part of what I’m trying to do is politely, respectfully educate people that there are a lot more on the landscape out there, and they are not all providing the cascading series of dams that people are looking for, but they still contribute to ecosystem services.”

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