Watch: Oregon wildlife gets into a jam

A bobcat stands along Rock Creek near a log jam. Credit: Oregon State University

Land managers invest millions of dollars annually to place large pieces of wood back into streams to improve fish habitat. But little has been known about how these log jams affect birds and land-based animals. In a recent study published in Biodiversity and Conservation, Oregon State University researchers used remote cameras to find out. They set cameras on multiple log jams on Rock Creek, west of Corvallis, and monitored what they saw for a year.

The log jams act as corridors for wildlife, they discovered. They observed 40 species, including mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), belted kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) and Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) using the wood for movement, rest, food handling and eating.

“This study reveals a hidden role of large wood in streams,” said co-author Ezmie Trevarrow, who conducted the research as an undergraduate at Oregon State.

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