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Beavers Hinder Work on Miller Lake

Miller Lake is tucked in a glacial hollow between Little Craggy and Steve peaks in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon. From the trailhead there is a view of Grayback Mountain, Josephine County’s highest peak. Botanically this area is home to Brewers spruce, Matthews sugar pine, white fir, knob cone pine, other conifers, and the more rare Baker’s cypress and Oracle and Saddlers oaks.

The Thompson Creek Irrigation District built a road to the lake through the Sturgis Fork Basin in order to dam and deepen the natural lake and regulate the water drainage to the irrigation ditch.
During construction, they had more help then they needed from nature’s hydro-engineers—the beavers. When the irrigation crew came back each morning to work, they would find their progress blocked by sticks and brush reducing the flow. The beaver’s response to the new pipe that moved water out of their home was natural, as beavers are stimulated to repair breaches by the sound of running water. They take action when they encounter so much as a trickle, because a leaking pond leaves them exposed to predators.
Whether removed forcibly or on their own, beavers no longer inhabit Miller Lake.

"Miller Lake Trail #902." USDA Forest Service Rogue river Siskiyou National Forest. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.  Hughey, Barbara. Personal interview.
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