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Oregon Public Broadcasting


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Eastern Oregon


YouTube Video

Can Beavers Save Salmon in Oregon's High Desert?

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  • This video follows a group of biologists studying the effects of beaver dams and artificial beaver dams on stream ecosystems and salmon populations in Oregon.
  • Students will learn about the impacts of drought and other land-use changes on streams and how the biologists recognized the importance of beavers as keystone species for stream ecosystems.
Teaching Tips


  • This video is a great example of scientists looking to nature to solve a problem!
  • This video is also a great look at how much time it can take (in this case, ten years) to see the real impact of a solution.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students may need the word impoundment defined prior to watching the video.
  • Some students, including English language learners, may need the terms erosion, drought, extinct, dam, channel, and bank defined prior to watching the video.
  • Students who need more time to process the video can slow down the video's playback speed.
  • There may be an ad before the video.


  • History classes can make a connection to the fur trade and its lasting impacts on ecosystems in North America.
  • Science classes discussing animal habitats can use this video to launch a discussion about the importance of habitat diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem services.
  • Language arts classes working on collegiate discussions can use this video to spark discussions about our changing attitudes towards nature and specific species over time.
  • After watching this video, Earth science classes can discuss the effects of precipitation, drought, land-use changes, and erosion on land and watersheds.
  • This video lends itself to a cause and effect chart that students can fill out, either during or after the video, to organize many of the ideas presented. 
Scientist Notes
This ~8.5 minute video discusses the use of beavers (nature's engineers) to ensure the continued health of streams and rivers and how they aid in habitat creation for essential fish and other wildlife. This video would be a great addition to a classroom discussion about alternative methods to maintaining a healthy planet and how supporting wildlife could hold the key to ensuring the health of our planet.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-8 Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.14.6-8 Explain multiple causes and effects of events and developments in the past.
      • D2.His.14.9-12 Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
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