Tonight’s full moon is known as the Full Wolf Moon. This name dates back to Native American tribes in the Northern and Eastern United States. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled…”
The wolf is a keystone species in our watersheds. This oft-maligned canine plays a critical role in naturally balancing water quantity in upper and lower river basins. Visiting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2008, No Water No Life witnessed wolves protecting our water supplies and preventing downstream destruction and degradation in the Missouri-Mississippi watersheds.
The presence of wolves along riverbanks keeps heavy browsers (such as elk and moose) back in the cover of forests. But – without the wolf, riverside vegetation is quickly devoured. Without bushes, sedges and grasses, riverbanks quickly destabilize and erode. Without riverine willows, beavers can’t build dams. Without beaver dams and riverside vegetation, nature’s moderating water–retention system becomes ineffective. All these changes exacerbate the increase in floods and droughts downstream these days.
Let’s take advantage of nature’s free gift of wolves and howl with them in the full moon tonight!!!