This busy morning, before we do the stuffing, feed the cat or straighten becky’s hair for the grand family palooza we’re expecting this afternoon, let’s stop and be thankful for this letter to the editor. Even if does appear paired with a photo of a nutria which I will not be reposting here for obvious reasons.
I read with interest about Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack’s visit to England’s first beaver reintroduction in east Devon this week. The River Otter Beaver Trial is a five-year project, led by Devon Wildlife Trust in partnership with Exeter University, running until 2020.
The trial is monitoring the beavers’ impact on the landscape, other wildlife, water resources, water quality, local communities and infrastructure, and local farms. Initial results reveal strong evidence for the role beavers might play in reducing flooding downstream, even during prolonged wet periods.
The trial is already producing promising results that indicate the role beavers can play in helping to protect our towns and cities from floods, while giving us a richer, more exciting natural world.
Floods are devastating for communities, as we have seen in Stroud – they destroy our homes and belongings, damage our economy and disrupt our daily lives. Without serious action to tackle climate change, the floods we face every winter are only going to get worse.
But just a small number of beavers can have a disproportionate effect on the environment around them, influencing water flow, improving water quality and increasing biodiversity and bringing great benefits to other wildlife.
Successful flood prevention means working with nature starting with our soils and land management which hold huge capacity to absorb intense rainfall, through to allowing more space for rivers and floodplains to behave more naturally, not covering it in concrete. This is about working with the grain of nature and not battling against it.
But there are potential challenges ahead, not least the possible impacts these industrious creatures could have on farmland. The trial is looking at all the possible impacts, and exploring how we can maximise the positive and minimise the negative ones.
I have heard of attempts to get salmon back to Salmon Springs, so why not introduce the beaver to the River Frome? It may well complement the great work that Chris Uttley at Stroud District Council has been doing with Rural Sustainable Drainage in the Stroud Valleys.
Tracey Fletcher: Ruscombe Stroud
Nice work Tracey! You covered all the basics and then some! If only every letter about beavers was equally well prepared I could retire and move to Florida. I’m sorry about the photo of the nutria and I wish that I could promise that once beaver re-acquaints itself with beaver they’ll know better and these kinds of mistakes won’t happen, but America is living proof that’s not true. It still happens all the time, to our small papers, or nonprofit cousins, and even our scientists from NOAA or the Forest Service!
But the letter was EXCELLENT!
We at Worth A Dam wish you a fine feast with family and friends today. Mine will have a new baby on scene (born a month early, like me!) from my niece and four generations of Perryman’s arguing over who gets the drumstick. I am thankful my sister is hosting it and I don’t have to, Also thankful that we have beavers in Martinez again (even if we can’t see them), that we have will have another festival in a new park, and that Amy Gallaher Hall will be donating her talented chalk art. I am also grateful for the shiny new website (thanks Scott Artis) that I am nearly starting to get the hang of, and that I heard this week from author Ben Goldfarb that he has just completed his first draft of the wonderful new beaver book and is planning on a much better title.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are bringing stuffed cherry tomatoes. How about you?