10 things you might not know about beavers

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 16 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The new ‘Lily pond’ story

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 16 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Beavers invade Chico backyard, damage property

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The funny thing is that I met a woman on the Butte county environmental team involved with this case on Sunday at the Optics Faire. She sent me the report and I tried to track down Mr.Barker through facebook. I suggested the best way to get rid of these beavers is to temporarily drain the pond and said if he does it without hurting them Worth A Dam will buy that chewed table to sell at the festival. It terrifies me to think of beavers wadering through the dry suburbs of Chico looking for a new home, but they did it once and it’s definitely better than their odds if USDA comes to the homeowners rescue. And who on EARTH said that beavers mate in September?

Stay tuned.

Yesterday I got some VERY VERY good news, that if it actually happens will be the coolest thing ever. I’ll let you know more when its firm. Fingers crossed.

All in a day’s beaver work!

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 15 - 20141 COMMENT

today1Another fun day for wildlife spent in the beautiful wine country at Cornerstone. Tom and Darren were constantly on their toes running back and forth to keep things smooth.There were birds and badgers and bats and of course BEAVERS. Cheryl, Lory and Ron were unbelievably helpful getting things together there. We made new friends, plugged beaver benefits and positive solutions, and generally talked about what Martinez had done to solve challenges. I love this picture from the morning, not because we’re still bright eyed and bushy tailed, but because it shows off the AMAZING new restoration poster at the back which we never got to show off correctly at the festival because it was improperly hung and ripped down in a nanosecond. Isn’t it beautiful?

A few folk there had seen the Napa beavers, and many wanted to come visit to see ours. Tom and I had several like-minded conversations throughout the day emphasizing how important it is to connect wildlife groups together so they can learn from what everyone else is doing.The photographer Suzy Esterhaus was there, still excited about her upcoming photo shoot of the Martinez Beavers for Ranger Rick, and Susan Kirks of PLAN stopped by to give us our badger spirit award. They are signed by their state representatives, with a big gold official looking seal.

assembly legislature1Thank you Susan for making us feel like what we do matters! I personally love that two politicians had to sit down and personally sign something that said WORTH A DAM in the title.

This was a comment from JoEllen after Saturday, looks like we get Sulpher Creek at the beaver festival!

Just want to thank you again for the outstanding presentation, and for coming “all the way” to Hayward! (You not only educated us about beavers, but about where Martinez is! How provincial we are!!) I will be working on getting Sulphur Creek to the next Beaver Festival.
Thanks, JoEllen

Touring for Beavers:September 2014

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 14 - 20142 COMMENTS

Sulpher Creek is a secret jewel hidden away in the crowded residential hills of Hayward. It’s entered by a curling driveway between homes that wraps into a loop around a thickly concreted creek arched by a myriad of trees. A narrow bridge crosses the creek to take you to what could be another world, the animal hospital on the right, and the classroom at the left. In between are a cluster of animal pens where unreleasable wildlife are held in airy comfort. We saw foxes, hawks and a screech owl. The class room looks like every classroom you’ve ever seen, with carpet squares on the floor where the little ones sit for learning time, and bigger chairs with adjustable tables in the room after that.

The entire facility has the feel of a delightful ranger station – the old pre-Reagan ranger stations from your childhood where there was always SOMETHING wonderful going on. This makes sense because the land and buildings are owned by the parks department. We were met by the coordinator Sylvia Franke and set up in the well appointed little room.

It was a small group by beaver standards, but very wildlife-savvy and eager to learn more. I felt perfectly at home as I talked about beaver benefits to the appreciative crowd who knew some of the story from the news. I had met Joellen, a docent, years ago at the beaver dam and she had been instrumental in getting us invited. She was there yesterday and kindly said that she still reads the website every day, so if you’re reading this, THANKS!

Now we’re off to the wine-country to talk beavers at Cornerstone. Stop by and say HI!

WineCountryOpticsFair2014

The unfinished thought

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

A beaver lodge sits next to the partially drained pond, water from which was used to control dust from construction of a golf course near the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Editorial: Drained Trinity pond drains confidence

The work recently went off the rails when contractors began draining an environmentally sensitive pond in an effort to control dust elsewhere.

 This pond is a gem of the forest, where threatened wood storks like to fish. The contractors hired by City Hall siphoned it like a swimming pool. A witness, Ben Sandifer, said he saw fish huddled in the mud and remaining water with their backs exposed.

 Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan wrote that, while officials agreed to let contractors use water from the pond, they “never realized the contractor would be so insensitive as to attempt to drain an entire pond.

Right, because  contractors are usually such sensitive souls. I know mine went through a whole box of kleenex watching nature programs when our shower was installed. This is what you did to the Audubon center?  This is bad even by Texas standards.

The good news is that folks are mighty upset about it, so there’s a good chance something might change for next time. Too bad for the beavers and the wood storks though. I guess someone else will have to deliver all those babies to dallas?

(Have you ever seen a wood stork? They are deeply striking birds with featherless black heads and great long beaks. Here’s a photo I took in the everglades. You can bet something enjoyed an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with all those huddled victimized fish – and we know it wasn’t the beavers!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, is it me or has the Huffington Post finally maxed out on beaver innuendo?

HPNobody likes a stinky beaver.

 Just ask the people of Cumming, Georgia, who had to endure the filthy stench of rotting beaver carcasses, after one resident allegedly left them in a parking lot.

Police are fingering Chad Artimovich, 43, as the lead suspect in the case. Artimovich was arrested Aug. 23 after customers of a TitleMax complained about decomposing beaver carcasses in the parking lot, WSB-TV reported last week. Responding officers found several large bags full of maggots, fluid and rotting beaver, which gave off an “atrocious” smell, they said.

Get it? “Stinky beaver”, police are “Fingering” the suspect. Isn’t that hilarious?I mean if you’re a 12 year old boy?

Less funny is the tail bounty offered in Georgia that leads  to someone knocking off a few beaver, snipping free their reward hastily in the parking lot, and hurrying off to collect their 13$ a tail.

No word on when the Huffington Post will be reporting on that.

Oh, and speaking of wasted publications and and incomplete thoughts, how about Nina Keenam columnist for the Andulusia Star News in Alaska whose burning curiosity drove her to exhaustively research beavers – during which effort she determined they were BUSY.

Beavers worthy of ‘busy’ slogan

What animal do some people consider the “outstanding engineer of the wild” and the mammal next to man that alters the environment most to suit its needs? If you answered “a beaver,” you were right.

When I covered meetings of the Covington County Commission for The Andalusia Star-News, one of the commissioners often related stories about beavers in constant battle with his road crew. He said beaver dams caused flooding along county roads and bridges. As fast as crews destroyed a beaver dam, the beavers reconstructed it the same night.

 Beavers are definitely clever and persistent. I learned that beavers cut down trees, gnaw off the limbs, cut the main trunk into the right size, and dig canals so it can float to the dam site. Then it plasters the logs together with mud.

 I would say that the expression “Busy as a beaver” rings true.

I can just imagine those late nights of study, drinking iced coffee and charcoal biscuits next to a pile of ruffled volumes that lead you to this stunning conclusion. No wonder you didn’t have  time to talk about how important they are to salmon, or wildlife, or rivers. Your considerable research skills were already consumed by the jaw-dropping discovery that beavers are “busy”.

surprised-child-skippy-jon

Seeing is Believing

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

CaptureaJPG

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the largest such body in the US. And look who’s on the back cover of their newsletter? Thanks Malcolm Kenton for sending it our way!CaptureSure there is nothing about beavers actually IN the newsletter, or partnering with beavers for restoration to repair damaged streams,and that neat tanbark sure looks like the home of a kit in captivity, but heck, it’s a start, maybe the beginning of one of those conversations that keep you up well into the night. There was a nice story from them on living with beaver last year when they noticed they’re population was going up.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve the conflicts without killing beavers, Griffin said. The answer is: beaver deceivers. These are cage-like devices that prevent the animals from blocking the stormwater pipes. The Humane Society has been meeting with state and local governments across the region to convince them to use this and similar technology – including underwater pipes – as affordable and non-lethal ways to foil beaver dams, Griffin said.

“A study we did showed that, over time, it is far more cost beneficial to install and maintain these devices than to kill beavers and then constantly go and clean out culverts over and over again,” said Griffin.

 One of the governments the Humane Society helped to convince to use the devices is Rockville, Maryland, which is planning to install a beaver deceiver in a stormwater pond behind Richard Montgomery High School, according to Heather Gewandter, stormwater manager for Rockville. There, a family of beavers gnawed down several trees, and built a dam and a lodge in a roughly 100-foot-wide urban stormwater control pond behind the school’s bike paths and trash cans. The dam is blocking the pond’s stormwater drainage outflow, threatening an adjacent road with flooding when it rains, and reducing the effectiveness of the whole runoff pollution control system, Gewandter said.

 ”We’ve noticed a real increase in the beaver population in the recent past,” she said. “But we have a live and let live policy for all wildlife – and so that includes deer, coyotes, and beavers. So we want to do everything in our power to co-exist with the beaver. We also do want to honor our obligations, when it comes to water quality. So we are really hopeful that these beaver deceivers will work.”

 The city is also wrapping the trunks of young trees in several parks with short bamboo curtains, to prevent the beavers from cutting them down. Trees, after all, are important not only for scenery and shade in the parks – but also to cool and filter streams.

No word in the article about how beavers are helping the streams you’re trying to save, and filtering the water you’re working to clean, but hey, I’m thrilled you’re using flow devices and wrapping trees. I’m sure you’ll catch on to the restoration story eventually.

On a lighter note Bobby posted this footage of a kit tailslap on the river Tay in Scotland and I had to share. Look at his muscles tense and twitch while he’s obviously gearing up for this heroic feat.

Much more talented than our kit, who wasn’t much younger. Not only does fail to get the required SMACK sound, he uses so much effort that he almost does a back flip in the water!

‘A’ for effort, though. That’s what I call enthusiasm.

Speaking of great effort, here’s a photo just sent from Rusty in Napa  at the beaver pond he’s watching up there. This green heron got lucky, and probably will again soon. I think he’s enjoying a bullfrog tadpole, which means there are more where this came from. If he waits a while he can get some with feet!

green heron catch

Green Heron Catch: Rusty Cohn

Another difference between Iowa and Washington

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 11 - 2014Comments Off

News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Neighbors Want Solution For Beaver Dam Flooding

Just up the creek from where the water is backing up is a beaver dam, possibly more than one. It’s just north of Interstate 80 near the Davenport Municipal Airport. A resident who lives nearby and is dealing with water on her family’s land took some pictures. The problem is that the dams aren’t on her property and it’s been a struggle to get something done.

 ”It’s been going on since April. We’ve had water up to our knees almost,” said Lindsay Andrews. She says last year there was barely any water in the creek at all. Now there seems to be a bit of a beaver problem.

 ”We’ve seen a couple of beavers. My mother in law seen one. We watched one swim upstream not too long ago,” said Andrews.

 Their dams are leaving stagnant water and a muddy mess in area her family mostly uses for recreation but on a regular basis.

 ”We used to do cookouts, can’t do that. Kids used to ride the trails, can’t do that,” she said, “the bugs are a big concern… Safety is a big concern with the kids.”

My god the horror. Our kids haven’t been outside in 5 months because we’re terrified of the westnile-virus mosquitoes or some such nonsense those rotten beavers have brought into our bright green fertilizer-ruined stream. I have only written about beavers in Iowa once before in 8 years of coverage so that means they aren’t even enough of an issue to hit the news cycle.  I’m honestly not hopeful for these beavers, but I dutifully posted my comment just in case some landowner wants to be in touch about options.

The only other comment is about how dynamite will fix things, so I ain’t hopeful.

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A better use of our time is the youtube account of Ben Dittbrenner, who’s dissertation on beavers and climate change was mentioned a couple days ago in the news. He wrote back after my comment and said that he is thoroughly enjoying this part of his work, and his close contact with the beavers. He’s particularly struck by what a mollifying effect their adorable presence has on even the most hardened maintenance crew.

Of course Worth A Dam knows all about that. Remember the crane company that put in the sheetpile?

cooper craneYou should subscribe to Ben’s youtube account right away so you see the cool stuff he encounters during his project. I just wish data collection on MY dissertation looked like this!

Published on Sep 2, 2014

 This video is from our animal husbandry facility. Beavers are temporarily housed as part of the Skykomish Beaver Project. The goal of this research is to relocate nuisance beavers, which would otherwise be killed, into headwaters of the Skykomish River Basin to stimulate habitat improvement and climate change