Countdown and Good will

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 1 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Today is the day we pick up the U-haul and get the stage from the John Muir Historic site, and then Jon loads the pile of everything into the truck to be ready for tomorrow.

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It’s a long day for Jon (especially since he had to meet the restroom delivery at 7:00) but honestly I can’t help but feel relieved it’s finally here. Everyone works terribly hard the day of the beaver festival. The entire day is practically a blur and everyone’s exhausted by the end, but my personal, 6 month trial will be mostly over before the day even begins. All the planning, promoting, wheedling, scheming, arranging and rearranging will be finished. Once I make sure that every item on my many lists gets into that truck, and gets unloaded to approximately the right places tomorrow, my work is pretty much finished. Every single one of my arrows, such as they are, will be fired. Now it will be everyone else’s job to get the baton across the finish line.

I just have to sit in the shade and talk about beavers all day. How hard is that?

So let’s celebrate my impending emancipation with this lovely article. It ran in the Martinez Gazette yesterday and I was surprised to see it because we already got our ‘official’ plug. Vivian Roubal’s inviting writing style makes the entire column a must read, but her finishing paragraphs brought tears to my eyes.

Take a walk on the wild side

A Beaver Festival? By golly, there’s always something going on in Martinez! A day in Martinez can be a wild adventure! A wildlife adventure, that is.

One particularly fine morning in March at about 6 a.m., I stopped on Marina Vista Avenue near Castro Street to check out the beaver dam. Sometimes I get lucky and see the famous Martinez beavers swimming or walking along the creekside, but that morning the waters were fairly calm; a water skeeter-bug here or there and that was it. I was about to continue my walk when I heard a small splashing sound. It seemed to come from right under me, so I got up on tippy-toes and leaned over the chest-high railing on the bridge. I looked straight down, hoping to catch sight of a beaver or whatever made the splash.

Plunk! My brand new glasses (with rhinestones!) fell right off my head and dropped straight down into the creek. A small brown cloud swallowed them up whole. Son of a gun.

Don’t worry her daughter and husband manage to get those glasses back, (with the help of a kind stranger) and the entire operation makes for excellent story-telling. (And explains some footprints!) But this was obviously my favorite part. It starts by recounting the beaver history and then launches into the prose of our good friend Rick Lanman (Rickipedia).

 According to my friend Wikipedia, “Now protected, the beaver have transformed Alhambra Creek from a trickle into multiple dams and beaver ponds, which in turn, led to the return of steelhead and North American river otter in 2008 and mink in 2009. The Martinez beavers probably originated from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta which once held the largest concentration of beaver in North America.”

And the “Worth a Dam” website (MartinezBeavers.org) says, “Beaver experts from across the country have come to Martinez to appreciate this unique setting and learn about our community response. The beavers have become a unifying symbol for an expanding town that can often be uncertain of its center. This represents a unique opportunity to demonstrate humane environmentalism in the home town of John Muir.”

Jeff and I enjoyed the Beaver Festival last year. There were lots of wildlife informational booths, many activities for children, and guided tours of the beaver habitat. It was a joyful place to be.

 So do something out of the ordinary. Come to the 7th annual Beaver Festival on Saturday, Aug. 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Beaver Park (corner of Marina Vista and Castro streets). There will be live music, wildlife exhibits from seven counties, children’s activities and beaver tours. The first 100 children can earn a charm necklace.

 Go ahead. Walk on the wild side! Don’t be square, see you there!

How sweet is that? Honestly I was all kinds of touched. It really is a joyful place to be. And this year I feel the benevolence more strongly than any other except maybe the first. The beaver festival seems to unlock generosity  in people. I feel like I keep getting lovely surprises that were not at all the result of my planning. Like Deidre Martin organizing the Wetland Express from Oakland, or a volunteer from Auburn contacting me out of the blue to help with two of her relatives, or this email from Faith of the Beavers Rowing Team at Mare Island;

Hi, my name is Faith and I am a member of The Straits of Mare Island Rowing Association. I row for a mixed team that we proudly call The Beavers. This year our youngest team mate was told she has stage 3 breast cancer. In an effort to help her with expenses we has a fundraiser selling green silicon bracelets with the phrase Beaver Believer with beaver prints on each side. We where able to raise $1300.00 for our dear friend, but have quite a few bracelet left over. As a team we decided we would like to donate the remaining bracelets to a great beaver cause. Let me know if you are interested.

So do you think I was interested? The next morning she dropped off about 200 of these at my house.

DSC_5209 brace

 

Those are front and rear foot prints, just so you know. Everyone who volunteers and everyone who picks up at least a 10 dollar item from membership will take one home.Thanks so much Faith and your generous team, I hope your youngest member is doing excellent and sticks around until she becomes your oldest member!

Oh and the truant in me loves the idea that she invites us all to the beaver festival and adds “as long as you have a parking place, you might check out the peddler’s faire.”

And as long as you’ve already found a parking space, might as well enjoy the Peddlers Faire on Main Street where you’ll find plenty to choose from. There will be a huge variety of antiques and collectibles, from glassware to pottery and furniture to Native American wares and much more. Enjoy the downtown stores and the over 50 local craft vendors. Then treat yourself to a fabulous lunch in any one of our great restaurants.

Considering the beaver festival has always been the red-headed step child of the peddler’s faire, once expressly advised to stay clear and now with a greater attendance, TV promotion and better press than it’s  patron, I think we’re doing okay. Good will is on our side.

beaver army

Beavers in the News

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Chip Ward’s article is marching through the liberal hemisphere – now on Salon and Axis of logic.  I’m very thrilled for the promotion but I sure hope it gets picked up by a conservative website soon. We don’t want liberals to be FOR beavers. Because then of course conservatives will be AGAINST them. Let’s emphasize their money-saving, small business owner expertise and get them on National Review Online or Red State soon!

On Axis of logic the editor offered these remarks:

Editor’s Commentary:

Timber is a Canadian beaver. That might not be his real name, but it’s what we call him nonetheless – and he responds to it. Timber was orphaned and successfully raised by a friend of mine, Michele.

 It was once thought by scientists that beavers orphaned at a young age could not survive because of the intense family structure of these critters, and the fact an orphan would be shunned by other beaver families. We learned through another friend, Audrey Tournay, that this is untrue. Audrey is renowned worldwide for defying the biologists and showing that beavers can indeed survive and thrive with human nurturing.

 Timber became one of the stars of two television programs.

 I am in the process of working with Michele to write Timber’s biography and it should be ready later this year (I’m the writer, she’s the story teller – the tentative title is Beavers Never Read the Operating Manual). It will be a book aimed at encouraging young people to learn about, and develop a concern for, the environment all around them. It is not yet too late to save ourselves from ourselves, but we’ll need to engage young people to do it.

 - prh, Editor


I’ll look forward to the Timber-files soon. I loved Audrey Tournay’s
beaver tales (Audrey was the founder of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary where Michelle Grant worked)  and I know you did too. In the mean time, two behind the scenes reveals are that the editor PRH is actually Paul Richard Harris who is the husband of Debbie Harris who we helped with beavers in Ontario way back in 2012, (because it’s a very small beaver world and all roads lead to Martinez).

And btw his original editor’s note credited David Suzuki for the documentary and didn’t mention Jari, which I replied to. So this old comment

Timber became one of the stars of two television programs. One, here in Canada, was a David Suzuki produced program called The Beaver Whisperers. The second was produced in the United States by PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating.

Got magically edited into this one:

One, here in Canada, was a program aired on CBC called The Beaver Whisperers. The second aired in the United States on PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating. Both documentaries are produced by Jari Osborne.

Which is a kind of reminder that one can make a difference in this topsy turvy beaver world, if you needed one. I myself made a snippet of difference last night on channel 7, but was disappointed my “amazing” interview in the blazing sun was shortened to 15 seconds. Still, its a great plug for the festival anyway, and they snagged tuesday’s footage, gave us credit, got our name right and linked to the right page of the website so I’m very happy.

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MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) –

The famous beaver family in Martinez is still at it and now officials say they’re actually good for the drought.

 Experts say the beaver dams are helping water stay in the creek year round, despite the drought and that’s helping preserve fish and other wildlife.

 The group “Worth A Dam” is dedicated to maintaining the beavers in Alhambra Creek.

 The president and founder of the group, Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., says, “They’re kind of doing a restoration job for the town of Martinez. They working 24/7. And they’re doing it for free.”

 A “Beaver Festival” is planned for this Saturday. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Marina Vista and Alhambra Avenue in Martinez.

‘A’ Beaver festival? A? Not THE beaver festival? I guess we should be proud of the fact that there are now SO many beaver festivals in the world we don’t merit the definite article anymore.   Hrmph!

Beavers are SO cool

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 30 - 20141 COMMENT

Last night was one of the best beaver nights I ever filmed. My fingers are literally aching to make a movie, but there is too much to finish before Saturday. Humor me and play the soundtrack while you watch the clips. Its practically required.


Last night we came to the secondary dam and saw a fairly large breech from the tide, the entire secondary pond was down by a few inches. The beavers were sleeping above the primary dam upstream 150 feet away from the break. I’ve seen their wake up routine a million times but I’ve never seen this.

As soon as they got up a yearling came straight down to see what the problem was, noticed a new snag exposed by water loss on the way, swam to the dam and started putting mud on the hole.

Don’t believe that beavers can remember what their pond looks like both on top of and under the water? Check out this double take.

Now Heidi, maybe you’re saying, don’t anthropomorphize this. Maybe he thought it was food. Maybe he was checking to see if was another beaver’s dam. Maybe it was a fluke.

Fluke? Here’s Dad with kit 5 minutes later.

And another double take.

(It’s funny because we have particular sticks we watch to see if the water is higher or lower, and now it really seemed like they did too! “Oh that’s exposed? We’ve really got a problem”Then Mom Dad and new kit came out of the lodge and made a bee line for the damage. Remember, in winter when all kinds of debris float downstream, we get to see beavers swim past new branches that were never there before. They are sometimes idly curious about them, or snuffle to see what’s good to eat. That’s not what was happening.They were seeing a log above water that used to be submerged.

It was never so clear to me that it’s not just running water that triggers beavers working, they obviously have some other cues, like maybe the opening to the lodge being uncovered, or the drop down from one pond to the next – they know how deep the pond should be and what and what snags belong where.

They must.

The extremely hard work paid off and the whole was quickly patched. Mom and Dad did several applications, a yearling pitched in and even our newest kits sat in the middle and pretended to help.

All of which reminded us, as if we needed to be reminded at all, that

BEAVERS ARE COOL.

Yesterday the Huffington Post, The Nation and Mother Jones decided to play our song.

The Original Geo-Engineers

 During a long career with the Bureau of Land Management, Sage Sorenson saw firsthand how beavers created rich green habitat out of overgrazed and burned-over land. Now retired, he calls himself a “beaver believer” and devotes his days to monitoring and protecting scattered “remnant” beaver colonies in our region. Quietly but persistently, he advocates for their reintroduction onto stressed landscapes that need their services.

 Beavers are the original geo-engineers. It’s no exaggeration to credit them for their major role in building the North American landscape. In pre-colonial times, there were as many as 400 million of them. They used their big buckteeth and tough paddle-tails to build dams across every stream imaginable, spreading water to a Noah’s Ark-worth of creatures that thrive in the wet habitats they create. Now, of course, they are mostly long gone from the land, and conservationists want them back.

 Go read the entire article. It’s awesome, and share with everyone you can possibly think of. Then comment so that everyone knows beavers generate attention and let’s hope Chip Ward writes me back and supports the beaver festival.

Oh, and always remember whatever happens, we loved beavers LONG before they were ‘trendy’. (Sheesh.)

Will introducing beavers onto wounded watersheds save the world? The answer is: yes. That and all the other acts of restoration, protection, and restraint, small and large, individual and collective, taken together over time. Sure, it’s not the same as the US taxing carbon or China abandoning coal. Restoring a watershed doesn’t curb the corporations that reduce communities to commodities. But in addition to the global goals we support, our responses to ecological crisis must be grounded in the places where we live, especially in the watersheds that nourish our bodies.

 Rewilding tattered land is holistic because it sees and honors connectivity. It trades hubris for humility by acknowledging complexity and limitations. Its ultimate goal is landscape health and resilience, not the well-being of a small handful of stakeholders.

 If we want to construct a healthy and resilient world for ourselves and our fellow creatures, we could do worse than look to the lowly beavers for hints on how it can be done. They build a vibrant world for themselves and so many others by weaving one small limb into another, stick by stick by stick.

 

 

A picture’s worth 1000 words…

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 29 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Capture

Aquatic life near a mine pit lake underwater beaver lodge

Steve Kohl

Brainerd Dispatch staff phtographer (and diver) Steve Kohls filmed the aquatic life near a mine pit lake underwater beaver lodge. See suspended sunfish, thousands of minnow and lurking bass all hanging out in their aquatic underworld.

The powers that be will not let me embed that video, so click on the picture and go see it yourself. Honestly, it’s worth it. Just look at the biodiversity of life near that beaver lodge, and remember the amount of mud and soil beavers excavate to maintain a lodge or access a food cache in winter. Beaver digging makes diverse invertebrate communities which make divers FISH communities.

Now remember that this is the Cuyuna Mine Pit lake in Minnesota. Cuyuna was a mine dedicated to excavation of iron ore which like most mines has all kinds of pollution fallout – including something charmingly called “acid mine drainage”. Could Cuyuna do anything better to restore those damaged pits? I think not. Thank you Steve Kohl, for this great proof of beaver biodiversity!

Castor Anglicus took my advice and set Adrian’ Forester’s recording to photos. Love the headlines and the awesome images.  I’m wishing it had some video and slicker editing, but I’m very picky and the news stations should leap at this.

Speaking of news, yesterday I met with ABC channel 7 down at the dam to talk about beaver, water, and drought – as well as plug the festival. It was one of those fun interviews where the interviewer started out disinterested and nonplussed by his assignment, and ended up eager and fascinated, running up and down the creek photographing birds, talking to onlookers, and asking for a bumper sticker.

I hope his conversion means there will be a nice segment on prime news, but you never know. He kept shaking his head and saying “You’re amazing on camera! You answered every question so succinctly!”Which made me smile a little and think of the old Paula Poundstone line….

“Last night’s show was an amazing crowd. I did an hour and a half. I could have done more, but the club had really bad security and a lot of the audience got away”.

I’ll let you know when it’s airs. Hopefully Thursday.

Oh, and in the mean time you need to see this. Honestly. You. Just. Do.

 Public Works: The Amazing Self-Powered Garbage-Trapping Machine

Meet the trash-collecting contraption that’s cleaning up Baltimore’s harbour.

 

 Invented by Clearwater Mills LLC, the Interceptor floats at the mouth of the Jones Falls river, through which garbage used to flow into the inner harbour. Now booms (floating barriers) direct debris towards the 4.3-metre-tall garbage collection machine. Spring-charged rakes claw the refuse onto a conveyor belt, which is powered by a water wheel spun by solar-powered pump. The belt carts the garbage into a dumpster, which, once full, is dragged by boat to a waste-to-energy conversion plant.

How awesome would this be at the Marina? Some adaptions would let it run on tides twice a day. Shell could pay for it, New Leaf Academy could promote and maintain it, and Martinez could be the east coast premier of another dam good idea.

Good Riddance

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 28 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Wreck of the Beaver is passed by the Canadian Pacific steamship Empress of India off Prospect Point, 1892. Stamped July 13, 1930 on the back. Bailey Brothers/PNG files.

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: 1888

The SS Beaver ran aground off Prospect Point, the most famous shipwreck in Vancouver history

 On July 26, 1888, the old Hudson’s Bay steamboat The Beaver ran aground on the rocks off Observation Point in Stanley Park (today’s Prospect Point).

 “The wind was blowing pretty fresh and with the strong tide running carried the famous old craft onto the rocks just at the entrance to the Narrows,” reported the Daily News-Advertiser on July 28.

 It would become Vancouver’s most famous shipwreck, immortalized in photos, paintings and mementoes that early Vancouverites took off the wreck as souvenirs.

 Liquor may have had something to do with the wreck. A Vancouver pioneer named Simson told Major Matthews that Capt. Marchant was “an old drunk” and that the crew “were all drunk the night the Beaver went on the rocks.”

 A perfect end to an evil death vessel that brought Hudson Bay literally acres of beaver (and otter) skins in its miserable 50 year life. It was built to run up and down the pacific from Alaska to Vancouver stopping and restocking the Hudson Bay Company fur trading posts with every single beaver that could be ripped from the streams along the way.

A fitting week to celebrate its death with the VII annual beaver festival on the calendar.

 

 

Beavers make Strange Bedfellows

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 27 - 20142 COMMENTS

Let’s start with a word from duck hunters. Now everyone I’ve shared this with has reacted with a “let the ducks live” remark, but you have to realize the pragmatic value of articles like this. Right now we need ALL the beaver supporters we can muster, so if people let them be because they want more fish to catch or ducks to shoot, we should realize that they’re still allies. Beavers make strange bedfellows.

Ducks in Small Places

Matt Gnatkowski

 One of the best friends of hunters who like to hunt ducks in small places is the beaver. Industrious beavers create a lot of ponds and sloughs that make for perfect out-of-the-way duck habitat. Mallards, wood ducks and black ducks like using the flooded timber created by beavers. To find these duck hotspots you need to scout constantly. Keep track of where you see beaver activity during grouse hunting trips, during the bow or rifle deer seasons or when snowmobiling, and make it a point to visit them during the waterfowl season. If ducks aren’t using the ponds when you arrive, wait until evening. Many times the birds will be off feeding elsewhere and return to roost on the pond toward evening. The sky can be full of birds as the sun slips behind the horizon.

 Wildlife biologists can steer you toward areas that have high beaver numbers. Talk to hunters, trappers and anglers who might be able to lead you to beaver ponds. If practical, you might want to even rent an airplane for a short jaunt around areas of beaver activity to pinpoint ponds. Beavers can create a lot of small-water duck havens in a short period of time. Where there was only a trickle of water today can be a pond of several acres tomorrow. And it won’t take long for the ducks to find it.

Let’s face it. Duck hunters have more powerful friends then we do. They have magazines and sponsors and legislation and fawning politicians. And would it be so horrible if more duck hunters made the intuitive leap to realize that fewer beavers mean fewer ducks? No, it would not. I realized when I read Three Against the Wilderness that wise hunters and trappers could be among our best allies -  once they got the message. And in order for that to happen we need to stop being mortified enough to talk to them.

Consider this website de-mortification training.

(It’s a strange thing to be realizing in the same day that duck hunters help beavers and the Nature Conservancy kills them. But there it is. Life is full of surprises.)

On to Whidby Island in Washington State where so many folks are fond of beavers they don’t know what to do with them.

A beaver lodge sits at the southern edge of Miller Lake, about 30 yards from a beaver dam. Lake levels are on the rise, and along with other impacts, are raising concern among South Whidbey residents.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / The Record

 Whidbey’s beaver population: residents chew on problem, seek county help

 “When there’s nature and people, you have to come up with solutions,” Kay said.

 In some cases, however, beavers have won friends. A population at Miller Lake is credited with vastly expanding the lake, but also creating water views. For Bob Olin, the edge of his backyard that borders the lake was once dominated by poplar and willow trees. They are all now long gone.

 “There were 10,000 of them right out there,” said Olin, motioning to his backyard.  “No, I’m quite happy with the beaver,” he added.

 Jamie Hartley, critical areas planner for Island County, said county code defers to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for its guidelines. The state allows residents to shoot or relocate beavers as a last resort to other types of mitigations, including the installation of culverts or beaver deceivers.

Steve Erickson, with the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, said that shooting or trapping the occasional beaver is not going to really impact the population. However, farmers need to learn to deal with changing conditions and coexist with the beaver population.

 “The idea of a pretty farm where it’s all static and never going to change is a fantasy,” Erickson said. “People are going to need to change the way they are dealing with nature and work with it.”

 And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Washington is the most beaver-intelligent state in the nation – maybe world. Apropos of nothing, the beaver friendly Whiby website “Tidallife” has our website in their blogroll and it’s how we get a significant number of visitors every month.

Now back to Devon, where musician Adrian Forester has this to say about the River Otter beavers.

CaptureI’m trying a new spam filter on comments this morning, and it appears to be working. Every day we get about 20 comments that I have to weed through from spam-bots telling me to buy sexual aids or that my site could get more hits if I did X.

Help me try it out by leaving a comment, will you?

To Beaver or Not to Beaver…that is the Question

   Posted by heidi08 On July - 26 - 20141 COMMENT

Ahh, the age old dilemma that most cities spent 3 whole minutes wrestling with. Kill them? Or let them Be-[aver]? Mind you in Martinez it took 200 people at 2 meetings over 7 months to convince 5 council member, but we’re exceptional. Most places never get the message.

Take Pennsylvania for example, where they’re killing beavers to protect Old Growth Hemlock Forests. At least they had the decency to pretend to struggle with the decision. But we know better. This is Pennsylvania for petesake, where the trapper said he was only going to remove the “soldier beavers.” Remember? One of my very favorite columns EVER.

 Beavers Versus Old Growth: The Tough Reality of Conservation

 Beavers Versus Old Growth: The Tough Reality of Conservation July 25, 2014  |  by: Matt Miller  |  7 Beavers do a lot of ecological good. But what happens when they become too abundant? Photo: © Kent Mason  Beavers do a lot of ecological good. But what happens when they become too abundant? Photo: © Kent Mason - See more at: http://blog.nature.org/science/2014/07/25/beavers-versus-old-growth-the-tough-reality-of-conservation/#comment-713533

 Conservationists know beavers perform valuable ecological services, creating important habitat through their dams and tree clearing. They’re charismatic animals. Their recovery in the eastern United States is a stunning conservation success.

 What happens when those thriving beavers threaten old-growth hemlock groves, one of the most imperiled habitats in the East?

 That’s the situation at the Conservancy’s Woodbourne Forest Preserve in north-central Pennsylvania. It is forcing conservationists to choose between beavers and old-growth trees.

 To some, this is a no-brainer for a wildlife sanctuary: leave it to beaver.

 After all, haven’t beavers been shaping the forests for millennia? Isn’t it natural?

 The reality is much more complicated. If people and beavers are to exist and thrive together, sometimes tough choices have to be made.

 Guess what they decide? If beavers and people are making things hard for old growth Hemlock forests, will they kill the people?

“Beavers can do a heck of a lot of good,” says Hardisky. “But they can also do a lot of damage.”

 It’s easy to say that beavers should be left to their own devices. It’s much harder to say that when they’re flooding your home or farm field or local road.

 “The reality is, we have to balance the beaver population with human needs,” says Hardisky. “The state can support a large beaver population, but there is a social carrying capacity – how many beavers people can live with. We manage them so there is a stable, healthy population.”

This necessitated a difficult decision:

 Beavers or Hemlocks?

Ooh Ooh Call on me! I know this one!

“We have to decide what we want for the forest, not only at Woodbourne, but across the country,” says Eckley. “In this case, the beaver population is thriving. That’s a success. But beavers may not be the only consideration. I think old-growth forest is important, too. This is what we as a society have to decide. There are no easy answers here. We have to be informed and think about what we want the future forest to look like.”

I suppose if there were a real trial to decide which species should live, it would include an examination of what each species contributes. How many birds, fish and mammals depend on old growth hemlock? Versus how many fish, birds,  mammals and insects depend on beavers?  I wish I got to say that in court.I mean it is called the NATURE CONSERVANCY not the OLD HEMLOCK CONSERVANCY.  The article makes it seem like the rising water level killing trees is ruining old growth, so I commented this of course.

Why would scientists use a false dichotomy to make a decision? In stall flow devices to regulate dam height (well researched and studied all over the hemisphere) and save the trees AND the beavers. I know flow devices work because my own city installed one 7 years ago to prevent flooding, and now because of our safe beaver-tended wetlands we regularly see otter, steelhead, woodduck and even mink in our urban stream.

 Solve the problem, not the symptom.

Mr. Hardisky from PA Game Commission wrote back staunchly defending the decision:

Water control devices installed in beaver dams are usually effective in regulating water levels, but do nothing to address the problems of dwindling food supplies and direct damage to the surrounding old growth forest. In this case, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. “Saving” beavers at the Woodbourne Forest Preserve will result in additional loss of old growth trees. Population reduction was the most responsible solution to this problem. Water control devices have been used at Woodbourne in the past and will likely be used in the future to help control flooding and protect native plant communities. These devices are not fool-proof, however. Controlling water levels in beaver wetlands in conjunction with a regular, limited beaver harvest will extend the life of the beaver colony and the many benefits they provide by 10-20 years. If you do not remove beavers on a regular basis, they will eat themselves out of house and home … no food, no beavers, no environmental benefits. This was the exact scenario at the Woodbourne Forest Preserve. As the author noted in his week-long blog series, lack of human intervention can result in significant negative impacts to the environment and loss of plant communities such as old growth forests. Beavers have no significant predator other than man. It would be irresponsible for us to ignore what we have learned from sound science and modern wildlife management techniques.

To which I would point out that it’s not like beavers LOVE hemlock. They would much rather have some riparian willow, birch or aspen to munch on. Which would cost an afternoon and three busloads of boy scouts to stake into the mud, and thrive on beaver chewing and regrowth protecting the Hemlock trees for decades to come.

I’m sure Mr. Hardisky (if indeed that IS his real name! It sounds kind of like a bad melodrama…)  has a reason why that wouldn’t work either.