Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

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The captured charming beaver strikes again. This time on Inside Edition.

Unusual Pet Named ‘Justin Beaver’ Makes Dams Out of Household Items

This adorable pet beaver makes dams out of household items! The 7-month-old rescue animal was orphaned as a baby. Justin Beaver is often caught gathering cuddly toys and everyday objects to build his creations. But he won’t be inside for long. The hope is to raise enough money to build him his own outdoor enclosure with a pond.


Hey, you know what would be neat? If everyone stopped MAKING orphan beavers all the time by killing off their parents.

Hrmph!

 


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Days like today start with a decision. Do I post the really wonderful thing I discovered yesterday or the really annoying thing? Or do I try to post both like sweet and sour sauce in honor of Chinese New Year? It is not in my nature to avoid the irritant, so I think I will give you the unpleasantries sandwiched in between two excellent slices wholesome.

The first is a presentation by Carol Evans formerly with the BLM in Nevada. She presented recently at the Society for Range Management in Sparks Nv. There was a packed crowd of 300 and a host of presenters. One group focused on bringing back the Emerald Isles using “beaver as tools” for restoration. All 30 presentations are now online, but I’m going to share two of my favorites. Feel free to browse any or all of the others.

Isn’t Carol wonderful? She should look familiar to you because she was the woman in that first part of the Leave it to Beaver documentary who wanted to show the stored water to Suzanne Fouty. Carol has the earnest, intelligent, friend-making cooperative style that I most admire. It’s no wonder she could turn hearts in beaver’s favor. One of those grizzled hearts in particular will be the other presenter whose talk I will share at the end of this post. Stay tuned.

Now for the sour. How long has it been since we mocked a truly self-righteous trapping article?  Too long, I said when I saw this in my inbox yesterday. Michael DeWitt of South Carolina wants you to understand that trappers are really much more than little angels of death, and work their dark magics for the benefit of all mankind.

Local trappers a boon to wildlife management

Not all heroes wear capes. Some cruise around in camouflage gear, driving beat-up, green Ford pickups with a dog box in the back that reeks of beaver musk and coyote scent.

Trappers like Jake Gohagan may not be considered heroes down at PETA headquarters, but they are to hunters, local landowners and wild game management-minded folks. Gohagan, a 26-year-old Scotia resident and avid outdoorsman, rides the railroad for CSX during the day but fights invasive species like the dastardly coyote at night. Gohagan has been hunting and fishing his entire life, but began trapping roughly 7-8 years ago.

See? Jake’s a hero! See why I couldn’t resist writing about this? I commented on the article yesterday but it’s been deleted three times as “spam”. I’m quite sure that what ever choice words I had for Jake and the curiously named Mr DeWitt, it wasn’t spam.

“The fur market is gone, there really isn’t a fur market anymore,” Gohagan said, as took this writer on board during a January run of his trap lines. “Everything we do anymore is to improve the wildlife habitat for hunting and farming.”

Native predators and “varmints” like the coyote (a much-unwanted invasive species to our area), fox, bobcat, raccoon, and the like threaten the populations of game animals like the whitetail deer, quail, and turkey, either through direct predation or through disturbing nests and consuming eggs. Hunting that centers around these game animals brings millions of dollars annually into our state, and these dollars pour into wildlife conservation programs that ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy fish and game in the coming generations.

“During my first year trapping, I took 26 coyotes,” Gohagan said. “Can you imagine how many fawns 26 coyotes can eat? In my opinion, trapping is the most crucial part of game management.”

Gohagan generally uses live traps or rubber-jawed traps to avoid unwanted injury to animals. Not all animals that are caught are harvested, some are relocated. He baits these traps with commercial baits, often made of meat glands, crawfish oil, or shellfish oil. The smellier the bait, the better. Gohagan also sets conibear and snare traps for otters, which can wreak havoc on the fish population in a farm pond, and beavers, which can be downright destructive and expensive to deal with.

Did you catch that? This modern day St. Francis catches coyotes because he’s worried they’ll eat fawns and they’ll be less deer to hunt. No I’m not kidding. And he catches OTTER because you know, they eat all the fish which means we can’t catch them!

And the beaver? We’ll they’re just downright destructive!

There aren’t many trappers around these here parts because, frankly, it’s hard work and there isn’t any money in it.

“It’s a lost art,” says Gohagan. “There are only a handful of us left. This involves a lot of early, cold mornings. You have to be out there every morning, checking your traps at daylight. By law, you have to check them every 24 hours…It’s a good bit of work and it ain’t for a lazy person, that’s for sure.”

I really really believe it. Serial killing is time consuming and not for the feint of heart.  Ruining nature takes a lot of time and effort and one has to climb into muddy waters and dark holes to get it done. You can’t just wait for death to come to you. You have to wake up and MAKE it!

Perhaps the most rewarding part of this interesting hobby—or mission, as Gohagan thinks of it—are the positive phone calls and remarks from hunters and landowners.

“My favorite part is hearing from the landowners about the number of fawns they are seeing, or their wildlife numbers going up. Plus, I just like outsmarting coyotes. I enjoy it and I wish more people would get involved in trapping. You get to spend time outdoors, away from society, and you get to help wildlife.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Help wildlife? Are you kidding me? “Please don’t help me, next” (Says every wild thing ever.)  I suppose I can imagine a little socipathic ‘Dexter” type praising his true calling by lying this way, but it is BEYOND me why any reporter worth his spit would write down the ridiculous lies he spouts as if it were true.

Megan Isadore says it’s because the trapping lobby is well-funded by the NRA and works hard to promote the North American Model (NAM) which emphasizes that trapping is necessary for wildlife conservation, This article and others like it is a symbol of their success.

Maybe. But I’m partial to the notion that these “man-crushes” seize reporters because they are sick of their desk jobs, copy machines and coffee cups and like to imagine themselves on the great frontier swinging a pelt over their shoulders. (more…)


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I recently learned that the author of this upcoming new book will be reading excerpts on stage at the beaver festival. He will also be tabling the event to sell and signing copies. Ben sent along this article and said it reminded him of my frequent remark that often people write articles advocating beavers without realizing it.

You can see why.

Can the World Find Solutions to the Nitrogen Pollution Crisis?

The world is using nitrogen fertilizer less and less efficiently. A greater proportion than ever before is washing into rivers and oceans. An environmental catastrophe looms, nitrogen scientists say, and the world urgently needs to develop strategies to prevent it.

The bottom line, many there concluded, was that we must halve the amount of nitrogen we dump into the environment by mid-century or our ecosystems will face epidemics of toxic tides, lifeless rivers, and dead oceans. And that to do that will require, among other things, almost doubling the efficiency of nitrogen use on the world’s farms.

A man collects snails amid a nitrogen-fueled algae bloom in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Image

Earth system scientists say nitrogen is the major factor in biogeochemical pollution, one of four “planetary boundaries” that we have exceeded, risking “irreversible and abrupt environmental change.” The world is attempting to address the other three: climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. But, says Sutton, a British researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh, nitrogen pollution is a largely ignored environmental story, with no international agreement or UN agency to galvanize action.

That fallout is all around us. In the United States, it is being felt in virtually all parts of the country — unleashing algal blooms in rivers from the Ohio to the Klamath in California; poisoning underground water reserves in California; leaving fish gasping for oxygen in Chesapeake Bay; and creating toxic “red tides” off the shores of Florida.

The Gulf of Mexico has a regular “dead zone,” where excess nitrogen stimulates so much aquatic plant growth that its eventual rotting consumes all the available oxygen, suffocating most other marine life. The zone arises from nitrogen pouring down the Mississippi from the grain fields of the Midwest. It typically extends each summer for 5,300 square miles. Last summer’s reached 8,800 square miles, the largest ever.

Raise your hand if you are thinking about the 2015 article by Lazar, Addy & Gold that observed that beaver ponds could remove as much as 45% nitrogen from the watershed.  In fact they stepped so far into heresy as to suggest that nitrogen removal should be considered one of the Ecosystem Services provided by beaver, and should be weighed against any other damage they might cause before a decision was made as to  their removal.

Sure. there are other things farmers can do to reduce nitrogen. They can apply it more carefully only at the roots of the plants or  use some of their land to create retention ponds of their own. But it’s not very hard to imagine there will eventally be some kind of formulae saying every so many acres you farm requires a nitrogen removal system in place.

Why wouldn’t any farmer vote to have that be beavers who will do it for free?


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Every child knows what “Build-a-Bear” is. Just ask them. Hardly a birthday party goes by that some classmate doesn’t invite them to tag along. It’s as american as apple pie, and every bit  as comericial as Disneyland.

I thought it was time they learn how to “Build-a-Beaver Pond” too.

Monday Amy G. Hall finished the art work for the “empty beaver pond” children will be filling with the wildlife stickers they gather at the beaver festival. Since  yesterday was the last day of a 40% off sale at Vistaprint I worked hard to get the  cards done so worth a dam would save a penny or two. These will be large glossy postcards that children will get from me to begin the activity.  They will also get a map showing which booths to visit to gather the stickers and told they need to say why beaver  ponds help that species to ‘earn’ that sticker.

The stickers will be under an inch and look like this, representing species that might be found on or under the water – or on the bank at a beaver pond. then the children can ‘place’ the stickers on the card where they belong and “Build” their own Beaver Pond.

 It has already been hinted that the Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee likes this idea and will be granting funds for this educational activity.  Now I just need to finish the stickers and chose the groups who will be handing them out!

Meanwhile, Amy has the hard job. She will be chalking a 10X10 illustration of the “filled beaver pond” in the park center. By the end of the day it will look something like this:


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Meanwhile in New York folks haven’t updated their attitudes about beavers or learned these new-fangled ideas on wrapping trees. They are sure that the only way to keep beavers from eating the trees at their scrubby little ‘park and ride’ is to bring in this gentleman,

Officials to trap beavers in Monroe Park.

MONROE – The beavers have been very busy, indeed, in the woods and pond at Mombasha Park. Between the trees that surround the pond are stump after stump after stump, each about 18 inches high and sheared at a 45 degree angle, as though by a hatchet.

Each is testimony to the nocturnal gnawing of beavers, who have been mowing down poplars and birches to fulfill their three missions: food, home and dam. Industrious and strong, these buck-toothed rodents weigh as much as a pit bull or a small goat, and can drag fallen timber through woods or paddle it across water to their lodges.

A natural marvel, yes. But also an occasional and persistent nuisance for humans.

One concern for Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone about the tree clearing at Mombasha Park was the sharpened stumps scattered through the woods – a potential safety hazard, he said, for people who wander off the walking trail that wends through the park.

But he also feared that the systematic removal of trees from the berm behind the park’s ball field ultimately would undermine the berm and the field itself.

The Monroe Town Board voted last week to enlist the services of licensed outdoorsman David Corrado, who had offered to trap some of Mombasha’s Park’s beavers at no charge to manage a growing population and limit the tree toll.

He is expected to set lethal traps near the active beaver lodge soon, in the midst of New York’s beaver trapping season and while the park is closed for the winter.

Corrado, on a recent walk through the park with Cardone and a reporter, pointed with a ruler to the many scattered stumps, inconspicuous at first but then obvious when your eyes drop to knee level

Do you detect a tone in that last paragraph?  Pointing beaver chews out with a ruler is a carefully written observation. I get the distinct feeling that this reporter thinks Corrado is a pratt. Don’t you?

Or maybe that’s just me. For the life of me I cannot understand why the city of Monroe, just 150 miles from Beavers:Wetlands and Wildlife can’t figure out how to put wire around a tree or pick up a paint brush. But what do I know?

Mostly I’m just busy thinking about the beaver festival. I was playing around with this idea yesterday for a new shirt, What do you think?