Folks you know might play tricks on you today, and tell you you’re shoes untied or there was an eviction notice on the porch. But not me. I am only going to tell you the absolute truth. It just seems unbelievable.
Over 50 volunteers braved chilling wind and 40-degree temperatures to plant new trees at Greenbelt’s Buddy Attick Park and wrap cages around trees to protect their bark from the bite of local beavers.
Saturday saw the largest volunteer turnout ever, according to city officials.
“In Greenbelt, we’re really passionate about our tree canopy, and to see so many volunteers coming out for this is a reflection on the dedication and passion all of you have,” said Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan.
Volunteers planted white oak, spice bush, black oak, persimmon, paw-paws and other trees, and they placed wire mesh cages around many of the young trees to protect them from beaver predation.
In addition, the red twig dogwood was planted specifically to feed the beavers, and next year — when the dogwoods have settled in — the cages will be removed, said Greenbelt horticulturist Brian Townsend.
Not only are the smart volunteers in Maryland wrapping trees instead of killing beavers, they are actually PLANTING TREES FOR THEM TO EAT in the future! How wonderful is that? Apparently they have some university volunteers as well as their own Americorp coordinator, and they’re even using the right kind of wire. I couldn’t be happier.
What was made by man over a decade ago has evolved into a natural habitat.
“It’s a constructed wetland to replace a creek that was where the mall is now. It looks so natural,” Dianne Wassenich with the San Marcos River Foundation said. “It’s amazing and it has crawdads, it has beaver, it has lots of birds. It’s a great habitat now.”
Normally, the creek is a narrow strip of water, but a beaver dam has caused the water to pool. The beavers have been seen coming in and out of their home, but things aren’t always beautiful.
“With the creek coming under the freeway, the trash coming off of the freeway, and then any stuff blowing in from the outlet malls or people leaving the outlet malls, it tends to accumulate trash,” Kirwin said.
For the second time this year, volunteers have cleaned the site, hauling dozens of bags of trash out of the water.
Click on the image for a nice video about the work and habitat. Apparently folks could even get excited about beaver in Texas. I’m reminded of the Detroit river when they were sooo happy to see beaver come back on the landscape. Beavers are slightly better than pollution, for a while but just wait. The cynic in me says they’ll be complaining about them in no time.
How about some surprising news closer to home?
In March 15, Kim Cabrera, who runs a website devoted to tracking, spotted beaver sign on the South Fork of the Eel River.
Rain had softened the sand where the impressions were discovered south of Dyerville but Cabrera, an experienced tracker, is confident that the signs belong to a beaver. (See photo to the left.)
Cabrera says that even though no beaver dams have been spotted in the area doesn’t mean that there aren’t beavers. According to her website,
”Beavers do not always build dams. They can live on a river and use burrows and eat vegetation without building any structures. Look for their tracks and signs along sandy river banks. You might find areas where limbs have been dragged into the water. Beavers will come ashore and gnaw off branches then take these back to eat later. Look along the shores for branches showing the tooth marks of these large rodents.”
Great news! Kim is a facebook friend and I asked about this. She said she’s been hiking the area for 20 years and this is the first beaver sign she’s seen!
This is a range expansion. Beaver have not been on the South Fork for many years. In my 20 years of tracking along this river, it is the first find of a beaver track here. I was so happy when I found it!It was the weekend before last. I am really hoping that they continue to disperse up the South fork! It would be so awesome to see them coming back!
Ready to welcome beavers with open arms. (Much better than firearms.) Thank you to Kim who spread the word and Eli who sent the article my way. I’m always happiest when folks think beavers are good news rather than the contrary.
Mind you, beaver footprints, (especially REAR foot prints), are very rare. In 8 years of watching our beavers that we know are present every day I think we’ve seen clear rear tracks a handful of times. Which might suggest that just because you haven’t seen them in 20 years, it doesn’t mean they’re not there!
Ohh Alright! I’ll give you ONE April Fools Headline. I was honestly so excited when I saw this:
Where do I sign up to study beaver psychology? That sounds amazing!