Singing their praises

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 28 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

I love days like today. There are two new wonderful beaver stories and one rotten trapper story. So since we’re rich with choices, I’m not going to cover the trapper story. You already knows what it says. Rugged brave trapper has different life and we need him because the beavers are so populaty. And trapping is such hard work because the beavers got away and he has to come back tomorrow. Blah blah blah.

Now let’s talk about the good stuff.

Looking at that report, I’d say that the media is definitely on the beaver side. And every viewer who watches that will be too. Derek Gow does a perfect job of sounding reasonable. Which is just what’s needed. When this is over he should personally send a thank you note to DEFRA for being such assholes that everyone agreed with him in protest.

Good work!

Beavers do landscaping for Alberta family

Capture

 After years of trying unsuccessfully to build a pond on their property, an Alberta family decided to call in some experts — beavers.

 Pierre Bolduc and Sara Wiesenberg moved their family to an acreage about 10 kilometres southeast of Bragg Creek because Wiesenberg wanted space to ride horses and be close to nature. Bragg Creek is about 40 kilometres southwest of Calgary.

 Bolduc wanted to build a pond on the property, in part so he and his sons could play hockey on the ice in the winter. He spent four or five years trying.

 Finally, he decided he needed help.

 He hired a trapper to move beavers onto his property. According to provincial regulations, permits are required to remove beavers from your land, but not to move them on.

I love this story, and love that someone finally hired a trapper for a good purpose. It was posted back in July but sent to me yesterday by our friend Donna Dubreuil from the Ottawa-Carton Wildlife Centre. I’m sure that the pond is frozen now, and Mr. Bolduc is skating on that ice with his sons while we speak.

A very cheering beaver story from Alberta without Glynnis Hood’s name in it. And lord knows that doesn’t happen very often!

LATE BREAKING

Devon Beavers given 5 year license to stay in England and be studied. Whooohoo!

Beaver family allowed to stay on Devon river

Beavers living on the River Otter in Devon will be allowed to remain living in the wild, if free of disease.

Government agency Natural England has decided to award the Devon Wildlife Trust a five-year licence to manage the animals, on a trial basis.

The animals must first be trapped and tested to ensure they are a European species and free from tapeworm.

 This is the first time such permission has been given to re-introduce a mammal previously extinct in England.

The Drama in Devon

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 27 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

The news from Devon is getting more and more interesting, and what once looked like a quick DEFRA victory, is turning into a marathon battle over public interest. I’m just excited its still being discussed.

Beaver debate needs to focus on the long term

For creatures no one ever sees or hears, they are creating a clamorous stampede. The fact that there are beavers on River Otter is in no doubt – you can see evidence of their engineering works in several areas – but it is the human debate which is mounting over their future that is beginning to echo so loudly down this peaceful Devon valley.

Should the wild beavers in the area be allowed to remain for a test period of five years, or should they be rounded up and carted off to some wildlife park? That is the question which Natural England and DEFRA will be deciding on next week and, as the clock ticks towards beaver heaven or hell, so the increasing voices of opinion can be heard resounding across the media and the internet.

Ahh the citizens of Devon made such a clamor! I remember those days in Martinez. And hopefully our noisy dilemma made some observable difference to what is happening. Certainly it showed that public opinion can push the debate. When the people lead the leaders will follow. But not right away. First they have to exhaust all the possible options for refuting/marginalizing/ignoring them.

We saw that in Martinez too.

The UK’s leading beaver expert, Devon-based Derek Gow, told the WMN that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, had directed Natural England to made a decision on the “basis of science and evidence alone”.

 “If they do so on this basis then the mists of myth and misunderstanding which have swirled around this issue for so long will simply vanish leaving only one clear answer,” said Mr Gow. “Although their decision may seem insignificant involving, as it does a tiny, very fragile, population of beavers, it is in reality momentous.

 “It will give us the opportunity to set an example of tangible tolerance we have never attempted before, by re-establishing in its rightful environment this creature we once slaughtered recklessly.”

 Mr Gow said he had “no doubt” that beavers could exist in British landscapes but only if their presence was “competently handled”.

 “Beavers can be trying. Their engineering abilities can conflict with our interests but the truth is that they create environments which abound in wildlife, retain water, prevent flooding and assist in the restoration of cleaner river systems.

Derek has been a beacon of beaver strength in the area since before this began. We have followed his advocacy for beaver benefits for years now, and I’ve very excited he’s presenting on the matter at the State of the Beaver Conference next month.  Since I’ll have a front row seat for that particular discussion, you will too.

 4:15 pm −5:00 pm Return of the Beaver to Britain

Derek Gow, Consultancy Ltd. Devon, Britain

The article ends with an emphasis on needing to have tools for ‘management’ of beaver presence in England. Of course management is a euphemism for ‘lethal trapping’.

Dr. Bridgewater went on: “What we should be focussing on – where the debate is – is that 20 or 30 years down the line their numbers may well have expanded. They will move up the catchment, and between catchments. Everyone needs to be aware that is the case. It is not a car-crash – you can manage them, there are good management techniques – but it is a matter of everyone knowing what they are getting into.

 “If I have a concern it is about communication – people might think having the beavers is fantastic and support it – but they might not necessarily support the management.

 Very ominous Dr. Bridgewater. And kind of silly. Do you honestly think that a country that tolerates the regular culling the most beloved animal in the entire United Kingdom isn’t going to be ready to take out a few lumpy beavers? How much work does the advance team really need to do on the issue?

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I’m OK you’re not OK – lahoma…..

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 26 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

I think saving beavers is a hard work. But there are two things that are harder, and I constantly thank my lucky stars that I escaped their fates.

1) saving coyotes.

2) saving beavers in Oklahoma.

Our beaver friend in Tulsa the Skunk Whisperer wanted to donate his services to install a flow device after he saw Mike’s DVD and he still couldn’t find a single land owner willing to live with the beavers for free. In the entire state. A state that has had more droughts than it has vowels, no less. If it please the court, I offer this mornings article as supporting evidence.

Beaver problems in pond dams

Dam problems can turn into big problems.

Capture1“The typical Oklahoma farm pond dam was built with too narrow of a top and is too steep sided,” said Marley Beem, Oklahoma State Univesrity Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist. “Such ponds are at high risk of failing when animals burrow into the dam.”

 Beaver can cause great amounts of damage by excavating bank burrows, causing internal erosion and threatening the structural integrity.

 Capture “Pondowners need to keep a watchful eye out for beaver activity so they can catch any damage early or prevent it,” said OSU Cooperative Extension Wildlife Specialist, Dwayne Elmore. “

 “First, I would recommend calling USDA Wildlife Services to see if they might be able to send out a trapper.” Elmore said. “Beaver are not too difficult to trap if you have a little experience. But, if you miss them in a trap, they are very tough to get, so you need to get them on the firsttry.”

 If Wildlife Services cannot help, pond owners can take matters into their own hands by trapping or night shooting.

 “I advise shooting, as the only legal trap a private landowner can use is a leg hold trap in a drowning set, which is a little tricky,” he said. “Night shooting works well but you will need to call the county Conservation Officer and/or sheriff to let them know what you are doing.”

 Using a shotgun is preferred and is much safer when shooting at water. Once the pest has been eradicated, repairs to the pond dam can commence.

This remarkable advice has been recorded in the local paper and passed on to all concerned farmers. I’m sure most of them are already waiting at the FEMA office to get in line early for their next drought assistance. Both of these sage professors are from the Natural Resources and Ecology Management Department at Oklahoma State University. No, really. I think the word ‘ecology’ might have a different meaning there.

It must mean ‘use a shotgun’.

That being said, one thing that surprises me is that, as little as OK knows about beaver,  they still know better to allow cows access to ponds in Oklahoma while we still bravely do it in our East Bay Regional Parks!

It must be almost February, because there’s a report this morning about a beaver on the highway in Vancouver. Ahh disperser season! An officer escorted him off the highway and into a park. Which I think is my very favorite job for the police.

Beaver blocks traffic in West Vancouver

Traffic at one West Vancouver intersection ground to a halt on Monday morning after a slow moving beaver decided to cross the road.

Drive safely!

Making beavers count

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 25 - 20151 COMMENT

We’ve talked before about the hero from Pocatello that managed to get Audubon to provide a grant for a beaver count in the habitat in Idaho. Mike Settell is a friend of this  website and pulled off his own musical beaver festival last summer (the dam jam!). Now he’s in the news again, training volunteers for a snowy beaver count.

 Story

Locals Prepare for Beaver Count

 Watershed Guardians began training Saturday for their fourth annual Beaver Count.  The Beaver Count is a free winter event where teams snowshoe, ski or hike through various drainages in the Portneuf Watershed to count Beaver activity.

 KPVI News Six met with them on Saturday up at Mink Creek to learn more about their role in Beaver sustainability.  Members from the Watershed Guardians prepared lunch in a yurt for volunteers coming back from training for the 4th annual Beaver Count.

 The training was held at Mink Creek’s Nordic Center. 

While the volunteers trained, they learned about the Beaver’s role in a healthy watershed and the current state of the Beaver in Idaho.  Watershed Guardian volunteer Joan Bernt says training the volunteers is essential for the Beaver Count.

 “The other thing is, is we want to make sure that people realize what they are looking for when they are looking for an active beaver colony. Just because they see a dam, that doesn’t mean that’s an active live Beaver maintaining that dam,” says volunteer, Joan Bernt.

 The Beaver Count consists of teams surveying different zones in the area where they will be looking for Beaver activity such as fresh cuts where beaver have chewed on trees, Beaver tracks in the snow and Beaver dams and lodges.

Hooray for Mike and the Watershed Guardians! And congratulations for luring the good folks of Idaho into the snow to appreciate beavers! It’s wonderful to think of folks learning how to keep an eye on the beavers around them and hearing why they matter.  I espsecially love the part where the article emphasizes the event is FREE. It reminds me a little of Tom Sawyer or P.T. Barnum.

This way to the Egress.

Great job fanning the beaver flame, and I’m thrilled the reporter added this at the end.

Mike Settell says the data collected from the Beaver Count will be presented at ‘State of the Beaver’ conference in Canyonville Oregon in February.

I can’t wait! See you there, Mike! And good work reminding people why to care about beavers!

Now on to Beaver appreciation in New Hampshire where a trip in the snow reminds folks that beavers are under the ice.

A trip to beaver lodges

HOLDERNESS, N.H. —One of the benefits of all this rain and cold weather is that it has allowed us to do some ice skating and exploring on our local bogs and ponds in the region.

Recently, we went on a beaver lodge tour of Hawkens Pond in Center Harbor and Holderness and were able to admire up close these houses made of sticks and mud. At the very top of the lodge you could see the chimney of sorts. Rime ice was collecting, indicating something warm inside was exhaling into the atmosphere

Their presence is a good indicator of a healthy habitat. Beaver flowages are important habitat for many other species including great blue herons, osprey, kingfisher, mink, otter and muskrat.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s beaver appreciation in Arizona, Idaho and New Hampshire in the past two days. Not to mention the usual defenders in Washington and New York. I’m thinking its past time we adopt Dean’s “50 State Strategy”.

stencilTime to congratulate my brilliant husband and beaver man-Friday who undertook the impossible task of cutting out a stencil so we could spray paint our keystone tails. My brain couldn’t even imagine the task of cutting away the shapes you wanted to remain but he boldly finished a design and knocked of 25 of these.

Just 125 more to go!

One of the final benefits of shining the beaver light so steadily and strong for so many years is that there is now an international army of folks keeping watch for beaver treasures around the world. Peter Smith of Kent England posted this find this morning, which I promise will make you smile. Enjoy!

Beaver treats

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 24 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

 Beaver making an Arizona comeback

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A beaver lodge built into the bank of the San Pedro River indicates the presence of the aquatic rodents, which were reintroduced to the river in 1999. About 50 beavers inhabit the San Pedro National Conservation Area.

“A hundred-and-fifty years ago, it was called the Beaver River because there were so many beavers,” said Dutch Nagle, former president of the Friends of the San Pedro River, an organization that promotes the conservation of the river.

Thanks to reintroduction efforts by the Bureau of Land Management beginning in 1999, an estimated 50 beavers now roam the waters of the San Pedro. The beavers have built dozens of dams that slow the river’s flow and create ponds. Along with raising the water table near the river, the slack water provides increased habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

 One of the species that prospers from the beavers’ tireless dam-building is the lowland leopard frog. “Historically, I’m sure there was a very close relationship between beavers and leopard frogs,” said Mike Sredl, who leads the ranid frog projects for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Along with environmental factors such as tree density and the availability of food, beaver behavior can have a significant impact on the number of birds along a river.

“The beaver contribute most in defining how many birds are in an environment, and the reason for that is they change the environment,” said Van Riper, who is the co-author of a study that examines the effects the reintroduced beavers have had on various bird species.

Great work from our beaver friends on the San Pedro! It is lovely to read about the difference beaver can make – especially in arid land. Of course the article takes time to whine a bit about how there are also more bullfrogs and non-natives but I don’t think anyone really takes that seriously anymore. I know I don’t. It’s like saying we shouldn’t repair our roads because it makes it easier for thieves to get away from the police.

The thing we want matters infinitely more than the thing we don’t.

In case, you, like me, are dying to look at Van Riper’s bird study, the whole thing is available here. It’s a very interesting read, but I think overly cautious about the benefits of beavers. For example, they note they “can’t conclude whether” the increase in biodiversity near beaver activity represents beaver effects, or just beaver CHOOSING richer habitat to settle in.

(Sheesh. Because you know how those lazy opportunistic beavers are -  always picking the nicest neighborhoods to move in. Grr.) The report generously concludes that at least beavers did not appear to make anything worse.

Beaver reintroduction did not appear to have detrimental effects on any species of conservation concern and, in fact there was evidence that a breeding bird community is more abundant and more diverse where beavers were present.

Mighty white of you, I’m sure.

_______________________________________

Now for an unmitigated treat, check your insulin levels first, because this is too sweet to be believed. The kit is at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma WA and her grape-testing made TIME this morning. Her name is Hazel.

Still, if you think its cute when beavers in zoos eat grapes, you should see what it looks like when wild beavers eat strawberries.

Yearling eating Strawberries - Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Yearling eating Strawberries – Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Scottish Fish-joker: Inkity Pinkety

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 23 - 2015Comments Off

Tweedian Comedian obviously.

Maybe you were unaware that Tweed is not just a fabric for elderly professors but a River in southern Scotland and the district along it. The Tweed Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to maintaining and supporting its fish.

The Foundation is regarded as being at the forefront in bringing a more professional, scientific approach to salmonid management. It is engaged in an extensive programme of biological research, monitoring and habitat enhancement with the aim of protecting Tweed’s valuable fish stocks and maximising the river’s natural productivity.

I’d thought we’d pay them a little visit today because the Tweed Foundation happens to have a whole page just dedicated to frequently asked questions regarding beavers and fish. All those beaver-wary anglers in the UK have to get their worries from somewhere don’t they? I know after reading this website for a while you have come to expect certain creative liberties with the truth. But trust me, you never expected this. Apparently the entire section is  just a  ‘dare’. They claim they asked the Scottish Wildlife Trust for answers about the effect on salmonids and didn’t get them, (or didn’t get answers they liked.) So they boldly answered those questions themselves.

In December 2007 the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards formally asked the Scottish Wildlife Trust, to whom the Knapdale licence for the introduction has been granted, for a number of issues to be addressed so that an informed position could be arrived at before a trial was commenced. To date no response has been received. The unanswered questions that were drawn up are given here.

 In the absence of any response to the questions posed, the Foundation has researched the scientific literature. The results are presented as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

That’s 8 years without answers! And you know, no angler likes a vacuum. Why read actual research when rumor and gossip is so much more satisfying? Let’s start with this delightful question. Guess what the answer is. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Do Beavers cause problems for fish?

Yes. Beavers are interesting animals particularly because they have a great capacity to change habitat that does not suit them into habitat that does. This mainly involves changing shallow water into deeper pools by damming streams. These dams can then prevent or restrict spawning fish from getting further upstream in Autumn.

All this bogus research you’ve been hearing out of NOAA is finally revealed for the facade it was! It takes a handful of fishermen from Melrose to finally tell the truth about those wicked beavers and their fish-restricting ways. I think Michael Pollock would be especially interested in this question;

Has the subject of Beavers and fish been well researched?

No. While it has been claimed that there is a “wealth” of research on this topic, this is specifically contradicted by statements in the scientific literature. There is indeed much research on beavers themselves, however there is little on the topic of Beaver dams and their impact on migratory fish. Such research as there is shows that Beaver dams can cause significant problems for fish, particularly when autumnal rainfalls are low. 

Well! I guess that will teach Michael a thing or too! All those papers he writes for all those pretend scientific journals hardly make a difference. I mean just because a man is respected and honored in print and in person, doesn’t mean anything. And, really, NOAA itself is such a fly-by-night suspicious organization, obviously the Tweedians know better.

All the questions are exactly that much fun, so you should go read them at your leisure. Better yet, let’s make it a drinking game! Invite some friends, do a shot every time they say the word ‘obstruct’. When they say the word ‘research’ take a hit. This will be a lot of fun, but we’ll all be wrecked tomorrow.

It occurs to me that even in our hung-over state,  our beaver comprehension will still exceed Tweed.

tweed

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain
— Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 106–108

Beaver Pioneers

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 21 - 2015Comments Off

Nice find this morning from Rickipedia who came across this article from 1983 showing that human settlements were chosen because of beaver landscaping. I would follow where the beaver colonized, wouldn’t you? They proposed that beaver were essential in determining not only water course, but deforestation that allowed both farming and rancing to begin. Read full article here:

Homo sapiens or Castor fiber?

This article shows how environmental evidence for European stone age fore st clearance may require  re-interpretation, and that change need not be attributed only to climate or man. Observations in North America and Europe show the beaver to be a significant agent of land transformation. The authors suggest that both hunters and farmers took advantage of the opportunities thus presented, and a few hints are provided about their detection and the implications for the Mesolithic and early Neolithic of north-western Europe. 

J.M. COLES & B. J. ORME

Now something really delightful to mark your day. I just wish we were all invited to the party of Mr. Knuckles. But who knows? What do you think they’ll do with this invention after the party’s over? How about a tax deductible donation to a certain beaver festival?

Stars, indie films and a mechanical beaver: What to watch for at the Sundance Film Festival

And Canadian coat company Moose Knuckles is hosting a party where guests are invited to ride a mechanical beaver. (If that doesn’t scream photo op…)mb-001Ooh, Scary.

A final word of welcome to stalwart beaver hero Rusty Cohn from Napa who generously volunteered to learn in the following weeks how to post photos and articles on the website to take over for me during the conference, when I’ll be sans wifi.  It’s harder than you might think to do this every morning, but Rusty has some great stuff to share and I know you’ll be in good hands. Just giving you a heads up in case he decides to start practicing any time soon.

Thanks Rusty!