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

The Martinez Beavers

Day: March 3, 2012

I just heard from Ian Timothy and his family in Kentucky that they are okay even though the tornadoes devastated everything just 15 miles away. He says they knew it was coming and let school out early yesterday. You can imagine what a scary, windy wait they had and how grim and shaken everything feels now. Ian said he hadn’t been able to check yet on his local beavers and wondered how they fared. (Shudder) Maybe when things look less bleak that will give him a great inspiration for a courageous future Twigs adventure!

Worth A Dam wishes you all peaceful skies, gentle breezes and great community spirit to get you through the difficult days ahead.

Let’s say (and why not) that you were a mild mannered beaver advocate associated with arguably the most famous beavers in the golden state and a fairly impressive website. What if some unnamed media outlet  wanted your opinion on some internal memos obtained  into the dealings between a certain beaver-stricken city and the federal agency that usually handles such things. And that after getting mad, nauseated and breathing into a paper bag every 5 minutes while you’re reading this delightful list of beaver-bashings you notice that a major contract for the city isn’t with the beaver-trappers, or with the tree planters, or even with hydrologists.

It’s with the beaver-re-education squad, who will provide brochures, website content, and even classroom visits designed to teach residents how destructive beavers can be and overcome any natural compassion or curiosity in the populace. Money to combat people like…oh..say…ME.

Let’s say that you were to find out that this beaver disinformation campaign is not unique to any particular city, but is part of most every  beaver-management response once the public reacts negatively, or the media gets involved, or folks start spouting crazy-hugger humane ideas. Like Martinez for instance. Like the “expert” that suddenly showed up in our city and advised our city staff that flow devices always fail. Remember her? Let’s assume after seeing the amount of money that changes hands for a re-education campaign I have become more certain than ever that she didn’t come to Martinez for the view.

All of this is to say that information is power. And this website, with all its flaws and quirks – with all its solutions and stories and community, is powerful. The powers that be spend copious amounts of money to influence public opinion.  And we have spent very little money and re shaped public opinion in a way that will affect thinking about beavers for decades to come. Every time we’re in the news-cycle, or talk to folks at Earth Day, or someone looks up the website because they want humane solutions, or children explain what a keystone species is at the beaver festival to get a charm bracelet, I’m reminded how much.

I guess after all the horrific displays of stupidly reflexive thinking, it was nice to realize that a city spends a vast portion of its time and resources  thinking about the knotty problems caused by people like us.

Oh and check out Don’s lovely article about beavers in the Washoe newsletter. (Page 12) Hopefully we’ll make some new friends and I’ll find out some gossip about the beavers I’ve been watching for the past 7 years!