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

The Martinez Beavers

Thank goodness!

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I’m going to start the morning right by offering your first full plate of the day. It all starts out with a little beaver-stupid from Massachusetts. This time in front of the incomprehensibly- named school “Pompositticut”.

Beavers living large in Pompo

Felled trees that are clearly visible at the front of Pompo. Inset: Square teethmarks are evident on this tree trunk, along with the wood shavings the beaver left behind. Ann Needle

Yes, even as humans have vacated Pompo, beavers are snapping up prime real estate, tax-free, around the building. Told of the potential activity, Animal Control Officer Susan Latham wrote off the notion that lack of humans would have anything to do with an increase in the furry tenants. Instead, Latham explained, “Beaver go where beaver go — they are not shy animals” (easy for an animal possessing fangs). “This is the time of year when beaver are chomping and storing away food for the winter. And the pond is pretty deep [in back of Pompo]; I assume there must be beaver dams in there somewhere.”

Assistant Superintendent of Streets Scott Morse agreed that it is not an empty Pompo calling to the rodents. “We’ve been trapping out of there a lot of years.”  Beaver possess cute snoods and appear on the class ring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — but all of this failed to impress Morse, who apparently knows what it takes to keep the creatures under control and, thus, Stow’s drains working. He estimated that beavers have been a town-wide problem for about a decade, a timeline he maintained coincides with changes in the state trapping regulations.

Now here is something to be thankful for and we should all pause a moment to reflect. Often in my daily forays into the rocky terrain of beaver-stupid I worry. What if there’s nothing left to write about? What if everyone has learned better? What if, after nearly 2000 columns I have said everything there is to humanly say about beavers? And then something like this comes along. Something that I, in my infinite capacity to mock, could not have made up. A cornucopia of stupid, if you will, and I realize I have been chasing a deeply renewable resource.

Where to begin? Killing beavers at a school?  Snood? Fangs? Low-hanging fruit I say. Let’s go right for the top.


Need I say more?

Now onto some inspiration:

County Hopes beaver deceiver will help prevent breach near Duvall

County workers hiked in Wednesday to a beaver dam that breached two weeks ago. A dam that beavers had already rebuilt in the last week.

They brought in mesh wiring that will be part of a contraption called a “beaver deceiver,” a 20 foot, 18-inch wide pipe installed in the dam. It will allow water to flow out, and maintain the water level. It was installed with the help of the Washington Conservation Corps.

“The assumption is that the beavers will try to build right on top of the beaver deceiver,” said Don Althauser, emergency response supervisor for King County Stormwater Management. “But they won’t block the pipe we put into the damn.[sic]”

Ahh Kings County! Ahh Washington! You are the most noble beaver pragmatists on the planet and we admire your cheerfulhard work and civic effort. An impossibly long time ago their excellent webpage about beavers was just about the only information to be found on the subject. Now we’re grading on a curve so we’ll forgive them calling their installation a “beaver deceiver” (which it clearly is not). Obviously there’s beavers and deception of some kind involved so I guess that’s close enough for government work.

I am, still, a little mystified that someone at the news copy editing department feels the need to swear in this story.

“we put into the damn.[sic]”

Are there really people who spell Hoover Dam with an “n”? Or is it just because everyone gets so mad about beavers?


Room for pie? Finally I thought I’d keep tradition and remind myself of some beaver things I’m grateful for this year. Feel free to add your own!

    1. Our paper(s) on historic prevalence were published.
    2. Children and adults wearing tails at Earth Day this year.
    3. The Beaverettes and Mark Comstock’s excellent song at the beaver festival.
    4. The field trip with gifted students from Palo Alto
    5. Cheerful, thoughtful, receptive audiences i.e. Sonoma and Rossmoor.
    6. Four beaver festivals nation wide this year (and counting)
    7. Moses filming 6 otters at once and rescuing the kingfisher
    8. Lindsay Wildlife Museum taking care of the kingfisher and giving it multiple surgeries
    9. The massive girl scout onefunhudred day
    10. 60,000 hits on dad’s beaver movie
    11. Thomas Knudson at the Sacramento Bee and his reporting on USDA
    12. Martinez beavers on Huffington Post
    13. The good people at Blue Host fixing the website after the crash
    14. Chris Kapsalis coming up with the idea to cut the beaver out of plywood
    15. Bob Rust’s inflatable beaver at the festival
    16. Martinez Beavers in Psychology Today
    17. Kiwanis for donating to our charm activity
    18. Martinez Beavers in the Atlantic
    19. 17 podcast interview with beaver experts on Agents of Change
    20. A NEW KIT!!!!!!!!!!!!