Bittersweet

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 8 - 2013

We are a full service station here at beaver central. We don’t sugar coat it or report only the bad news to get better ratings. Beaver stories are like any stories, sometimes they bring good news and sometimes not. Thank goodness the good news is coming more often these days.

I was raised Catholic so we better start with the bad news first:

That’s Byram Mississippi in case you were wondering. Not exactly a font of ecological wisdom but it’s on the nightly news so they must think there’s an ounce of interest in the story. If you go to the city’s website it opens explaining what forms you need to fill out if you want to be mayor/alderman.  I’m thinking I’ll pass.

Medium news? How about an update on our Bronx river beavers in New York. The first caused such a splash when he arrived, and another showed up the following year spawning tales of romance, but they haven’t been seen for a while and our friends who keep an eye on them have wondered what is happening.

The folks at the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx River Alliance had been wondering what was up with José and Justin, the beavers who first made headlines in 2007 when they turned up in the Bronx River – the first exemplars of New York’s state animal to be spotted alive in New York City in 200 years.

“We knew they were here, but they hadn’t been spotted for a while,” said Ann Rafalko, the garden’s director of online content. The garden’s Critter Cam, a motion-sensitive robot camera mounted in an undisclosed location in the garden’s 50-acre forest that flanks the river, has provided an answer.

It’s wonderful when folks realize beavers are good news and tell the media as media. Not exactly sure why these beavers have been named as if they’re a gay couple, but we’re very broad minded and don’t mind. The garden’s critter cam is going to be in for a surprise come this summer I think!

Now for some very excellent news!

Learning to coexist with beavers

The increased activity of beavers in and along streams of Northern California has gotten local landowners, public agencies and scientists talking about these large rodents. The beaver is best known for its iconic teeth, flat tail and lustrous fur. Scientific research also supports the idea that beavers are beneficial to restoring fisheries in the region.

One of the most significant benefits beavers provide to the environment are the dams they create. Unlike human-built dams, beaver dams provide critical wetland ecosystems and riparian habitats which benefit endangered and threatened species such as coho and Chinook salmon. Beaver activity also opens up the tree canopy, allowing sunlight to reach the water and support the growth of healthy algae and other aquatic plants.

So, beavers may be good for the fish, but what about humans? Private landowners have valid complaints that beavers are destroying trees on their property and causing flooding of fields.

Are you intrigued yet? What a great start to an article! Hand me some popcorn!

In order to answer these questions and more, the Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program will host a free workshop.

in Trinity County from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Volunteer Fire Hall in Douglas City, located near the Trinity River bridge on State Route 299 that intersects with State Route 3 at 100 Steiner Flat Road.

The event will include practical techniques for assessing and managing beaver dams while protecting property. The workshop is funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, and the guest speaker is a national expert from Massachusetts who specializes in balancing beaver activity and human interests.

That would be our old friend Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions who will be teaching the workshop on Saturday, visiting our local installer Ted Guzzi of Sierra Wildlife coalition Sunday, and coming to Martinez monday for a tour of the most famous beavers ever. If you’re wondering just how old of a friend Mike is, this is a letter from him in 2008 which ism so long ago I had not yet ‘inherited’ the website.

This is a letter from Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions to Heidi, but we really think it applies to everyone who has supported the beavers:Dear “Beaverlady”, ;-)

Your efforts are Herculean. It is so difficult to promote coexistence with beavers in an urban setting, especially one that is prone to flooding without beavers. Nevertheless, your efforts have given these beavers a fighting chance at survival.

Irregardless of the City’s final decision with the M. beavers I hope you can see that your efforts have had huge positive effects for not only the Martinez beavers, but also for beavers everywhere. Along with others, you personally have raised beaver awareness in the California masses. Not an easy task, and extremely important if our society is to evolve a better culture of coexistence with the animals on this planet.

I thought you should know how impressive your efforts and results have already been, because I know when a person is in the middle of a fight it is hard to see the entire battleground. I’m glad you are involved. Thanks.

All the Best,

Mike

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