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

The Martinez Beavers

New friends in high places…

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Beaver at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks on Flickr.

Appreciate our furry ecosystem engineers

by Malcolm Kenton

The DC area’s beaver population has boomed in the past 20 years, and that’s a great thing.  It’s a sign that our region’s waterways, having suffered from decades of channelization, pollution, neglect and mismanagement, are starting to regain their ecological health, though much work remains to be done.

The industrious creatures’ presence brings challenges when their work conflicts with human activity, but beavers, which biologists recognize as a keystone species, benefit the environment far more than many people realize.

Well? Is that not the best thing that ever came out of Washington? Are you hooked? Go read the whole thing just in case he gets credit for the number of hits it generates. I will wait right here.  You know someday there will be dozens of regional sites about beavers, and will just be one of many. Then you can decide every morning to read about beavers in the north, or in the great plains, or beavers from a more ecological or scientific perspective. Right now I’m the only game in town but don’t think I don’t know those days are numbered.

Shhh this is my favorite part:

But perhaps the best-known “downtown beaver” success story comes from Martinez, California, a Bay Area city that rehabilitated part of the creek that runs through the center of town. When a beaver colony established itself there in 2008, the local government threatened to have them removed. But citizens’ organization Worth a Dam rose to the creatures’ defense, and the city has come to celebrate its newfound furry, feathered and finned denizens, which have even attracted visitors from around the country and overseas (many of whom arrive on Amtrak).

Did you just get a tingle from your spine to your toes? That’s US! (It was 2007 and not 2008 but who cares!) I absolutely love the fact that its 6 years later and folks are still finding out that cities can work to live with beavers. Thanks so much Malcolm. Really, go read the whole thing. I met him on facebook and when he was kind enough to send his comments on beavers as a surrogate species he described himself thusly;

I’m an urban environmentalist and animal advocate. I grew up in Greensboro, NC, where I double-majored in Political Science and Environmental Studies at Guilford College.

Go say ‘hi’ to Malcolm and welcome him to team beaver. You will be hearing more from him when I get around to posting a collection of comments recommending beavers as a surrogate species. This is a busy beaver time, it seems. I have too many things to tell you about every morning.

But this can’t possibly wait. Jon saw a small beaver working on the secondary dam yesterday morning. Spring is here! Yeah!

Beaver carrying mud: Photo Cheryl Reynolds