So yesterday I was idly thumbing though some news stories on beavers and I saw that Polk county in North Carolina is still hard at work trying to determine whether or not to allow trapping of fur-bearers.
They recently had a big meeting and brought in a bunch of experts for the local commissioners to hash out the subject and brought Deborah ODonell who talked about coyotes not eating pets was advocating flow devices to control beaver flooding.
Oh and the punchline? She works for USDA.
On beavers, ODonnell said Colleen Olfenbuttel, biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission told her about the BMAP program, which is not designed to eradicate beaver population but rather assist the N.C. Department of Transportation, local government and private landholders.
The program cost the participating county $4,000 annually, ODonell said with more than 45 counties currently participating. When someone has a conflict with a beaver, a federal employee will visit the area to assess the problem and offer solutions, including a flow device, tree management or trapping some of the beaver, ODonnell said. She said the program is used to supplement existing solutions in the county and not designed to put trappers out of business.
“In 2006 a survey found that trapping as a solution to beaver problems had a 79 percent failure rate within two years due to re-settlement by new beavers,” ODonnell told commissioners. “Conditions that attract beaver will always attract beaver.”
She added that flow devices are relatively cost-effective, low maintenance solutions that regulate the water level of dams and keep culverts open. An example of a flow device is a beaver deceiver, ODonnell said, which is a cage-like device that is installed into the dam and keeps the dam open.
A major goal of the BMAP is to educate the public and participating landholders about the best strategies for managing beaver damage including the pros and cons of removing beaver or using pond levelers, exclusion, or other non-lethal techniques.
Does all USDA have a program that teaches good sense about beavers? Have I been unjustifiably unkind to them all these years? Should I change my comments to reflect their good many deeds? Or maybe this is a special program that some states choose to ‘opt in’? Where can California sign up?
No where, it turns out. Because this program is limited to North Carolina.
Of course, you and I must have the same questions. How did a program like this get started in 2009 in NC? And why don’t we have one? Especially when South Carolina was famous for taking stimulus money to kill beavers? To the extent that I have any contacts at all, believe me when I say I am pursuing answers. In the mean time, we should all take a moment to get off our ‘California high- horse’ and salute the awesome talents of North Carolina.
Now an update an a heartfelt apology. If you undertook the challenge yesterday of Bruce Thompson’s beaver crossword puzzle you no doubt are aware of my deep, deep deficiencies. It turns out I am a terrible beaver blogger and have woefully unprepared all of you for facing the intricacies of beaver world. There is so much I cannot teach you because I, in fact, do not know. For instance, there’s number 16. across “How do beavers keep warm in the winter”(two words).
To which the answer apparently is BROWN FAT. Which apparently is a real thing explaining the adipose tissue of certain animals that aren’t born lucky enough to be able to shiver to stay warm. No, I’m not kidding. This is the kind of information that you, a devoted reader of a beaver website – yea the ONLY beaver website to be updated daily – should dam well expect to know. And I have let you down.
I’m so sorry. Things will be different in the future. I promise.