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

The Martinez Beavers

Beaver Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them…

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Do you remember Teage O’connor? He was a faculty member of the University of Vermont who was interested in some local beavers and involving his students in studying their impact on the trees and pond. He installed some night cameras, corresponded with Worth A Dam, looked at information about flow devices. The Campus is located about 2 hours from Skip Lisle so I thought for sure things were going in the right direction. Then in December we read about kill traps being installed in the pond. And now this.

Melvin’s murder: the story

The UVM physical plant decided to take matters into their own hands by setting lethal traps that resulted in the death of one beaver.  The problem?

Physical plant employees did not realize that one of these furry little creatures had a name, Melvin, and was being studied by an environmental class on campus.

Of course they did it during winter break when the risk of student outcry would be at a minimum. Of course they chose to use kill traps rather than actually solve the problem. What boggles my mind is that Teage and his students did everything right.

After the death of Melvin, Green Mountain Animal Defenders (GMAD) stepped in to give the University proper mitigation strategies and the traps were quickly removed by the hired trapper.   A meeting took place between UVM, GMAD and John Aberth, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. They discussed future plans of the retention pond. Lori Keppler of GMAD proposed a water flow control device, better known as a “beaver deceiver.”

Traps have an 84 percent failure rate, while these beaver deceivers have a 97 percent success rate, Keppler said. The beavers will work until the water stops running, they do not like the noise of running water.  The resolution determined by the group was to let the beavers stay in the pond and see what they do come spring.

Well maybe this is a case of the wheels of justice turning more slowly than the wheels of bad decision. Teage just wrote and assures me that the University has arranged for a flow device to be installed in the spring. That the remaining beavers are fine and that no more will be killed. Okay then, I would advise you to believe it when you see it, but I can see you have some finely suspicious minds already working for your team. Go beavers!


Third diesel-drenched beaver found at spill site

Looks like a third beaver was found in the diesel soaked pond in Utah. You know there are more. I’m not hopeful for their chances at this point but they should definitely keep looking.

The beaver was found Wednesday evening. It was transported to the rehab center Thursday, where it is being treated for prolonged exposure to the leaked fuel, which coated its body.  The beaver’s skin was irritated, Erickson-Marthaler said, but responded well to a bath.

Keep looking for beavers, because grooming every night when you’re covered in Diesel is a death sentence, and I don’t mind saying it if nobody else will:

Beavers wrapped in towels are adorable.


Finally some lies from Alaska that I just HAD to include because the constant forehead slapping this story provoked is giving me a headache. Can it possibly be true that the Alaska department of fish and game really isn’t familiar with Michael Pollocks findings on beavers and salmon? Really? He did his internship and began his research in Alaska!

Mat-Su blames drift fishery for poor runs

Pat Shields, area management biologist for ADF&G, disputes Knowles’ claim that  while also targeting the commercial fisheries, listed high-seas bycatch and environmental issues, growing population in the Mat-Su and associated habitat issues, major flooding and invasive species like northern pike, although it did not mention problems with beaver dams restricting out-migration of smolt, which has been a persistent problem in the Susitna drainage, according to Shields.

“I’m not saying it’s all pike, we’re (ADF&G) not willing to only blame pike,” Shields said. “There are some habitat concerns, there are beaver dams. They’ve always been around, and of course we need to be concerned about harvest levels,” he noted.

Restricting out-migration? Really? I’ve heard the old yarn about salmon not being able to jump UP the dams, but do you honestly not know that rains and snow melt top dams and make it easy as pie for smolt to wash over the top? Let me get this straight: the ADF&Gs position is that it can’t be massive, money- raking,  inexpensive drift nets exploiting all the salmon, it has to be those pesky beaver dams that make it hard for smolt to swim downstream.

The mind reels. The jaw drops. The fingers type.