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The Martinez Beavers

Rhode Island goes ‘Martinez’

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Cumberland Officials Consider Killing Park Beavers

CUMBERLAND — A family of beavers has grabbed the attention of town officials, who are concerned that the dam it built on Sylvie’s Brook near the athletic fields at Diamond Hill Park will lead to flooding problems in the area. They also are concerned about the beavers causing tree damage in the popular park.

Their idea to trap and kill the animals, however, is being called cruel and inhumane by some area residents.  Local resident Deborah Vine-Smith is among those concerned the beavers will be killed. “Aren’t we supposed to be compassionate to wildlife?” she asked.

Wait! I know this story! Doesn’t the city say “beavers need to be killed” and residents say “Find another solution!” And the city says, “There is no solution but the FINAL solution”.

After reading a story in the April 17 edition of The Valley Breeze, Smithfield resident Nicole Waybright sent an e-mail to DEM that read, in part, “Is there another alternative? I can picture the town making a quick, zero-researched decision. Can something be done to prevent this tragedy? Acre by acre of R.I. is being developed. … I sometimes wonder where the animals will go. People see them as ‘nuisances,’ but is the answer to kill or destroy animal after animal for human comfort until extinction? There must be a way for park wildlife, environment and humans to co-exist without destruction.”

Go get the popcorn. I think this is going to get good. Rhode Island is not exactly a beacon state when it comes to beavers. This could be a turning point. Now shh, listen to this.

Fellow Smithfield resident Jim Bastian was so upset after reading the same story that he fired off an e-mail to various media organizations across the state, including ecoRI News.

“Once again, the arrogance and cruelty of human beings towards nature shows its ugly head,” he wrote. “Cumberland officials are moving towards killing the family of nuisance beavers that reside in their park. Isn’t that a great example of our handling of nature? Isn’t it a park … where we want wildlife to have at least something of a safe haven so on weekends we can ‘get back to nature?’ Or do we really mean, a very controlled nature where we force it to meet our petty narrow perimeter of what we need nature to be? It is not animals that are the nuisance, once again it is human beings.”

Ahh, Jim. Nicely said. Now you just need about fifty more letters from school teachers and senior citizens and a girl scout troop and maybe a local sheriff. I’m serious. Let me tell you in Martinez we found out that getting solutions is easy. Preventing flooding is easy. Solving problems is easy. And protecting trees is easy.

But educating city officials is hard, hard, hard work.

You’re off to a great start. Sounds like you might already have a friend in Mr. Brown

Charles Brown, a wildlife biologist for the state in the management of furbearers wrote that “beavers are often referred to as a keystone species because of their ability to alter the landscape and create wetland habitat beneficial to a variety of wildlife species.”

See if you can bring Brown on board to install a flow device. Get some third graders to help wrap trees. Martinez advice to Rhode Island is to stay vocal and do your homework. And maybe you should watch this from about 45 minutes on.

Click photo to watch an amazing civic beaver meeting

Good luck!