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

The Martinez Beavers

Otterly Ruined

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Worth A Dam was at the ready with lenses poised for Kitwatch 2013, but an unexpected visitor changed the entire night.

Otter on flow device: Photo Ron Bruno

Last night the otter wasn’t ON the pipe, but IN the pipe using it as a tunnel to get over the dam and eat all the fish in the pond. Mom and Dad weren’t happy about this carnivore in their midst and there was a round of tail slapping and water charging. Now a lot of beaver advocates will defend staunchly that otters don’t eat beaver and that the literature on this is ‘controversial’. But the beavers don’t appear to think so. They react with what appears to be very stern alarm when the otters show up in June. The otters might be there for a fish run and have no interests in kits at all, but the beavers don’t care. They don’t ask questions. They just defend. The little otter suddenly remember something he had to do very far away and hightailed it away from the pond. But the beavers remained jumpy and no kits were allowed to emerge and even Jr tried his hand at a very novice tail slap.


Enough cheer and kitcentrism, we have important beaver jobs to do out here in Castorfornia. Take for example this depressing revisit. I say revisit because we talked about this story back in November, when I took six hours to find the addresses and personally write  everyone involved and told tell them how to solve their problem.

Eagle Ranch on beaver watch

EAGLE – High water flows in Brush Creek from spring runoff might take care of the beaver problem that flared up in Eagle Ranch last fall.  A rapidly expanding population of beavers was building dams in the residential area, killing trees and clogging storm ponds that are part of a pollution-control system.  “With the high water, the beavers likely went up or downstream,” said Eagle Open Space Director John Staight.

Stacy Chase of Chase Wildlife LLC in Gypsum — the company Eagle hired to monitor and mitigate the beaver problem — said she is waiting to see how many beavers move back to the area after runoff. “There’s one dam we’re actively monitoring and at least one beaver that we know of in the area,” she said. “Otherwise it appears the population has scattered.” Chase said she broke up a large dam that was near the bike path.

“We’ll see how quickly the dam is rebuilt and that will give us an indication of how many beavers are working on it,” she said.

Interesting population estimation tool.  I wonder if the WHO has tried it? Destroy their economy and see how long it takes to rebuild?  Well if the population is our Dad beaver it would take a night, but if the population is some of our yearlings it could take a bit longer. Hmm I may have spied a flaw in your fool-proof plan. The beavers are scattered you say? You killed a few but the rest have escaped. You know, scattering, the way beavers always do. What an interesting expert they’ve chosen to solve this problem! Considering Sherri Tippie is 90 minutes away. Who is this expert ‘mitigator’. I must know more about her.


Staight said the town has the option to trap and euthanize the beavers but that is the last thing anyone wants to do. Instead, trapped beavers will be relocated. The town started trapping and relocating the beavers last fall, but was told to wait until the summer to do any relocating.

“The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department said relocating the beavers so late in the season before winter would likely cause the beavers to starve to death,” Staight said. “They told us if we were going to trap them in the fall we should euthanize them.”

Yes we wouldn’t want to kill the beavers. We just want to move them and scatter them and ruin their families and separate the children from their parents in the middle of winter.

Chase said if the dam problem persists, there are water-flow control devices that can be installed in the dams.  “It tricks the beavers and they can keep building the dam without effects,” she said.  “We’re always going to have issues because of the way the waterway is and we will need population-control measures,” she said.

Well look at that. After we wrap the trees with fairy dust and kill some family members and rip out some dams, we can try installing a flow device or two if we need to.

Oh goody.