Archive for the ‘Beaver Behavior’ Category

Surrounded by riches and treasures

Posted by heidi08 On December - 5 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

It’s Monday, you have tons of Christmas wrapping and decorating to do, so you need this. Really.

cutest-kit-ever

Back when famed wildlife photographer was photographing our ill-fated baby beavers, she would Suzi at workhave to leave occasionally to go to Washington where Sarvey rehab facility had a very small baby beaver that she needed to include with the photos for the beaver story for Ranger Rick. I remember because in the beginning she talked about filming him in a ghillie suit because he shouldn’t learn to trust humans. The timing is right and I think this little guy was it.

Never A Dull Bling

I work at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a rescue and rehab facility for wildlife.

In May 2015, this baby beaver was discovered by some campers.  He was without his mother and too young to survive on his own, so the campers brought him to us.  We actually already had a female beaver with us who was rehabbing from an animal attack, and the two beavers were eventually put together.  The older female became a surrogate to the baby male. The two beavers spent a year with us.  This past spring they were both released, together, in a secluded area with lots of access to trees, water, and natural habitat.

Beavers play a crucial role in biodiversity.  Many species rely on beaver-created habitat, and a lot of these species who rely on beavers are threatened or endangered.  This year, the baby American beaver was made Patient of the Year at Sarvey. Ornaments and cards were made to celebrate this particular animal.

BENEFITS OF BEAVER PONDS

  • Decrease damaging floods
  • Recharge drinking water aquifers
  • Remove pollutants from surface and ground water
  • Drought protection
  • Decreased erosion

Sarvey does excellent rehab work and has earned a reputation throughout the world for their wildlife care. Aside from having the very cutest kit photo I have ever seen, they understand why beavers matter, which isn’t always the case. If you want to send them some love donate here because they deserve it.

Now there’s something that I’m even more excited to talk about. It’s an article in the very respected magazine Natural History that a beaver buddy alerted me to yesterday. The article is by Katy Spence and she obviously  spent some quality time with our beaver friends in Alberta with Dr. Glynnis Hood and Lorne Fitch of Cows and Fish. You can’t believe how great this article is. Guess what the title is. Go ahead, guess.

hydroDing! Ding! Ding! That’s the title I have been waiting for a decade to read! Somebody give Katy a Worth A Dam t shirt! Unfortunately the very impressive article isn’t online and doesn’t want to be shared with the likes of people who haven’t purchased a subscription, so it required stealth to obtain and sharing it with you requires stealth as well. I figured I’d put the cute baby photo on the top and all the copyright police would walk on by saying ohh, just some cute animal loving website; nothing to see here, move along.

Are they gone? Shhh. It starts with the account of Pierre Buldoc, who wanted to use beaver on is private land.

Sometimes called “nature’s engineers,” the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is one of the few mammals — including humans — that substantially alters the landscape to suit its own needs. In fact, ecologists consider beavers to be a keystone species because their presence or absence will drastically change an ecosystem. With increasingly extreme weather events, ever-growing human populations, and declining freshwater sources, some beaver advocates believe the animals offer a vital, natural solution for retaining water in ponds and mitigating floods in other riparian ecosystems.

When Bolduc first proposed reintroducing beavers to the landscape, his neighbors — not to mention county officials — were not happy. Beavers had previously clogged a nearby culvert, which, in turn, often washed out the road. They were a nuisance, so the county removed them. Property values, crops, and roads in many rural areas have suffered damage from beaver construction sites. Sometimes, the territorial rodents will cut a favorite tree or even kill curious pets.

Yet, the rodents have had a tremendous impact on Bolduc’s pond. After approaching each of his neighbors individually about the beavers to convince them to try his reintroduction experiment, they eventually agreed. He even suggested an alternate solution for the county road: beaver-proof culverts. Unlike standard culverts, which run parallel to the water, these culverts are perpendicular — letting water rise into them like a straw in a glass. If the water gets high enough, it will drain through a connected horizontal pipe that runs underneath the road, preventing floods. Even when the beavers’ dam breached in May 2016 and drained hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, the culvert prevented a flood.

As climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events, some scientists are eyeing beavers as a tool for maintaining volatile watersheds. In 2008, Glynnis Hood, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta-Augustana who specializes in wetland ecology and the impact of beavers, published a paper describing beavers’ unprecedented ability to mitigate drought. She and her team analyzed fifty-four years of drought data from Elk Island National Park in Alberta and found that where beaver dams were present, there was more water-up to nine times that of a pond or water source without beavers. Because beaver ponds are so much deeper than other ponds, water lasts longer, even in times of drought.

Hood has continued to examine the nuanced effect beavers have on a landscape, as well as how humans respond to them. She’s completing a study that compares costs of different beaver management efforts. The study will contribute to a larger project, called Leave it to Beavers, which aims to reduce human-beaver conflict. The Alberta-based, inter-agency effort uses citizen science to gather information about the long-term effects beavers can have on a landscape. The project is composed of several agencies, including the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, a non-government agency informally known as “Cows and Fish.” Cows and Fish works with landowners and stakeholders to clarify how water flows through different landscapes, especially agricultural areas.

A riparian specialist for Cows and Fish, Lome Fitch, is trying to spark discussions about living with beavers. He offers a voluntary workshop on how beavers affect the landscape and how humans can peacefully coexist with them. He isn’t interested in pushing people to accept beavers, necessarily. He’s simply holding the door open. “You don’t bring people to the middle,” Fitch said. “You just start them thinking about where their position is and, hopefully, use that and expand their information sources. Maybe they’ll continue to migrate towards the middle.”

Fitch developed a ten-step list of goals, the first of which is building tolerance. Perhaps the most formidable step will be to change government policy in Alberta. The province has no clear policy concerning beavers, leaving confusion over what is permitted and what is not when it comes to relocation and rehabilitation.

The article goes into a full description of flow devices and how they work, and talks about how Glynnis and her students are using them effectively and teaching others how to use them. It even talks about how polarizing beavers are, Rachel Haddock of the Miitakis Institute calls them the ‘Wolves of the watershed’ because people either love them or hate them. Ahh! Sounds familiar!

Then it ends on this POWERFUL note.

If people are willing to compromise with beavers now, the result could be a new narrative in which humans and wildlife co-engineer a healthier, more resilient landscape. The big unknown is whether or not we can move past old assumptions.

That sure is the big unknown alright. But wowowow! What a fantastically public place to put this out there. We can only hope it gets read and circulated in all the right places. Lets hope someone leaves it on the governor’s desk right away. And decorates the halls of congress with it. And forces everyone waiting in line trying to get a depredation permit to read it. And if, btw,  you work somewhere someone needs to read it email me, and we’ll see what we can do.

 

Here comes Beaver Claws!

Posted by heidi08 On December - 1 - 2016Comments Off on Here comes Beaver Claws!

A beaver battle: Conservation Commission keeps the floods at bay

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Trudging neck-deep through muddy water, a representative from Beaver Solutions Inc. made room for a large tube amid a massive pile of branches in the wetlands at Cedar Swamp earlier this month.

It was the company’s second visit to the 69-acre North Smithfield property, and one deemed necessary by members of the town’s Conservation Commission.

Beavers had built another dam, blocking water flow – a nuisance that could not only ruin a nearby access road used by National Grid, but eventually flood a highway ramp and the back yards of residents abutting the property, affecting their septic systems.

“We’re not trying to kick the beavers out,” explained Commission Chairman Paul Soares. “But we can have some affect on controlling flooding.”

Located right by the Greenville Road exit off of Route 146, the massive plot of land was gifted to the commission in 2010, and has been in their care since. It has a 20-acre pond, and is home to “just about every type of wildlife you can think of,” according to Soares including deer, turkeys, ducks, fisher cats and raccoons.

The group has built a dozen duck boxes, nesting spots for the birds, which, due to deforestation across North America, have been hard-pressed to find the proper spots. The boxes must be installed when ponds are frozen by cutting a hole with an ice chisel and driving a pole down 10 feet. Every winter Soares goes out pulling a sled full of equipment, cleans the boxes, then counts the eggs and reports them to DEM.

Of the birds, Ayala noted “They’re really striking. They’re beautiful.”  The beavers, meanwhile, have been an ongoing problem. “We’re continually working there and making sure the road stays open,” said Ayala.

The commission researched a humane way to deal with the problem and came up with the water diversion system: essentially a pipe through the dam to allow water to flow past. The first was installed in 2014, and a second one was brought in this month.

“It’s working,” Soares said. “Beavers are hard to stop.”

Yes they are. And don’t you just love when conservation commissions actually conserve things? I’m so pleased with this article and news that they’re rehiring Mike to do a second install 2 years later. What an awesome habitat for these beavers, who are clearly using every inch!

I woke up horrified to see that the calendar said it’s DECEMBER. I have squandered my three months off post beaver festival and now it’s time to get to work! Grant applications, silent auction items, wooing volunteers. Not to mention Christmas presents and decorations. Good lord.  I think that horrible election stole my November and I want it back!

Apparently I’m not the only one panicked by the season.

The beaver that caused property damage to a dollar store in Maryland.

This beaver declared its own war on Christmas

This beaver doesn’t give a dam about your no shoe policy!

A curious Maryland beaver left its life in the wild to shop for Christmas decorations this week — perusing the shelves of its local dollar store in search of the perfect holiday item.

The critter-turned-customer was caught on camera Monday night causing property damage at a store in Charlotte Hall, which is about an hour south of Washington, D.C.

As an law enforcement officer, you just never know what you’re next call might be,” the sheriff’s office wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday.

Officers eventually “apprehended” the beaver and brought it to a wildlife rehabilitation center unharmed, cops said.

The photos of the creature rummaging through the Christmas goods have since gone viral — sparking a slew of jokes on Facebook.

“He’s going to be in trouble with the wife when he goes home without the Christmas tree,” wrote one user.

“This would be a great advertisement for that tree company,” another added. “Our trees look so real even the beavers go after them.”

OHHH! I love those photos of that poor little beaver scrounging through all that CRAP in a dollar store trying to find something of value. It’s the wrong time of year for a dispersal so I can’t imagine what he’s doing. I expected it to be freezing but the weather for Charlotte is listed as 54 degrees today – 12 degrees warmer than here. Maybe global warming has confused him? Maybe something happened to his lodge or family and he’s lost?

Or maybe he was looking for a Christmas tree after all?

Giving to Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On November - 30 - 2016Comments Off on Giving to Beavers

Yesterday was giving Tuesday, and Worth A Dam received another donation from Jeanette Johnson’s PGE grant, which was awesome. Also in addition to listing various hospice, housing and rescue charities,  beavers were mentioned in the fine article describing all the local charities you can donate too in the upper parts of the state.

North State Giving Tuesday profiles: Know your local nonprofits for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for locals to show their support for the nonprofits in their area, and this year’s event is happening on Nov. 29.

Today, the Siskiyou Daily News is running descriptions of Siskiyou County’s nonprofits in their own words so you know what they are all about. Giving Tuesday profiles also ran in the Friday edition of the Daily News.

Scott River Watershed Council

Originally established in 1992, the Scott River Watershed Council became a nonprofit in 2011. We cooperatively seek solutions to enhance local resources and facilitate community collaboration on watershed issues.

SRWC provides leadership to support science-based restoration in Scott Valley. SRWC brings research, education and discussion on natural resource issues to the community, and implements restoration projects based on community and ecosystem needs.

“Where there are beavers, there is water,” says a local rancher. Water has never been more important. Using beavers and Beaver Dam Analogues (BDA) are some of the innovative restoration techniques that Scott River Watershed Council have been utilizing to try and bridge the competing needs for water of wildlife, fish and humans.

California’s first BDAs went in 2014 and ever since then, the interest in this type of restoration tool has been fierce. SRWC needs funds to continue to provide the science to move this technique through the onerous permitting and regulatory process. There has never been a more important time to support efforts, such as this, that will truly help mass areas such as California and beyond.

It is important that California, the West Coast and any region adjusting to climate change, to have tools that will help mitigate the effects, and hopefully ease the negative ramifications. Many, including SRWC, believe beavers and/or BDAs can contribute significant beneficial factors.

A BDA is a added to a stream to function like a beaver dam in the hopes that an actual beaver will be encouraged to try a real dam on site and take over the operatioin. Large trees and other snags help beavers get better footing in flashy streams that haven’t had beaver speed bumps for a century. We are happy not only that their wonderful organization might get financial support, but also that it gets publicity and talked about as a legitimate goal for restoring creeks.

Beaver Good News!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 29 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Good News!

The rule is, if you’re 20 miles from Mike Callahan and have own a telephone machine, you better at least try co-existing with beavers, or have a dam good explanation why you didn’t. But this story is a delight to read above and beyond the standards.

Buddies with beavers: Quonquont Farm in Whately enjoys its hard-working neighbors

llison Bell, left, and wife Leslie Harris, right, explain how a “beaver deceiver” on Quonquont Farm works on Thursday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

WHATELY — The farmers who own Quonquont Farm and the beavers that live there have a special and rare friendly relationship.

But it wasn’t always like that: “They’ve made a lot of converts,” says Allison Bell, the manager of the almost 100-year-old farm. Bell, who has authored a few books on New England mountain summits for the Appalachian Mountain Club, helps run the farm along with wife, Leslie Harris, and co-owner Ann Barker.

Bell is standing at the headwaters of Dingle Brook, the edge of a small beaver pond — one of several on the farm’s 140 acres — a stone’s throw from a farm store and a few hundred yards from a converted barn used for special events like weddings. Across a narrow path, an apple orchard — Quonquont Farm’s primary crop — stretches up and over a small rise into a sky streaked in pastel hues. It’s a beautiful late-fall evening.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo A beaver on Quonquont Farm in Whately Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Around four years ago, the beavers moved in to stay. Within a short time, they’d dammed up the spring-fed brook, which flows through the property, and created a pond, threatening a blueberry patch. At first, Bell says the farmers panicked; however, after installing a “beaver deceiver” — a drainage system installed by Mike Callahan, who owns Southampton-based Beaver Solutions — water levels receded. The system was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and keeps the beaver pond to a specified size.

“It’s been quiet here for a while, but the beavers have made some renovations,” she says, pointing out a mud dam along the shore, noting that the water level has risen about half a foot over the summer — despite the drought. “You can see signs of them. They’re very active, taking down our willows for us. They’re volunteers.”

We love Allison AND this story. Even the names sound like a quaint new england novel about persistant love in the face of overwhelming odds. Quonquont farm in Whately decorated with amber apple orchards in the fall sun. I’m so glad you’re getting this right!

orks on Thursday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo Evidence of beavers on Quonquont Farm in Whately, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Over the years, she’s become a subject-matter expert, studying the beavers’ habits with wildlife cameras, which are installed throughout the waterway-network, and researching their behavior norms.

“They’re just the most industrious creatures,” says Harris, who’s touring the “beaver’s domain” along with Bell. “People say ‘busy as beavers’ and they’re not kidding around.”

Suddenly, a small brown head pokes out of the water near the lodge. It’s the oldest: a one-eyed, large beaver that swims with a slight list on the right side and that has a particular taste for apples. Soon, a few others emerge, drifting like wet logs near the middle of the pond.

Usually, the beavers are most active at night; today, however, Bell says they’re curious about the activity on the shore. Bell discovered the beaver’s love for apples because of a well-worn path that led out of one of the ponds to a wild apple tree a few summers ago.

Since then, she’s observed the beavers scurrying out of the water, grabbing a fallen apple, and scurrying back.

“Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known they have a sweet tooth,” she says, pointing out where the path was — leading from the brook, which the beavers dug out into a deep canal.

apple-pastaA decade of extensive research in Martinez has suggested to me ALL beavers have a penchant for apples, its just that some beavers are more inclined to risk their necks for it than others. As you can see beavers are particularly fond of apple peelings.

“We come down every evening and watch them,” Bell says while watching the old beaver come out onto the dam and gnaw on a twig, adding, “it provides a really interesting look into their lives.”

Yes it does! And our own, if you think about it. Your musings really make me think there might be an Allison beaver book in your future, or at least a cup of coffee with author Patti Smith (Beavers of Popple’s Pond) and a discussion of what it’s like to watch beavers.

Now if only Ian Timothy has some friends near this mall in Kentucky, today could be a perfect beaver news day!

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Oh no, another drought – Time to kill the beavers.

Posted by heidi08 On November - 28 - 2016Comments Off on Oh no, another drought – Time to kill the beavers.

It seems like only yesterday FEMA was paying southern states to relieve their emergency drought conditions. Now the south is facing low levels again, and things are getting colorful.

Brown water, beaver battle among early signs of water woes

ATLANTA (AP) — Beaver dams have been demolished, burbling fountains silenced, and the drinking water in one southern town has taken on the light brownish color of sweet tea.

Though water shortages have yet to drastically change most people’s lifestyles, southerners are beginning to realize that they’ll need to save their drinking supplies with no end in sight to an eight-month drought.

Already, watering lawns and washing cars is restricted in some parts of the South, and more severe water limits loom if long-range forecasts of below-normal rain hold true through the rest of 2016.

The drought arrived without warning in Chris Benson’s bathroom last week in Griffin, Georgia.

“My son noticed it when he went to take his bath for the evening,” said Benson, 43. “The water was kind of a light brown color and after we ran it for a while, it actually looked like a light-colored tea. A little disturbing.”

The problem was that Griffin’s reservoir is nearly 8 feet below normal, leaving “a high level of manganese” in the remaining water, but not making it unsafe, city officials told residents in a Nov. 16 “water discoloration update.” Benson watched that water turn from brown to “kind of a light green tint” before clearing up, he said.

It’s no better in Tennessee, where about 300 of the state’s 480 water systems serve areas suffering moderate to exceptional drought, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said.

Across the South, communities relying on depleted watersheds can’t afford to waste what they’ve got left, said Denise Gutzmer at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

She also tracked a mass mussel die-off due to low water in southwestern Virginia, and described how hundreds of volunteers removed beer bottles and car parts from the bottom of Alabama’s Lake Purdy, which has 20 feet of water, three-fourths of its capacity. She even heard how workers dismantled beaver dams to increase water flow in west Georgia’s Tallapoosa River.

“That really underscores the desperation of the situation, like ‘Ok, we’ve got to clear the beaver dams,'” Gutzmer said.

That’s right. Before you actually stop washing cars and watering lawns, trap beavers. Because we all know beaver dams ‘steal water’ just like piggy banks ‘steal’ pennies.  I hate when they do that, robbing the change in my pockets that I was going to carelessly let drip away or lose. Gosh. I’m so glad the the Associated Press took down this unchallenged quote as gospel and republished it in all 50 states across the country so that everyone can read how beavers steal water, the little kleptos. One of my very favorite things about the AP is how everyone syndicates what they say verbatim and there is no way to confront the clever reporter who in this case is the very ecologically wise, Jeff Martin.

Grrr.

water glass stats

Oh and 9 times less drought!

Any way thank you Linda of Oregon (formerly Martinez) for sending me this article on yahoo and thank you to my new beaver alert program that I’m loving very much (especially with retired librarian Bob Kobres of Georgia’s excellent help with my ‘boolean’ terms):

((beavers OR beaver) AND Martinez) AND “worth a dam” -football -soccer -track

Google Alerts has become laughable in how many important articles it misses, I have fired them, my new freeprogram is  Talkwalker and I very highly recommend them.  I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to get deliveries of important beaver news without having to go hunt them down. So thanks again for a wonderful addition to the beaver battle!

WATB NFU

Posted by heidi08 On November - 27 - 2016Comments Off on WATB NFU

The whiny Scottish farmers have been quick to find the silver lining in Ms. Cunningham’s announcement, which sounds someting like, “Even if we are going to be burdened with beavers, at least we get to kill some of them!”

Robust Management of Beaver Population Essential

Following the long-awaited announcement from Scottish Government about beavers receiving protected status, NFU Scotland insists that proper management of the species is fundamental in order to avoid unacceptable impact on agriculture.

NFU Scotland has made it clear that if the species are to continue to exist in Scotland they must not have an adverse impact on farmland; a view that Scottish Government and a number of other stakeholders share.

In order to ensure that this new species is not having an unacceptable impact there will be a need for monitoring and rapid and pragmatic interventions.“In today’s announcement by the Environment Secretary, she acknowledged the impacts that beavers can have on agriculture, and accepts the need for a fit-for-purpose management regime.

“It is essential that Scottish agriculture is not negatively affected by this decision and its implementation, and NFU Scotland will continue to work with its members who are concerned, and whose land has been impacted by beavers.”

Now, I was surprised as anyone to learn that NFU doesn’t stand for NOT F*CKING UNDERSTANDING, but rather the National Farmer’s Union which apparently read the minister’s fine statement about biodiversity and wetlands and thought it actually said;

I guess Nuance Fails Unbelievably in their guild. The poor tractor drivers are Nearly Fed Up. And will Never Finish Uncelebrating.  But no matter. Beavers are Back, Baby. They will at least be better off than they are now getting shot whenever someone feels like it in the Scottish Wild West. Even if there will be permissible trapping all it really means is that beavers will have the same lousy chance in Scotland as they have anywhere else in this world, so I guess they’ll manage alright. We’re going to let NFU grim spirits dampen our good beaver mood, and besides.

Yesterday was a HISTORIC day for beavers.

meeting enhancedBecause The BEAVERS won the civil war which has not happened since 2007. All those ducks have been greenly sauntering around like they own the place for nearly a decade. It’s high time Orange had something to cheer about. Hey, it occurs to me something else significant happened to beavers in 2007.  I’ll give you a hint. It’s something dam important!

 

Give them a beaver inch and they ask for a beaver mile!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 26 - 2016Comments Off on Give them a beaver inch and they ask for a beaver mile!

The Ecologist has a glorious account of the Scottish ‘come to beavers’ moment. But it has taken them literally no time to start planning for their expansion. Their argument is that the Great Glen is a barrier between the upper highlands that beavers cannot pass without some help. Funds are already being moved to help that happen.

Scotland’s wild beavers win legal protection

The Scottish government has announced that its wild beaver populations will be given the full protection of both UK and EU law. The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who point out all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity, water management and flood control. Now, they say, England and Wales should follow suit.

Now let’s introduce them north of the Great Glen!

Welcoming the Scottish government’s decision to allow reintroduced beavers to remain in the country announced today, Trees for Life said that it plans to move ahead with investigating the possibilities for bringing beavers to areas north of the Great Glen, working with local communities to identify where they might live without perceived adverse impacts.

Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s Chief Executive said: “Today’s decision means that beavers can naturally spread through Scotland in the future. There is a lot of space in the Highlands where they could thrive, improving the region for other wildlife and providing a tourist attraction that will benefit the local economy.”

However, the main obstacle to the natural spread of beavers to the Highlands is geography, he added: “The Great Glen presents a natural barrier to beavers colonising the area on their own from the existing populations in Argyll and Tayside, so the only way to be sure they will return to the northwest Highlands would be to give them a helping hand.

“While it is certain that beavers could live in the Highlands, the next step is to ensure they would be a welcome addition to the landscape. That is why we plan to work out where they would be welcome. Then we plan to enter in to dialogue with the government to explore how we can help them to return to those areas.”

The Great Glen refers to a seismic fault separating the upper bits of Scotland from the lower, its mountainous ranges mean that no watershed passes through it or connects it to other rivers and streams. The Geologic Society describes it thus:

The Great Glen is a huge valley, eroded by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. These glaciers carved the valley below present-day sea level, forming a series of deep lakes. Loch Ness is the largest and most famous of the lakes.

Looking at the maps I can see how a beaver could follow the Tay river all the way up along the A9 to the Cairgorn mountains but really see how they get from there over the Glen.

Except for the fact that we know something about beavers that they don’t.

You might want to go read up on beavers colonizing the Aleutian islands in Alaska and fjords in Norway by using saltwater. Just a suggestion.