Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

You otter see this…

Posted by heidi08 On December - 16 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Our beaver-watching friends in Napa are keeping a close eye on the pond to see what the rain does to the beavers. I got this yesterday from Rusty.

I was checking on the Beaver Pond today around 2 p.m. and was excited to see what at first I thought were two beavers. Turned out to be two river otters which wasn’t so bad,

otter Rusty

River otter fishing Napa beaver pond.: Photo Rusty Cohn 12-14

I told him our mantra and suggested he send it to the paper.

Beaver ponds increase invertebrates
More Bugs mean more fish
More Fish mean more otters and mink

I also told him to make an otter spotter report since he caught this video:

This morning our retired librarian friend from Georgia sent me new research for the “Blame the Beaver Campaign”. This one about Methan Emmissions.

Beaver-mediated methane emission: The effects of population growth in Eurasia and the Americas


Globally, greenhouse gas budgets are dominated by natural sources, and aquatic ecosystems are a prominent source of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. Beaver (Castor canadensis and Castor fiber) populations have experienced human-driven change, and CH4 emissions associated with their habitat remain uncertain. This study reports the effect of near extinction and recovery of beavers globally on aquatic CH4 emissions and habitat. Resurgence of native beaver populations and their introduction in other regions accounts for emission of 0.18–0.80 Tg CH4 year−1 (year 2000). This flux is approximately 200 times larger than emissions from the same systems (ponds and flowing waters that became ponds) circa 1900. Beaver population recovery was estimated to have led to the creation of 9500–42 000 km2 of ponded water, and increased riparian interface length of >200 000 km. Continued range expansion and population growth in South America and Europe could further increase CH4 emissions.

Did you catch that? By recovering after we killed them earlier, the rebounding population of beavers are making dams and creating wetlands that emit CH4. Methane is the most prevalent Green house gas.  Greenhouse gases cause global warning Because lord knows its not the cows, or the landfills or the cars or the power companies that are causing global warming.

It’s the beavers!

Above and Beyond

Posted by heidi08 On December - 15 - 20141 COMMENT

Lake Elmo beavers: Cute, yes, but something of a nuisance


It might look like the middle of the wilderness, but this beaver was photographed after a recent snowfall on the west side of Lake Elmo in the Heights. Photographer John Warner has been taking pictures of this beaver and two others this fall.

  Three or four beavers—one or two adults and two kits—have built themselves a home on the shores of Lake Elmo in the Heights.

Their bank den is on the west side of the 64-acre reservoir, near the boat launch and right alongside a culvert that feeds the lake with water from the Billings Bench Water Association canal. A bank den is similar to a lodge but incorporates the bank surface into the structure.

Only three beavers at a time have been spotted so far, but Dave Pauli, with the Humane Society of the United States, said beavers mate for life, so there is most likely another adult in the den.

Terri Walters, who manages Lake Elmo State Park, of which the reservoir is part, for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the beavers apparently migrated to Lake Elmo from the nearby irrigation canal sometime this fall.

 The beavers have already felled two small cottonwood trees, a willow and a Russian olive, and they have been working their way through a willow stump thick with dozens of shoots, including a few large ones. They have stacked the top of their lodge with branches, which they will feed on throughout the winter.

 Walters said she had to wrap 10 other trees with wire so they beavers wouldn’t gnaw on them.


Don’t tell me you actually had to take such extreme measures to fend off these marauders! Actually wrapping trees? That’s like having to put your car in the garage or your wallet in your pocket! I mean it’s not quite as bad as wearing a condom or keeping a receipt, but my God, how much can one woman take?

beaver and kits in snow

An adult beaver and two kits swim in open water. John Warner

Pauli also said he’d like to work with FWP on a plan that would allow the beavers to stay at the lake. The adults could be spayed and neutered, and the kits could be as well if they stayed on. Lake Elmo State Park is often visited by groups of schoolchildren, Pauli said, so it would be good learning experience to have a family of beavers living where they are so easily accessible.

The article was going along pretty much like I expected but this was a coffee-spitter. HSUS Dave Pauli thinks the beavers should be neutered? You do realize that kits disperse and move away on their own, right? I mean here in Martinez we’ve had 20 born in 7 years and our population is still 6. I hope you don’t think that beavers can get neutered as easily as cats. Males and females have internal sex organs, and they might not survive the stress of capture even if it were possible.

What a very scary thought. It might well mean that sadly, sometimes the Human Society of the United States has absolutely no idea what its talking about. I always thought of them as smarter  and better than me. Like Jane Goodall,  Gandhi or Mother Theresa.

But even more importantly, let me just say that John Warner’s remarkable photographs of this beaver family are among the most beautiful images I have ever seen. And that’s saying something. Why not use these urban beavers and remarkable visuals to promote the first ever beaver festival in Billings Montana? It would teach locals how and why to work with the animals, and improve water, hunting, and fishing in the area.

beaver reaching snow

A beaver stands on its hind legs to get at snow-covered branches. John Warner

Now this came yesterday from our friend Lee Ann Carver, the wildlife photographer in Canada. You will of course appreciate what happens on the twelfth day of Christmas, but the fifth is pretty clever too. Pass this along to your friends. See it you can spot Grey Owl and if we can top 1000 views by tomorrow.

Oh and a sad correction from our retired librarian friend in Georgia, who pointed out that beavers might not actually get to heaven after all. Dam it.

Pope Francis turns out not to have made pets in heaven comment

From the Profane to the Sacred

Posted by heidi08 On December - 14 - 2014Comments Off

What a dam nuisance beavers can be

EVERY DAY, George Darden digs a small ditch to drain water off a dirt road that goes to the back of the farm in Pungo. And every night, beavers dam the ditch to block the water from running off.

The Dardens also see stumps of trees, gnawed off by the beavers, and of course, they see the dam that the beavers build every night across the Dardens’ ditch. That’s because beavers build dams in response to the sound of running water.

The Dardens can’t win for losing. “Busy as a beaver” is no lie.

Ahh the patient Dardens and their exceedingly rare, rebuilding beavers. That almost never always happens! I really shouldn’t complain. This is a fairly gentle article for Virginia, and I’m not entirely hopeless about these beavers or the Dardens for that matter.

Pete Akers, district biologist with the department, said the beaver population has rebounded successfully in Virginia because the animals are no longer being trapped for their fur. Beavers are in just about every watershed in the state, and as the young grow up, they move out and go up or down stream.

 ”We like having them here,” Akers said. “They are great for the wetlands and the ecosystem, but they can be a nuisance to landowners.

 ”Beavers are very industrious creatures,” he added.

 The Dardens have some choices. They can have the beavers trapped, which does not appeal to them. Other options include a device called a Clemson pond leveler – a pipe that would drain water off the road in a way that the beavers can’t hear the water running.

 The beavers will be keeping the Dardens busy, too.

Whenever we see biologists from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries talking about the benefits of beavers we are very, very happy. Even if their solutions are outdated, they aren’t wrong, and that’s progress in my book. I will contact Mr. Akers about updated developments and make sure he has resources for new  remedies from Mike and Skip.  I will try and find the Dardens too, because I already like them and want to help.

Rusty Cohn who has been photographing the Napa beavers received a nice response from the community website Next Door where he is posting about them. He gave me permission to pass it along:

Rusty, I just want to thank you for introducing me to the beaver and keeping all of us informed on his activities. I enjoyed your photos and info so much, I shared it with my 7 year old granddaughter who’s a 2nd grader at Mt. George and when she had to do a presentation on a Napa Treasure, she chose your beaver, did research on the species, copied a couple of your photos (I hope that’s ok) for her board and did her presentation this morning. She was so excited to have something so unique to share. Thanks again.

Hurray for your 2nd grader and hurray for Rusty for making this known! Imagine if this were the story all across the Bay Area, or all across California or all across the Nation. Local people watching and protecting their own beaver family and children reaping the benefit as their urban stream becomes an exciting wilderness. I believe Enos Mills liked the idea so much he included in his final chapter of In Beaver World: The original conservationists.
mills beavers childrenWouldn’t this look great on the side of a truck? Consider this is an early Christmas present for Mike Callahan, who should really make a donation to Worth A Dam because self-perpetuating slogans are worth a peck of money.  He won’t use it, but mark my words, someone in the next six months will steal it. You saw it here first.

new and improvedAnd since its the season we got the tree and the manger up yesterday, complete with a new tiny baby beaver in the crib. Thanks Erika!


I know this is a non-denominational site but we need to celebrate the occasion because to my way of thinking pope Francis just ruled that beavers go to heaven.

460370578-vhWzPd-1_614-largeDuring a recent public appearance, Francis comforted a boy whose dog had died, noting, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

 Theologians say Francis – who took his papal name from the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi – was only speaking conversationally. But the remark is being seen by some as a reversal of conservative Catholic theology that states because they are soulless, animals can’t go to heaven.

beaver angel

Beavers Across the land

Posted by heidi08 On December - 13 - 2014Comments Off

Danvers SwampWalk under water

The problem is not with the walkway sinking into the muck, said George Saluto, a former Conservation Commission member who was the driving force behind the SwampWalk.

Instead, beaver activity, a surge of rainfall and a stretch of boardwalk built slightly lower than the rest of the lumber pathway has led to its being submerged

Two families of beavers have been building dams and blocking culverts and outflows, raising the level of the swamp, Saluto said. The southern section of the walkway was built, he added, when the area was not getting a lot of rain.

 “We are off on a new adventure,” Saluto said. “We are simply responding to a very productive — two very productive — families of beavers.

Well, there you have it. Yet another beaver bemoaning story out of Danvers MA, who brought us so many greatest hits this year, like the beaver they trapped but weren’t allowed to remove, and the huge developer who wanted everything but the beavers.

Now beavers (and rain and snow) are raising the water level and flooding parts of their swamp path. I guess they have two lodges so they’re sure its two families, although that would be very, very remarkable. Research tells us that different families need their own territory of at least 2 miles, but if the habitat’s very very rich, like those beavers in the far reaches of Canada who built the dam visible from space, they will share.

Gee, do you think this is extraordinary habitat? Or do you think they possibly got it wrong?

It took 10 years to plan, three years to build, and the collaboration of two towns. The walkway allows visitors to walk into the middle of the swamp, providing views of plants, birds, turtles and beaver dams that can’t be seen from the rail trail. There’s an observation deck with seating, too. A grand opening was held in May 2013.

When volunteers first started the northern section of the SwampWalk in 2010, the rainfall in March, April and May was 20 inches, Saluto said. Before the group started the southern section in 2012, the rainfall in February, March and April was 7 inches.

In the past three months, however — even before this week’s rainfall — Danvers received 13 inches of rain, Saluto said, 6 more than when the southern walkway was constructed. The southern section was built slightly lower than the northern section.

Instead of trying to install beaver deceivers, devices that allow water to flow through beaver dams and keep beavers at bay, the SwampWalk team has decided to raise the walkway’s elevation.

Well that’s interesting. I mean why protect the culverts when you have the money to rebuild the entire walkway? Why fix a flat when you can afford a whole new car? I would ask what they plan to do when the water level rises higher still, maybe because of the next 13 inches of rain or the beaver dam that blocks the culvert, but I won’t bother. I know what they’ll do. They’ll say “We tried a 6000 solution to save the beavers but that didn’t work, so we’re going to have to kill them.” Let’s mark our calendars. I think it will happen sometime in April 2015.

Got any spare change? They end the article with a request for donations.

Now we head west a bit across the United States for a story about beaver from Illinois, the state where the 84 year old man was hit in the head with a log after blowing up a beaver dam. IL  has never been a hot bed of progressive beaver understanding. I believe I once said of them

“Remember this is Illinois where a cynical person might say you could fit all their beaver appreciation and knowledge into a teaspoon and still have room leftover to sweeten your coffee”

So it’s nice to read at least a benevolent article about beaver from the state.

Trail leads to adventure

Not long ago, I was set for a nice long hike in a nearby park to work off stresses. I had my binoculars, camera, and a little snack to enjoy along the way.

At the trailhead is a small creek that runs underneath a rock outcropping. No sooner had I entered the trail, when I observed a newly-constructed beaver dam on the creek. I paused to take a look at it. This led to following a few of the “beaver runs” away from the stream to the trees they gnawed.

 I thought to myself that I should take a few pictures of the beaver dam, runs, and gnawed trees to go into the Lowell Park Nature Center. We have a beaver lodge there for children to explore. I thought I might construct a photo montage of beaver activity.

The article goes on to describe his watching deer and woodpeckers. What do you wanna bet that the next time he visits that beaver pond he’ll see more wildlife? If it’s still there he will.


Water, Water, everywhere

Posted by heidi08 On December - 12 - 20142 COMMENTS


CaptureDSCN0546Our beavers got three and a half inches of rain yesterday, but the flow device was still standing and there was a wet bump under the water indicating at least the mud part of the dam was still in place. I received an email from Robin in Napa which got much more rain than we did. She was heart broken by her visit to the DSCN0551beloved dam that was no longer visible under flooding. I of course said the usual things I say to console myself when these things happen. Beavers rebuild. The dam is probably partly still there underwater. Beavers have faced much harder things than this, have faith in them. And even in the hard flow their lodge was still standing, which was encouraging. Rusty went down a little later and could still see the outline of the dam underneath. (There art thou happy.) But beavers have hard jobs, there’s no denying it. There’s a reason they’re so busy. Our lazy lives are much easier by comparison. Imagine being the breadwinner, the contractor  the engineer, the flood control, and the public works department all at once.
outlineRecognize that familiar bump? It’s what we see every year after a washout,  and it means things aren’t as lost as you thought. I’m just thrilled that there are other souls in the world watching beaver dams in rain storms.

Jon just trotted down to look at our wet “bump” this morning, which he says is still visible. The level is too high to see if the filters in place, but he thinks it is. Jean took this movie just now with her phone. IMG_0628. From now on we can assume our beavers will be doing lots and lots of this.

beaver repairsNow if you have time before all the Christmas parties and you happen to be anywhere near Cape Cod you should really plan on attending this tonight.

 College Students to Present Environmental Science Research Results

The public is invited to attend a symposium featuring the research results of 21 undergraduate students who are participating in the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Semester in Environmental Sciences (SES) program. The symposium will be held from 8:20 AM to 3:30 PM on Friday, December 12, in the MBL’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole.

Sounds amazing. There’s a day worth of 15 minute presentations, but the last three look particularly interesting:

2:45-3:00 – Delaney Gibbs, EARLHAM COLLEGE
The effect of beaver ponds on the nutrient concentrations in the Cart Creek/Parker River Ecosystem within the Plum Island Estuary watershed
3:00-3:15 – Julia McMahon, DICKINSON COLLEGE
Influence of beavers on benthic community trophic structure in Cart Creek within the Plum Island Estuary watershed
3:15-3:30 -Jessie Moravek, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
The effects of beaver dams on nitrogen-mineralization and community structure in a forest ecosystem

 Oh, to be in Massachusetts now that beavers are the hot topic! I have written the presenters all individually and asked them to share their findings, hopefully we can find out soon. In the meantime keep an eye out for wet bumps in creeks near you!

Blame the Beaver Bombers!

Posted by heidi08 On December - 11 - 2014Comments Off

Back from the brink: See European beavers at work

Their destructive reputation seems to belie them, but beavers are now recognised as significant resources for carbon sequestration – the wood locked up in their dams and ponds accounts for a surprising amount of carbon.

 This may or may not influence a shadowy group of people known as “beaver bombers”. These, apparently, are eco-vigilantes who release beavers back into Britain.

Believe it or not, that phrase was used earlier in the year in a National Geographic article. Apparently no amount of mocking and derision can discourage it because here it is again in NewScientist, a global service housed in the UK. This, along with beaver raising temperatures for fish and beavers causing beaver-fever, and “You can’t get pregnant the first time” is the kind of totally inaccurate falsehood that we at Worth A Dam recognize as sadly incurable. We are never going to eliminate the rumor that fans have carpeted the land with beavers. We just aren’t.

How do I know it’s not true anyway?

In all the world, on all the continents, in all the cities, in all the land, have you EVER met any single human more insane about beavers than I am? Go ahead, I’ll wait while you think about that. Finished? Now I know for a fact that I haven’t ‘bombed’ or reintroduced beavers anywhere. So if the craziest beaver fan on the entire planet hasn’t done it, who could have?

beaver bombersCommunity support builds for wild beavers

As community support builds for Devon’s wild beavers, an oil painting of a Devon beaver has raised £700 for Devon Wildlife Trust’s work to keep the animals on the River Otter.

The canvas, by renowned east Devon wildlife artist Emma Bowring, was donated to the charity’s Devon’s Wild Beavers fundraising appeal. Support has also been forthcoming from Ottery St Mary schools, Exeter businesses – and even TV presenter Chris Packham.

 The aim of the appeal is to keep the wild beaver population on the River Otter by securing a licence from the government for a five- year monitoring project to assess the beavers’ impact on local landscapes, wildlife and communities.

10801570_1590048444550624_6264017908878124563_nThat really is a nice painting, very luxurious fur.  I was thinking last night about where beavers groom themselves when it’s pouring rain. Obviously there isn’t enough room in their lodges or holes for everyone to do it there. I was happy to remember that our beavers have plenty of bridges they can groom under which will give them cover for a few minutes. There’s something to be said about urban life.

 The presence of these animals might even influence artistic tastes. Dan added: “Emma Bowring told us that the most popular British animal for her commissions is the otter. If the government grants Devon Wildlife Trust the licence to keep Devon’s beavers in the wild, perhaps Emma will begin receiving requests for beaver paintings.”

Well, duh. Come look at the artwork in my dining room?

SRF 2016The agenda is out for 2015 Salmonid Restoration Conference in Santa Rosa. You should check it out. Just look at this workshop on restoring urban streams?! Maybe you want to come?

Beaver Surprises

Posted by heidi08 On December - 10 - 2014Comments Off

This is the perfect gift for that hard to please beaver-lover on your Christmas list. Just in time.

Canadian-2015-50-Beaver-Silver-Coin-510x423 Canadian 2015 $50 Beaver Silver Coin for $50

Canadian artist Emily Damstra designed the image found on the reverse of the 2015 $50 Beaver Silver Coin. It depicts a beaver in its natural habitat. The creature is seen swimming in a body of water with a tree-filled shoreline behind. In the background, a wolf is also depicted gazing over the scene.

 Reverse inscriptions include CANADA, 50 DOLLARS and 2015 along with the artist’s initials of ED. Susanna Blunt’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II graces the obverse.

This is a beautiful design. If you look closely there’s a wolf in the background. I think for the amount of promotion I’ve done for this coin in the last 24 hours among the beaver-lovers of the world I deserve just one  for free. Don’t you?  When I talked our artist into doing a festival poster that was half above half under the water I could find no other examples of the idea on the entire internet. It had never been done. And now this! Do you think there’s a coincidence at work here? I already wrote the artist to  suggest she might want to donate a sketch or two to the silent auction, and then I wrote our artist who likes it so much she wants to get one as a present for her Canadian uncle!

Order yours now, but mind you there’s a limit of three per household!

tshirt art cover


Is this the single best headline ever? I think it may very well be. From Leistershire England,

Beaver colony visits Mayor in Council Chamber

 THE first Mountsorrel Beaver colony paid a visit to see the Mayor of Charnwood, Coun Paul Day.

 They got to sit in the Council Chamber and learn all about the Mayor and what he does. The mayor also presented six of the Beavers with their Chief Scout Bronze Award, the highest award a Beaver can achieve.

A spokesperson for the Beavers said: “Congratulations to the six Beavers and thank you to the Mayor of Charnwood.”

 Oh pooh. They mean boy scouts. Who wants to read about them? This was such a fun idea it needed a graphic.

mayor beaverDon’t you think he’ll keep this forever and ever? Big storm coming tonight for us and the beavers. They’ll likely lose their dam, but they’ll rebuild. I thought the website needed snow flakes to mark the occasion. Stay safe and dry.