Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

Beaver Cousins near and far

Posted by heidi08 On September - 23 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

These were among the dead trees that had to be removed from Tulocay Creek because a beaver dam downstream created a pond in the channel. The trees were standing in three feet of water which was likely the cause of their death.

Soscol Avenue’s beaver colony creates flood control issues

Protectors of a small colony of beavers on Tulocay Creek near Soscol Avenue became alarmed recently when flood control workers began cutting down dead trees in the middle of the beaver pond.

Ron Swim said he grew concerned when he saw trees being felled near the largest beaver mound, located adjacent to Hawthorne Suites. “I would like to see the wild beaver left alone to do what wild beavers do. They create ponds that will bring fish and ducks,” he said.

Until recently, Swim said he’d lived in Napa for 57 years and never seen a beaver. “It’s a nice addition to the community,” he said.

 Rick Thomasser is the watershed and flood control operations manager with the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. It’s his job to keep creeks clear of possible flood hazards.

 “The beaver habitat is great, but one of the downsides is they fell trees” for dam building, Thomasser said. This, in turn, causes a water back-up, which can drown tree roots and result in the death of the tree, he said.

 That’s exactly what happened near the beaver dam just east of Soscol Avenue. Thomasser said the flood district had been monitoring a number of trees that had been engulfed by the new ponds.

 A dead tree in the middle of a stream becomes a hazard and can collect debris. “We try to keep the center of the stream open to flows,” he said.

Proudly lowering the level of discourse, reporter Jennifer Huffman took the a phone call from concerned beaver friend Ron Swim who was worried Flood Control was chopping down the beavers’ trees and transformed it into a Beavers-are-Problematic article. She called Rusty several times for quotes and he mentioned keystone species, wildlife photographers, beavers saving water, etc. She was really only interested in the dog fight. Napa has been SO good about beavers up until now. I think she is hoping if she shakes the ants in the jar enough they’ll start fighting and make an exciting news story like we had in Martinez.

Rusty Cohn checks in on the animals five to six times a week. He hopes that as few trees as possible are removed near the beaver lodges.

 “I think flood control is doing their best to take care of the beavers,” while at the same time preventing flooding, he said. “I don’t think what they’ve done so far is causing too much grief for the beavers,” he said.

 “It’s a balancing act,” having beavers in an urban area, said Cohn.

Rusty is such an excellent beaver defender. I think he’s in that stage now where he can still recognize how bizarre it is to care about something this new this much, but is fascinated where the trail will lead. Obviously he’s reading everything he can get his hands on  about the topic. And he’s struggling to alienate no one while he steadily builds education and support. I sometimes fondly remember those days. I actually remember standing at the Escobar bridge to film the beavers in the beginning, which is where I always used to watch them. I never went any farther or down to the primary, maybe because I could sense it would push me farther into the story. I filmed from there and it seemed like the distance down to the dam was this magical, inviting  OTHER place. The beavers story, not mine.
Here’s a time capsule from those days, May 6, 2007. There is even a mislabeled nutria for you to spot. Ahh memories!

I have long since crossed the rubicon into the new world and there’s no going back for me. Maybe Rusty is tempted to go back while he still can? (We hope not!)


In the other direction, the South bay is equally interested in beavers. Here’s a video that Steve Holmes of friends of los Gatos Creeks, (A truly heroic creek-watch group that does unbelievable cleanups with massive public support) just sent.

One comment: Those beavers probably weren’t building a ‘leaf nest’. It’s probably a scent mound to mark their silicon valley territory. Other than that I’m always happy to see beavers making a splash! Thanks Steve!

One final update of some not-so-local beavers. On Sunday we had another visitor from the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta, Georgia. This time the president, Kevin McCauley, who cycled from Bart to my house where he met Cheryl and I, had some lemonade and friendly  developer-taming conversation and then went down to the creek where he was delighted to see three beavers courtesy of Martinez.

I’m thinking the beaver festival in Georgia can’t be far away.

Of course it’s a beaver! Why do you ask?

Posted by heidi08 On September - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Beaver footprints found along Allegheny River bank, not gator

What has big hind feet and leaves a trail into the river that can be mistaken for an alligator slide?

A beaver.

That’s the consensus among wildlife experts and trappers about tracks found on Thursday on the Allegheny River bank in Cheswick.

He said he wouldn’t expect an alligator to leave a “trough” 3 to 4 inches deep like Gerhard described.

To leave a track that big the alligator would have to be very large, which means it likely would have been raised then released as an adult because a juvenile wouldn’t survive our winters.

The other telltale sign is that a close-up photograph that Gerhard took of one of the tracks shows three toes and a rear foot pad.

It more closely resembles a beaver track, rather than that of an alligator, which has more toes.

Why wouldn’t there be an alligator in Cheswick Pennsylvania? Never mind that it snows two feet every year and alligators are cold blooded. The witness is sure of it! Better ask a trapper for advice. Whatever it is, we’re sure that it’s icky. So killing it is our only possible recourse.

Was it a soldier beaver? (PA will never live that down. I think that was one of my top five favorite posts of all times.)

Mean while in the Duck Creek subdivision in Chicago they’ve had 6 inches of rain in two days, and homes are flooding. (Homes built illegally in a flood plain mind you, but never mind that.) They’re sure the flooding is caused by – what else? A beaver.

 Beaver dam removed, but flood issues remain for Duck Creek homes

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — The township trustee says Porter County officials told him they’ve removed a beaver dam that caused severe flooding recently in the Duck Creek subdivision, but residents have more questions and a regional water expert said other measures could be taken to reduce flooding problems.

Trustee Brendan Clancy said county officials told him that beavers built a dam near a standpipe in one of the nearby ponds, which worsened flooding of the subdivision’s streets and some homes about four weeks ago, when the area was hit with 6 inches of rain over two days.

6 inches of rain in two days? Good thing Global warming is a myth. I guess hundreds of thousands showed up for the myth march yesterday. On a related note, I have something VERY interesting to share about climate change and the Public Trust, but I’ll wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a great BBC radio program on reWilding that aired yesterday and was put up by Peter Smith of the Wildwood Trust. Enjoy!

Beaver Resilience

Posted by heidi08 On September - 21 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Dry Guadlupe River: Roger Castillo

So this is what most of the Guadelupe River looks like this summer. Too bad for the remaining fish and definitely too bad for the thirsty wildlife. You’ll remember there were three beavers on the creek in 2013, and they made an historic splash. One was seen with a packing strip trapped around her waist and she was rescued so it could be removed and released to the exact same spot.

Not surprisingly, those beavers never showed their faces again. Although sometimes they still see sign of them.


Beaver chewed tree on the Guadelupe River: Steve Holmes

On Friday I got several very distressed emails from the friends of Los Gatos Creeks that they had discovered a beaver in great despair, living under a pipe in the dry river. They were ready to call in rescue to get him out. And what did I think? Later emails said he was ‘living in a pile of his own feces’ and was obviously sick. I was able to piece together that he was living under a culvert with a tiny leak and trying to use that water. And Greg Kerekes of urban wildlife took this photo.

Beavers using culvert in drought

Beaver in the Guadelupe: Greg Kerekes

This photo made me happier than any I’ve seen recently. Look at what that resilient beaver decided to do with the tiny drip! Waste not: want not. He has made a dam to keep the water inside the pipe since it won’t soak up the water, and if he needs water to drink or eliminate, there it is. In a few weeks it will be deep enough to hide him from unfriendly eyes. Remember that beavers are herbivores so even if he was in a puddle of his own ‘sawdust’ it wouldn’t be cause for alarm. But when I talked more to Roger Castillo about what he saw I realized the ‘filth’ he had seen the beaver sitting on was a scent mound that he was making to mark his ‘home sweet home’. Even though this looks alarming to us, he’s fiercely proud of his ingenuity and doesn’t want to share!

He’s sleeping to the right beside his accomplishment, in a little bed of reeds during the day. CaptureHis hidden stash of water means coyotes or bobcats are unlikely to come and get a drink, and he seems ready for the long haul. Who knows? Maybe he’ll even get company? A beaver pioneer in the dry Guadelupe river. How different would California look during a drought if we had millions more like him?

stickerYou’ll remember that beavers were one of the first species back after Mt. St. Helen’s errupted. And were among the first to reclaim the land in Chernobyl after the nuclear reactor disaster. Here’s Leonard Houston’s opening remarks from the 2013 State of the beaver conference.

“Within this strangely pastoral setting the animals go about their business, sometimes finding uses for what we’ve left behind. The wolves rise up on their hind legs to peer through the windows of houses, looking for routes to the rooftops, which they use as observation posts for hunting. Eagles build nests in fire towers. Deer, elk, bison and wild horses flourish in abandoned farm fields.

 As to the beavers, they have shown an amazing resiliency to some of the worlds most cataclysmic events, in large surpassing sciences understanding of what we call sustainable habitat. Beavers, forced out decades ago when the landscape was engineered for collective agriculture, have already undone much of man’s work converting polluted swamps to free flowing rivers and restoring one of central Europe’s great marshlands.”

So I wouldn’t worry about that little pioneer beaver. He’s doing just what he’s supposed to – what we all should, really.  How careful would we all be of water if we didn’t think any more was coming? I mean out of the sky, out of the tap, out of the bottle – ever. Wouldn’t we all build little dams around every drop to eek it along?


Last night we saw some very lucky beavers expanding their territory to Ward Street. I thought you’d like this footage of dad and the new kit.

Orphans in zoos & Cities in debt

Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

CaptureTurtle Bay names new beaver Timber

REDDING, California – Turtle Bay’s newest animal, a young male beaver, has a name, Timber.

The rodent came from the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minneapolis. Turtle Bay officials say the beaver will live in the Viewable River Aquarium inside the museum.

 The 22,000-gallon aquarium, which opens up to the outdoors on the other side of the viewing glass, will be enclosed with netting material to keep birds out. The park will also build a barrier so the beaver can’t dig out.

That’s right, we happily ripped this beaver out of his family imprisoned by Minnesota’s concrete zoo to bring him 2000 miles away where he will be the only beaver in OUR zoo. He’ll grow up without any family whatsoever and since he came at 7 weeks and never had the least beaver training, we hope he won’t dig or build dams. It’ll be fun to watch him grow up, and when he’s stopped being an attraction, we’ll just trade him or euthanize anyway.

Turtle bay reflects the mercenary vision of Redding itself and its CEO is the former city manager, who clearly understands and values wildlife. He took over for the original horticulturist who was mysteriously relieved of duties after only two years. The city  bailed out the money hole to the tune of 400,000 dollars. But couldn’t help anymore when the recession hit. Mr. Warren generated some controversy by doing what management types usually do, streamlining, lowering salaries and doubling duties. For everyone but himself that is – he still makes 7600 dollars a week for three days work.

The famed Sundial Bridge that we’ve all seen (funded mostly by the McConnell Foundation) connected Turtle Bay’s south campus to its Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. As a reward for the McConnell generosity, the foundation gets to buy 14 acres of land to build a hotel on, and since its part of the Turtle bay grounds they can avoid paying those pesky union wages. Mr. Warren has said this will keep Turtle Bay well attended, but the hotel will not contribute anything  financial to the park, so whether it will actually help is anyone’s guess.

The whole action was challenged as a major land grab and will be on the ballot come November.

And in the meantime, the park is building a NEW river habitat where it will house its lonely beaver so children can gape at him while he swims by underwater. You can imagine how enthusiastic I feel about that.

I have an AMAZING story of beaver resilience to share, but I’ll wait until tomorrow because this story bugs me too much.

Stay tuned!




Friday Funnies

Posted by heidi08 On September - 19 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

CaptureThis is one of those ‘come to Tennessee for our great fishing and have the vacation of your life” websites. I just happened upon it when I saw this photo with this very surprising caption.

While using a trolling motor to venture up Manskers Creek close to the dam, I saw two muskrats swimming underwater chasing fish. Later, when leaving the creek, there was one on the bank eating a fish.

Ahh, Vernon, you seem like a nice guy. But there are three little problems with your finely curated caption.

1) That’s not a muskrat
2) That’s not a fish and
3) He’s not eating it.

That’s a little beaver sitting on his tail to groom. I’ll grant you, you aren’t the first one to think beaver tails are a little scaly. (The Bishop of Quebec in the 17th century actually classified them as fish so good Catholics could eat beaver during lent.)

Beaver_fish_tailSo you’re in good company.

One more funny from Lory and the times last week and a kit photo to start the weekend right. Our Scottish beaver friends are disappointed but 85% voter turnout is nothing to sneeze at, and I know you’ll get there one day.

cedar salad

Kit at ward street Kit at Ward Street: Photo Cheryl Reynolds



Shifting Territories

Posted by heidi08 On September - 18 - 2014Comments Off

Remember that huge, undisturbed beaver dam visible from space in the Canadian wilderness? Well, consider it ‘undisturbed’ no more.

Rob Mark, an amateur explorer from New Jersey, recently became the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam. It took Mark nine days to cover the 200 km from Fort Chipewyan to the 850-metre-wide dam in Wood Buffalo National Park. Here he is in a selfie taken while he was standing on top of the the dam.

 U.S. explorer reaches world’s largest beaver dam

EDMONTON – An American explorer recently became the first person to set foot on the world’s largest known beaver dam — an 850-metre-long fortress built painstakingly over decades in Wood Buffalo National Park.

After four years of planning and nine days of bushwhacking through swampland and dense boreal forest, Rob Mark reached the structure in the northeast corner of Alberta on July 20.

The location is so remote the only previous sightings of it have been made by satellite and fixed-wing aircraft.

“It was incredibly angry I was there,” Mark said. “It kept slapping its tail against the water.”

Yes, that beaver was furious to see a biped in its territory where one hadn’t been seen for centuries. That’s exactly what beavers are feeling when they tail slap: anger, irritation, pique, rage. They are such resentful animals.

Not alarm.

Where are you going next? I look forward to your  many bold explorations so you can misunderstand some NEW species! Maybe the antarctic? Where you can keenly observe that penguins didn’t fly in front of you because they were secretive?


More head scratching from Ramara in Ontario that can’t imagine why they’re not fixing the beaver problem even though its shelling out 150 per tail to trap them.

Ramara is losing a battle against beavers that are building dams faster than the township can remove them, says Mayor Bill Duffy.

Compared to surrounding municipalities, Ramara is “on the high side” when it comes to how much money it’s paying beaver trappers, Duffy said.

In 2013, Ramara paid $7,125 to trappers.

Sipos said the township should hire more trappers to tackle the problem.

“We don’t have enough trappers. We only have two. Each trapper has so many traps, but when we have a problem, we have problems at the same time, so we want to have more trappers,” she said.

 The township is looking a creating a beaver-trapping policy to determine when the township is responsible for removing beavers and their dams, when a private landowner is responsible or when both are.

When you’re completely failing it’s important not to try anything NEW. Just keep doing the same thing over and over, and maybe faster. I’m sure that will take care of the problem.



There’s too much news this morning to cover it all, but we have local news to report. Last night we saw the ENTIRE FAMILY spread out across Alhambra creek from the railroad tracks to Green Street. 3 beavers by the footbridge and 3 beavers above Ward street. One beaver walked the dry stretch by Starbucks in between to get to family at Ward street, and one beaver was sleeping below the secondary dam and came up when we got there at 6.

Oh and one beaver scaled the bank wall like this. 9.9 from the German judge.

The kit was with Dad and a yearling at ward street and mom was keeping an eye at the secondary. There was a kingfisher diving from under the Marina Vista bridge, and when we watched at night above the ward street bridge we saw a number of bats making darts from underneath. Truly a beaver safari night.

Dad at Ward street

Dad beaver at Ward Street: Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Oh and I worked very hard yesterday on a new toy for us all to play with. Tell me how you do and try out the snazzy new SHARE buttons at the bottom of the page.

test1start buttonFinally, good luck today to our Scottish friends. Polls are open until 10 pm, and there is a whopping 80% turnout expected. For the first time 16 and 17 years olds will be allowed to vote and it should all be decided by tomorrow morning. We certainly know which side the beaver-protecting Ramsays are on.


The new ‘Lily pond’ story

Posted by heidi08 On September - 16 - 2014Comments Off

Beavers invade Chico backyard, damage property


The funny thing is that I met a woman on the Butte county environmental team involved with this case on Sunday at the Optics Faire. She sent me the report and I tried to track down Mr.Barker through facebook. I suggested the best way to get rid of these beavers is to temporarily drain the pond and said if he does it without hurting them Worth A Dam will buy that chewed table to sell at the festival. It terrifies me to think of beavers wadering through the dry suburbs of Chico looking for a new home, but they did it once and it’s definitely better than their odds if USDA comes to the homeowners rescue. And who on EARTH said that beavers mate in September?

Stay tuned.

Yesterday I got some VERY VERY good news, that if it actually happens will be the coolest thing ever. I’ll let you know more when its firm. Fingers crossed.