Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

Brush with Destiny

Posted by heidi08 On October - 3 - 2015Comments Off on Brush with Destiny

<a href=The other day I happened to stumble upon these lovely drawings from illustrator Cornelia Svela, a talented artist in Ontario Canada. She did these beaver sketches for the ministry of the education, because (as we well know) children LOVE to learn about beavers..



Beaver gnawing: Cornelia Svela

Of course I established first contact at once, telling her about our festival and our work to save beavers. I explained that we were a nonprofit with a million inspiring beaver photos and maybe someday she would want to draw something for us? Of course I told her about the top teeth mislead and she said she hadn’t ORIGINALLY drawn them – but they had been requested. Of course. Because people don’t want to teach children the truth. They want to teach them what they learned.


Beaver Swimming: Cornelia Svela

I asked whether she had ever done and Over/under/over dam illustration and here is the sketch she sent me. Wouldn’t you love to see this reach it’s potential?

beaver dam and lodge

Over/under dam and lodge sketch. Cornelia Svela

Good news this morning is that the Butte fire is 100% contained. Thank everyone involved and the firefighters most especially. Folks near my parents house said everyone bent over backward to take care of those affected, right down to the trash company doing free pickups of spoiled food when everyone’s power went down.Capture Now I’m off to the ocean. Be good to whatever beavers you can.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

E.E. Cummings

Unravelling Mysteries of the Beaver Genome

Posted by heidi08 On October - 2 - 2015Comments Off on Unravelling Mysteries of the Beaver Genome

Here’s something we missed in September.


Fun video. Makes me genuinely curious about what they’d find. Hey, how much would we have to donate to have Bennie at a beaver festival? Looks like they’re having troubles raising the funds. I bet this website can help them a little. I’m not a fan of beavers in zoos but since he’s thereCapture already we might as well harmlessly learn what we can from him right? I mean since beavers are a big mishmash genetically because of US we should help fix what we can, right?

This article from New York tells us little that is new, but it’s a pleasant read anyway.

Species spotlight: The beaver’s tale

Looks like: The Beaver is a large, unmistakable rodent that can reach up to 26-65 pounds and features a broad, flattened tail that can reach 9-10-inches long and 6-inches wide. Beavers have yellow-brown to almost black fur, webbed feet and prominent orange teeth.

Niche: Beavers are herbivores, eating tree and water plant parts. As winter approaches, they will collect and cache food underwater near the entrance of their lodge in a “feedpile” to use during winter. Beavers can be prey for coyote, fisher, bear and bobcat when they leave the pond in search of food. Kits can also be prey for mink, otter, fox and great-horned owl.s tale

Not nearly enough about how this keystone species builds wetlands that safe fish, frogs, birds and otter. But it’s nice to see anyway. I am impatient for the day when the people who decide to print “interesting facts about the beaver” have things to say that are REALLY interesting.

I don’t know how your blood pressure is this morning, but I’m heading out on vacation tomorrow so mine’s looking pretty good. I’ll try to reach over the mai tai’s and coconuts and manage to post something, especially Wednesday because it will be the auspicious occasion of our 3000th post. Wow. I’ll make sure to tell you a really closely guarded beaver secret that day to make it worth your while.

In the mean time, your blood pressure can take a vacation by watching this, from our Norwegian friend of the Scottish beavers, Sylvia Mueller. She took this on holiday in Germany.

Beautiful footage. Enjoy.

Beaver Lottery

Posted by heidi08 On October - 1 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver Lottery

Apparently folks can’t wait to shoot beavers in Aragon Georgia.

No help needed in hunt for Aragon beavers

Chris Hindman has one simple message for Aragon residents following his and two other contractors beginning their hunt for the beavers blocking up the spring that feeds the mill pond: Stay away.

The trio of hunters who were asked by the city to get rid of the beaver population on land adjacent to the mill pond, have killed two beavers so far and will be continuing their city-sanctioned hunt. But first they want to make sure local residents understand that their help is not needed in the hunt.

Following last week’s SJ article on the need to eradicate the beaver population, Hindman said he saw several posts on Facebook alluding to local residents who planned to join the hunt.

“We just want ourselves and people to be safe,” he said

Killing beavers is such a special treat in Georgia. Everyone wants to do it. Maybe next time they should hold a lottery?

Aragon is postage stamp of a town with about 2000 people that was named for the deposits of Aragonite – (not a misspelling of Tolkien, as I originally thought.) This little sliver of a region on the northwestern border of the state that is already listed as “abnormally dry” on the drought monitor maps.  What are the odds they will come crying to FEMA for drought relief after the entire town lined up to kill the water-savers?

Loved this yesterday and had to share. Actual rain fell from the actual sky. You can’t believe how good it smelled.

Last night we sat sentinel in hopes of seeing a beaver at ward or the footbridge. We saw a green heron, several bats, and a family of raccoons swimming up the creek, but no beavers. The sky felt sorry for us and treated us to a beautiful light show after most our delicate and scented rain. Lory and Ron took this photo from their home a few blocks away, but you get the idea. Even without beavers, it was magical.


Not Enough: The AE Report

Posted by heidi08 On September - 30 - 2015Comments Off on Not Enough: The AE Report

Did you ever have an arch enemy? I mean someone who thwarts your every move, foils your every plan, and seems to lurk just over your shoulder where you can never, never see them? AE’s are respected and listened to by all the wrong people and whatever work you do to dismiss what they say it’s too late because they’ve already gone on to speak to the next group that you’re going to have to try and re-educate.

The Martinez Beavers have had lots of enemies, city council, public works, hired environmental consulting firms, a few reporters, handsomely paid attorneys and various property owners. But we only ever had one AE. And if you don’t know who that was by now I’m not doing my job.  Here she is talking at the April 2008 council meeting. And here I am over her shoulder looking inceredulous. I believe among her many erroneous points were;

  1. that our beavers were leaving (or had already left),
  2.  that every flow device she had ever seen installed had failed,
  3. and that trees can be protected with blackberry bushes because beaver never eat them as they dislike the thorns.

Originally Mary Tappel offered her services when our city was responding to beaver problems and she was supposed to present formally to the beaver subcommittee. We all got copies of her resume in preparation. But I happened by chance to recognize her name from an article about the Elk Grove beaver fiasco in the Sacramento Bee, which my folks used to get delivered to their home in the foothills. I remember being jarred by her comment in the article at the time that the beavers had to be killed because being sterilized was stressful. I thought, ‘isn’t being killed stressful?’ Then heard later  that she was coming to Martinez to offer l her skills.

At the time she told the reporter for the Gazette that beavers “breed for 50 years”. I remember because when I read the article I wrote him and asked whether it was a typo. The editor said ‘no’ and called her to check that he got the quote correctly. And just like that my AE announced that she would  not present to the subcommittee, because we were too inflamed and hostile, and she would just meet behind the scenes with city staff.

This meant that she could whisper her poisons unchallenged into their willing ears. Telling staff once that the father beaver should be killed so that the mother would have to mate with her sons when they grew up and slow population growth in that way. No. really.

God only knows what else she said.

The mayor liked her council so much that he invited her secretly to the April 2008 meeting where the subcommittee  results were going to be presented. I remember how surprised we were to see her in the hallway outside. To this day I wonder what funds changed hands to get her there. That same night I had suddenly found out I was going to be the one to present our results. No warning, just like that go ahead and talk to 200 people. And then Mary would go after me and dispute everything I said.

It turned out to be okay though, because she was not very convincing with her waving cardboard sign. My luck. And she went away and we got what we wanted, so that seemed like a victory.

Imagine how excited I was when Jack Sanchez of S.A.R.S.A.S heard my talk in Santa Barbra and invited me to come follow her presentation on beavers in Auburn. The shoe was finally on the other foot! I was so happy. I pulled together the latest fish data and they said the talk was the best attended and the best delivered they ever had. I was on cloud 9 when it was over. Especially because of the intelligent comments of one listener from FWS who knew everything about the fish issue and could soothe anxieties at the end of the talk. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

One particularly knowledgeable young man introduced himself as Damion Ciotti from the Habitat Restoration Division of US Fish and Wildlife Service. We connected several years ago and he was very interested in our work in Martinez. I made sure he left with a copy of Mike Callahan’s DVD. You can’t imagine how helpful his comments were in soothing the beaver-disbelievers in the room. I couldn’t have orchestrated it better than to let fish savvy folk do the defending for me!

So I was stunned to hear a few months ago that my AE was invited BACK to S.A.R.S.A.S. to speak on beavers this September. Again? I got word yesterday from Damion that he attended her talk and was dismayed to hear her describe beaver as responsible for “Ecosystem Collapse“. He tried to ask pointed questions but realized she didn’t have any sources for her info but anecdote. She apparently said that there was no region in California where beaver should ever be introduced.

Ecosystem Collapse. If you google the phrase with the word beavers you get zero hits. Only articles about them being a keystone species. I guess the research world doesn’t think like Mary Tappel.

Damion said she introduced herself as working for the state, and he was worried about the influence she might have with policy. She is still staff on the regional waterboards, which is a division of the CAEPA. (Bravely protecting the environment from beavers, apparently). She is still marching around calling herself a beaver expert, and even boasts of her work with Martinez on her resume.

Mary also dealt with beaver management questions and in foothill areas such as Granite Bay, Loomis, & Roseville; and towards the Bay/Delta area in  Martinez, and to the south in Elk Grove, all in creeks and small retention basins. Mary’s involvement in foothill areas and smaller streams has always included salmonid passage concerns.

What a coincidence. With the exception of Martinez those cities are the very ones that issued the most depredation permits. Isn’t that just an amazing coincidence?


Which is not to say she hasn’t learned anything over the years. She used to preach devotedly that beavers ruined salmon passage, and now she says the salmon make their way around dams. Which is something. But I realize, sadly and with no small amount of panic, it’s not enough. I haven’t done enough. People want to hear what she says because they want to get rid of things that are inconvenient. She has a resonant message to deliver. And they want to hear what I say less because co-existence seems like it means work. Screw the salmon. Or the frogs. Just let me do what I want to do, sound environmental and give me cover. So I can get away with it.

I haven’t done enough. And even though, if you google her name, the warnings of this website are nearly the only thing that come up, even though I was able to follow her talk on her home turf in the very county where they kill the most beavers in the entire state, and even though I talked BWW into taking her off their resource list for beaver experts in CA: It’s not enough. I’m not doing enough.

My arch enemy continues to influence the American River area and all its surrounds. She has a powerful platform and a respected government job to grant her credibility. And I haven’t beaten her.


Beavers at Cornell

Posted by heidi08 On September - 29 - 2015Comments Off on Beavers at Cornell

I always knew Mike could get into Cornell if he kept trying!

Lucky beavers who get to inhabit the research pond of the smart people at Cornell Ornithology lab. Lucky frogs, fish and herons that get to continue thriving in glorious beaver habitat. Cheryl sent this today because she’s a regular visitor to the site for their bird cams and has always thought it looked like  a great beaver spot. I’m glad Mike Callahan was on hand to do the right thing at the right time.  Now they need to bring him back for the wildlife management courses to teach another 100  students to do this work in their own states. And maybe publish some reviews of its success.

Hmm,  I’ll write a letter.

High water puts Manitoba resort area in ‘serious jeopardy’

Groundwater, not beaver dams, is causing levels to rise at East Blue Lake, says Perry Stonehouse, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship’s western regional director. Stonehouse made the statement in response to concerns brought forward by a Manitoba man who’s worried he’ll be forced out of business because of the high water.

Arch Dowsett operates a store, restaurant and cabins at the resort area in Duck Mountain Provincial Park. He believes beaver dams are responsible for raising the water level more than three metres in the past five years.
East Blue Lake is located about 110 kilometres northwest of Dauphin, Man. The area is “overrun” with beavers, Dowsett said.

“(The province) was supposed to be monitoring them and removing dams to make sure the water would go in its natural course,” he said.

Umm…funny thing about beaver dams and groundwater. I know you ran around killing all the beaver and ripping out their dams. But they raise the water table you know, so even with the dam gone things would be wetter. Someone told you that, right?

Something tells me we need an adorable beaver kit picture after that. Here’s one Cheryl took of our most unfortunate 2015 children.

Martinez Beaver kit July 2 2015

July 2 beaver kit – Cheryl Reynolds

Columnists behaving badly…

Posted by heidi08 On September - 27 - 2015Comments Off on Columnists behaving badly…

Looks like someone else felt a little snarky when they watched “Beavers Behaving Badly.” I think this column complains about all the wrong things, but its a fun read. Thank you to Bruce Thompson for sending it my way.
Natural World – Beavers Behaving Badly: a sad way to treat a noble species.

Beavers are interesting creatures. Their instinctive urge to build dams has shaped America, and the lush habitats their waterways create makes them an essential part of the country’s ecology. It is hard, however, to take beavers seriously. They’re condemned by their unfortunate Bash Street teeth and junk in the trunk waddle to be the comedy figures of the animal kingdom. I’m sorry to tell you, beavers, but all that ‘keystone species’ shit you’ve been doing – it’s all for nothing. No one can respect an animal that looks like a child’s pyjama case.

 There’s no dark side to a beaver. No air of mystery. Beavers will forever possess a gravitational pull for those who believe their name alone contains a wealth of comic potential. This is a sad, sad thing for the noble beaver, but do they really deserve the indignity of being narrated by Rob Brydon doing his best uncle-at-a-wedding routine? The secret beaver-cam is capturing a family of snuggling beavers as we’re told that the animals mate in the winter. “Lets face it,” says Rob with a silent chuckle, “locked in by the ice for months on end, there’s not much else to do!” I’m all for the dumbing down of television, but has it really come to this? This brave nest of beavers is trying to breed in the face of debilitating conditions, and all they get is Bryn from Gavin & Stacey cracking one-for-the-dads jokes.

Now I agree about the  narration of this film being irritatingly perky, but who does not take beavers seriously? Either people are seriously upset about them, like the anglers in your country, or seriously excited about them, like the wildlife trust folk in Devon, but they all seem to take them seriously.

I like the line about the pajama case, though. (Even though you spelled it wrong.)

The captive is driven out of town while his beaver life partner grieves. Come spring, her bloated body will rise to the top of the thawed ditch and no one will lay flowers on her beaver grave. Did she regret it, in those final hours, choosing freedom over love? This question is never answered, as laughing boy is uncharacteristically quiet for this bit. Instead, it’s back to the hidden camera in a beaver lodge, where some fwuffy beaver kits are having a nice sleep. Honestly, it’s simply untenable, I refuse to be patro … but, awww, look at their funny faces!

Gotcha! AHA! Baby beavers are not just puppy cute, they are inescapably adorable aren’t they. Told you. Now they’ve got your attention.

Now that one’s having a little scratch! Yes NW:BBB, you’re right, it is just like me in the morning. Maybe this condescending fuzz isn’t so bad after all. I know I should beaver-y ashamed, but I can’t help myself.

Yep, anyone who starts watching beavers will probably keep watching them a little longer. They’re compelling that way.

Consider yourself warned.

Beaver services in three states

Posted by heidi08 On September - 26 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver services in three states

Again today there is lots of beaver news. I’ll walk you through it and save the most fun for last. First this from Vermont – where they know a thing  or two about living with beavers.


BENSON — Armed with flexible piping, a cage made of metalfencing, two cinder blocks and a few tools, a group of students scrambled through the woods Thursday morning.

The group of nine from Stafford Technical Center’s Forestry, Natural Resources and Horticulture program were helping to build a beaver baffle at the Shaw Mountain Natural Area in Benson.

Accompanied by their instructors, employees of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the Nature Conservancy of Vermont, the group made the more than half-mile hike up the rocky wooded terrain carrying the necessary supplies for the “beaver baffle” they were going to install.
A beaver baffle is a structure that controls water in a beaver impoundment by lowering the water level by moving water out where it wouldn’t normally be flowing, said Rachel Bakerian, a state beaver specialist.

“We can maintain the water level and control it, but the beaver can still maintain their habitat,” said Kim Royar, wildlife biologist with the department.

Hurray for forestry students that know how to install a flow device! I’m not sure why it’s a baffle and not a pond leveler or castor master but FULL MARKS for effort boys and girls.


I was very happy to see folks doing the sensible thing and even MORE happy when I saw this:

COLUMN: Thanks to beaver dam, Crooked Pond in Boxford has more water

The water level on both sides of the dam was not what they expected. Due to the drought they had anticipated walking on the usually beaver flooded road to and from the base of Bald Hill on dry land. Another larger beaver dam across the east end of Crooked Pond where it drains to a tributary of Fish Brook has kept the water relatively high. Parts of the road flooded much of the year are even in this dry spell now still ankle deep.
The largely unseen but obviously active beavers are doing a great service for wildlife and plants throughout the state. It was that way four centuries ago before the English and French newcomers paid good wampum, iron knives and pots, and later beads to the Indians for beaver pelts. The beavers were soon gone.
This millennium thanks to protective, and we think enlightened laws, they are back in a big way. Next to humans beavers have been the most written about animals featured here in the Water Closet. The 17th century colonists sought out the low lands that beavers had inundated for ten thousand years. In them the soil was a meter or more thick of rich black muck. The English farmers dug drainage ditches and used the land mid to late summer. In the 20th century, without beavers or farmers, the areas become red maple swamps. The beavers now back have drowned the maples. The inundated areas called beaver meadows, with year round water and lots of light, are lush with life.

Keep in mind that this article is from Massachusetts, home of the many complainers about beavers. Our friends at Streamkeepers in Middletown have known the truth about beavers for years, and have been doing amazing work. Since I was raised Catholic I was not at all surprised to see this timely ending:

One-time chemist, now environmentalist Pope Francis, originator of the cyclical Laodato Si, would understand all this. We hope while here he visits wetlands to see what God’s creatures are doing, and that when he speaks to Congress he’ll cause blinders to be shed.

I can’t tell you how much I love the idea of the pope approving beavers. It makes me smile very much.


Okay, one last thing to smile about and its the finally PERFECT use for beaver traps. No, really.

Pot grow-op guarded by beaver traps found along Salmon River

The Chipman RCMP have taken down an outdoor marijuana grow operation in Chipman that was guarded with beaver traps.

The grow-op was found along the banks of the Salmon River in Gaspereau Forks.

hahaha…I could say lots of things, like how beaver traps are “painless” and “humane” and people shouldn’t worry. But the broken website is even MORE broken on my mac, so I’ll spare you any more formatting flaws.