Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

No Problem a little Explosives can’t Cure.

Posted by heidi08 On November - 23 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Silly me, all these years I’ve been working to ‘solve problems’ when I could have just blown them up instead!


Dam Bustin – Country Style

Woodlands County offers a service to it’s ratepayers with explosive results. The beaver flood control program provided by the county uses dynamite to blast away beaver dams that are flooding resident’s properties.

Dawn Fortin, Woodlands County manager of agricultural services, says that the intention of the service is to relieve flooding on private property and near roads to protect infrastructure. “We call it our beaver flood control program,” Fortin said. “We’ll remove the dam using dynamite or sometimes we use mechanical means like a backhoe.”

Ahh yes, no one is happier than a technician with explosives at a beaver dam. Sure it destroys wetlands for fish, birds and wildlife, does nothing to prevent flooding, destroys creek channels and will need to be repeated next year, but at least the price is right:

Glen Renfert, agricultural services technician, performs the service and is an employee of the county. The service costs only $70 and according to Renfert, just covers the cost of materials.”We don’t want to make a profit on it,” Fortin said. “If you get a whole bunch of dams on the property and there are some that are not causing an issue. We don’t just blow them up just because. If we only need to remove two or three out of five, we’re going to save them that much money. We don’t want to incur more costs for them unnecessarily.”

Of course you know that beavers would just rebuild right? And that all those materials from the blown up dam might still snag and cause flooding.

Prior to blasting, the county sends trappers out to the location to trap the beavers. Once the beavers are removed, then the removal of the dam can begin. “Our trapper is a licensed trapper so he can harvest the beaver for its pelt,” Fortin said. “Other trappers use the animal for bait, the pelts aren’t worth much in the summer.”Woodlands County has a permit from AESRD to be able to perform the service during the off-season for trappers. Starting on May 1, and until Oct. 31, the county can perform the service for residents.

Well at least you’re thorough.

A story this funny needs a punchline. And I have one. The article is from Alberta, Canada. Which puts them around two hours from the top beaver researcher in the world. In fact, Dr. Glynnis Hood is currently doing research to establish the effectiveness of flow devices to regulate flooding. She might even be willing to send some students down to install a flow device for free. But go ahead, spend the 70 bucks.

And speaking of willfully misguided beaver decisions that don’t work anyway, guess who I heard from last night? Our old friends at the 4 seasons senior complex outside El Dorado Hills. Where neighbors got together to protect some beavers in 2012. They were eventually thwarted by the Orwellian HOA who hired USDA to kill the beavers and swing the dead bodies dramatically past the protesters. Blood under the bridge. Guess what’s back not two years later?

We have a new beaver population that has just moved into four seasons.Their fate is up in the air even though we have a new HOA board.They have tentatively agreed to work with us on the issue but I am not convinced of this. Would you be willing to send and email to HOA board telling them of your success and expertise in this area? Let me know. 

What do you think? Would I be willing?

Beaver madness

Posted by heidi08 On November - 20 - 2014Comments Off

beaver guestsIf you missed our exciting CT debut you can check out the podcast  and learn about the guests here. The beginning of the program is a little excessively whimsical, but it’s a pretty awesome listen overall. I was so happy to learn Sherri was going to be on at the end, and thrilled when the host rightfully called her “the Bruce Springsteen of Beaver Trapping”. I’m not unhappy with my performance. I did an okay job of saying what I wanted to say regardless of whatever silly question was asked. (A trick politicians innately seem to have, but is hard for us compliant folks to learn.) It was very hard to hear on the phone, and I was straining ever muscle to make sure I followed what they were saying, even with the dog locked outside and the volume up.

I weirdly never feel stressed during the actual event, but I was a basket case the rest of the day, so I guess it does take something out of you. The amazingly well-spoken caller from East Haddam, CT, was echoed by almost the exact same comment on this website from Pennsylvania. Did you see? Telling people on the East coast that we can live with beaver has amazing results. I loved the genuine interest and education of the producer and the host, who contacted me after to say thanks and make sure they hadn’t posted nutria pictures.  And Sherri called me excited after the interview and wanted to kvetch about all the things we didn’t get to say. Not missing any opportunities, I then boldly wrote and thanked both authors, asking for copies of their books for the silent auction. It was quite the morning.

CaptureNo resting on our laurels, time marches on, and yesterday I noticed this photo leading an article about mink farming in Nova Scotia.  The article quotes our friends at Furbearer Defenders and criticizes mink farms for being unsanitary. But its righteous message is compromised by its inherent plagierism. Maybe the photo seems  familiar to you? Or maybe you didn’t recognize it without CREDIT to our own Cheryl Reynolds? I wrote the editor and the reporter so we’ll see if it gets credited soon.

In the meantime there’s this charming appreciation of beavers from an outdoor column in Illinois.

CaptureSince the early 1960s I have been amazed with beavers.

 Before that we had no giant rodents in our state so this was an all new animal. As they became more numerous, many farmers loved to see them and became very protective of any that built dams on their waterways. In fact many farms that contained beaver colonies became a sightseeing event for many folks.

Is that true that Illinois didn’t reintroduce beaver until the 60′s? That would be very surprising. But reading through his column I see that he is largely unburdened by facts or research of any kind. He emphatically states that beavers were easy to wipe out because they only have two kits every year. And that they fell trees and eat the entire thing, all the way to the top.

Well, okay then. Maybe not the 60′s.

Ice conditions make trapping very dangerous and hard work. After catching a large beaver, there is a lot of work to get them ready for market. The animal must be skinned, fleshed (all the fat removed) and placed on a round stretcher to dry. This results in several hours of hard work. The hourly rate doesn’t attract many trappers.

When I was at the beaver festival in Utah I had an interesting conversation with Mary about the Utah trapping association. She had invited them to the event and they brought furs for the children to touch. Mary was especially impressed by one trapper who explained that ‘beavers are really good for the creek! They make all this wildlife!’ and she admonished her students to spend more time talking to them. Because you can’t only talk to people who agree with you. And they could learn things.

Which is true. I agree 100% with the concept. Someone should have many conversations with trappers, wardens and invite their local technicians from APHIS for a beer.

Someone else.

Hurry! Only 12 days left to call WS liars!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 18 - 2014Comments Off

Well, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of other opportunities, but this is an important one. Before we get down to work and roll up our sleeves, let’s have dessert first.

Searching for beavers on the Quabbin Reservoir’s restricted Prescott Peninsula

About 20 DCR biologists and volunteers stomped to shake off the cold Sunday morning, standing in a ring outside a small shack on the Prescott Peninsula as Clark set the plan for the annual beaver survey. Teams would split off, tramp through the woods to follow their respective streams, take down data on any active beaver lodges, then return to the shack for lunch.

Beavers were non-existent in Massachusetts for more than a century due to hunting and trapping, plus elimination of habitat. After the valley was flooded in the late 1930s, the beavers returned.

Clark said that after the beavers came to the reservoir, the population followed a pattern typical of reintroduction — explosive growth, followed by a crash as the habitat is oversaturated, then a steady leveling off.

No way, are you suggesting that the population actually regulated itself? Without trapping? Even when the Massachusetts voters imposed new restrictions on trapping in 96 and the population was supposed to explode? This is pretty outlandish stuff. Just how long have you been collecting this spurious data?

The first Prescott survey was held in 1952. The survey has been annual since the early 1970s, and some of Sunday’s searchers have returned every year for 30-40 years.

Holy Guacamole Batman. You mean they have 62 years of data on beaver population? And the effect of conibear restriction is somewhere in the middle? You know a statistician worth his pocket calculator could easily whip those numbers into a regression analysis that disproves the accepted lie about beaver population exploding after the new rules were applied? You do know that, right?

Well, maybe the reporter got that wrong. He seemed really distracted by the meat balls. He does say that people aren’t normally allowed in the area because it’s in the watershed. Ahem. (News flash:Every place on this planet is part of a watershed. Just so you know.)


Everyone ready? It’s November 18th so that means you still have 12 days left to tell Wildlife Services that their rodent management plan is ridiculous, oblivious  of the environment or science, and barbaric in the extreme. But those are just my words. You’ll find your own. Here’s Mike Settel from Idaho talking about what’s needed.

In Wildlife Service’s newest justification for ridding us of beaver you can find that bit of humor and others in a recent request for public comment on Wildlife Service’s “Aquatic Rodent” EA for North Carolina.

Don’t attempt to e-mail your comments because, according to their deputy director for environmental compliance Alton Dunaway, receiving comments only by FAX and snail mail will “modernize” their public involvement process. I recommend Faxing comments to (919) 782-4159…However, an e-mail you may find useful is for that of the author, Barbara Schellinger. 

Even though it is a North Carolina document, the rationale proposed sets a precedent for mis-information and obfuscation regarding wildlife management. Please FAX your comments and request that WS includes non-lethal mitigation as beaver solutions, provide current data showing beaver harm salmonids, and prove that beaver dams increase sediment pollution (there are other spurious claims that are suspect or dated, but you should read those for yourselves). Regards, Mike

Thanks Mike for putting us on the right track. Remember, what they get away with in North Carolina will become precedent everywhere. I will share just a little bit of their ignorance, but you should really go read the report for yourself here:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources guidelines for management of trout stream habitat stated that beaver dams are a major source of damage to trout streams (White and Brynildson 1967, Churchill 1980). Studies that are more recent have documented improvements to trout habitat upon removal of beaver dams. Avery (1992) found that wild brook trout populations improved significantly following the removal of beaver dams from tributaries of some streams. Species abundance, species distribution, and total biomass of non-salmonids also increased following the removal of beaver dams (Avery 1992).

Beaver dams may adversely affect stream ecosystems by increasing sedimentation in streams; thereby, affecting wildlife that depend on clear water such as certain species of fish and mussels. Stagnant water impounded by beaver dams can increase the temperature of water impounded upstream of the dam, which can negatively affect aquatic organisms. Beaver dams can also act as barriers that inhibit movement of aquatic organisms and prevent the migration of fish to spawning areas.

Wow. Give it up for the USDA and author Barbara Schelllinger who was willing to dig back through 47 years of research to find the  completely bogus paper she just knew to be true! This woman is no slacker when it comes to bravely lying about beavers. Good lord, the letter almost writes itself. Although I personally feel that Issue 7 deserves the lion’s share of our attention.

Therefore, the breaching or removal of a beaver dam could result in the degrading or removal of a wetland, if wetland characteristics exist at a location where a beaver dam occurs. The preexisting habitat (prior to the building of the dam) and the altered habitat (areas flooded by impounded water) have different ecological values to the fish and wildlife native to the area. Some species may benefit by the addition of a beaver dam that creates a wetland, while the presence of some species of wildlife may decline. For example, darters listed as federally endangered require fast moving waters over gravel or cobble beds, which beaver dams can eliminate; thus, reducing the availability of habitat. In areas where bottomland forests were flooded by beaver dams, a change in species composition could occur over time as trees die. Flooding often kills hardwood trees, especially when flooding persists for extended periods, as soils become saturated. Conversely, beaver dams could be beneficial to some wildlife, such as river otter, neotropical migratory birds, and waterfowl that require aquatic habitats.

beaver in barDingDingDing! I found the opening! (Well, one of many actually.)  See in their effort to say “it’s a wash, really” beaver dams HELP some species sure, but they HARM others. So getting rid of them is a zero sum game with totally justifiable consequences. Just take the darter for instance!


Maybe we’re the only ones that remember there’s this famous case from Alabama in 2008 where the city of Birmingham was sued by The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (among others) for upwards of a million dollars over removing this beaver dam that was protecting  thousands of the rare endangered watercress darters. In the end the case cost the city some 4,000,000 dollars and dragged  out in court over 4 years. Am I ringing any bells, does this sound vaguely familiar?

The city “knew or should have known that removing a beaver dam and surrounding natural structures would potentially disrupt the water level of the Basin and its inhabitants,” the agency claims.

CaptureDam [sic],  this is gonna be fun. If you want to share your letters, send them to me and I’ll make sure they’re visible. I’m sure WS is hoping they can make it all the way to November 30th without hearing from you. Let’s disappoint them, shall we?

Last night, on the footbridge, I loved you best of all!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 16 - 2014Comments Off
I love her, in the springtime
And I love her in the fall,
But last night, on the back porch
I loved her best of all!

These shocking lyrics reflecting the moral depravity of our youth were published in 1923, some 89 years ago, before video games and ‘R’ movies. Maybe the fact that our house had already been around for a quarter of a century before the song was recorded had something to do with why, when I went to see the beavers last night, this was the soundtrack I heard in my head.

You see, our kit, (the 2014) model, has been living at Ward Street since August. And I’ve been getting more and more worried about his truant little runaway self. I talked with our experts, who had not seen it before but told me not to worry, advice impossible to follow. Beavers are very social animals, and they need face time with their parents learning beaver things for upwards of 24 months before they’re ready to hitch off on their own.

So guess what I saw from the footbridge last night, with Lory and Jon?

Our twentieth kit, climbing on mom’s tail, crunching on snacks, with 2 or three other beavers! (Maybe even dad?) Swimming, chewing, whining and acting like his little kitself again! I can’t tell you how much lighter our three moods were as we walked eventually back to our cars. The beaver family is together and everything’s right with the world.


Now that we’re all in good moods, I will show you this treat that I stumbled upon yesterday. Look who has a new website! Now there are three great beaver resources to share with folks who want new ways to solve problems!


  We are a company dedicated to protecting our land and infrastructure, as well as allowing for creative remedies that improve habitats and end wasteful killing and spending. Our technology and practices are state-of-the-art, and have been employed domestically as well as internationally to mitigate the growing problems presented by the beaver population.

Finally! Skip Lisle’s website has hit the internet(s) running! Complete with great information and awesome photos showing off his skill. Go explore the sight, its lots of fun. I couldn’t be happier, although it was a little surprising to find this:

Skip Lisle offers that rare combination of “can-do” competence, creativity, and courtesy. He ably tamed our beavers with promptness and professionalism. Our California town, Martinez, still fondly remembers the man from Vermont, and his solution to save our Downtown!

Mark Ross
Vice Mayor
Martinez, California, USA

A testimonial from Mark Ross and nothing whatsoever from Worth A Dam? I suppose a vice mayor is slightly better advertising than a child psychologist, but it’s silly to overlook the beavers’ de facto press secretary. Well, the cat’s outta the bag now, I made sure everyone saw this yesterday, its on our beaver links, and in the future I will make sure that everyone knows your skills have a great website to promote them!

Too much good news?Guess what arrived in the mail yesterday. Approval from the Martinez Community Foundation for our grant application for the festival VIII art project! They paid 100% of the amount requested. No fooling, money from Martinez, for the beaver festival. I’m still pinching myself.

CaptureThank you Martinez Community Foundation for helping us teach children about ecosystems at the beaver festival! And thank you artist FRO Butler who will be doing the lion’s share of the work, prepping and painting the canvas, purchasing the materials, and supervising the eager artists. I can’t wait till the whole thing comes together and we can use it at our displays in the future!




The Beaver State Beckons

Posted by heidi08 On November - 14 - 2014Comments Off

conference 2014The agenda is out for the State of the Beaver Conference 2015 and it looks amazing. Starting with the Keynote speaker Lixing Sun, the co-author of the most famous beaver book yet written. (Books really, because it’s so popular there’s a second edition.)

 Now maybe you’re thinking”why should I care” or “I hate Oregon in February” and “I don’t need to hear the latest beaver research”. But if you were thinking that you’d be thinking wrong. I’m going to assume that whoever you are you drink water, live on a rapidly heating planet, and are a citizen of a government with limited resources for fixing those things. The world needs beavers, and the only way it’s going to get them is if people like you stand up and teach people why they matter and how to live with them. This conference will make you better at that and you’ll hear from great minds like,

Instream Salmon habitat restoration and unintended benefits for west side beavers Robert Nichols, USDA Forest Service Fish Biologist

NWRC Beaver Research Update: From the Beaver State to the Heart of Dixie Ph.D. Jimmy Taylor,National Wildlife Research Center

Mathematical Ecologist, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center Ph.D. Chris Jordan

Flow Devices – Controlling Beaver Dam Flooding, and Facilitating Salmon Passage Michael Callahan, Beaver Solutions Inc

Beaver Restoration in Urban Creeks Ph.D. Heidi Perryman, Worth a Dam, Martinez Beavers

 Not to mention that it looks like this morning I just managed to get Derek Gow from Cornwall on the schedule. So you’ll be personally updated on the most famous beavers in the world. As well as a watershed-beaver introduction by this persuasive gentleman:


The conference is truly one-of-a-kind, inexpensive, and ecologically  invaluable. The hotel is nice and beaver friendly, the casino thinks beavers are good luck, and you will meet amazing people that will become amazing friends. Register here and I’ll see you in Canyonville!

2015 SponsorsNow there is lots more to say, including beavers being threatened in BWW’s home town, (if you can believe it) and moderately good news from DEFRA about the Devon beavers. but I wrote this post this morning at 7am, worked on the graphics for leonard and promptly  lost it the entire column in the ether so had to do EVERYTHING again.

This beaver reporter needs a break.

Beaver, Nutria, Otter, what’s the big diff?

Posted by heidi08 On November - 13 - 2014Comments Off

Our retired librarian from the University of Georgia beaver friend tracked down the entire video from that beaver clip yesterday. And the mistake wasn’t a bug, it was a feature. Apparently no distinction is made between beaver and nutria at all. Well, they’re both rodents I guess.


No wonder people can tell them apart. And when you realize the the word “Nutria” in Spanish actually means “Otter” it gets even more exciting. In fact, when the Spanish were settling in California they killed lots of what they were calling Nutria, that was probably beaver. The confusion just spreads in every direction.

IDTurtle Bay’s new beaver gets acquainted with aquarium

So the orphan of Torture Bay has now been stuffed into a tank for children to peer at through the glass. Apparently he’s so lonely he’s chasing fish. I particularly love her response when the children express concern that he has hit his head on the glass. She explains that beavers have very hard heads because trees fall on them all the time. Obviously, the whole thing is very educational.

And just in case you wondered, I hate this with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns.

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.
I hate thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I hate thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I hate thee freely, as men strive for right.
I hate thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I hate thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I hate thee with a hate I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I hate thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but hate thee better after death.

Mistaken for 75 years

Posted by heidi08 On November - 12 - 2014Comments Off

This is a nice video about the value of beaver wetlands from England.  One of the best parts of the beaver dramas in Scotland, and now Devon, is that it allows really smart people to get time on the news explaining why beavers help us. This shows not only great habitat but a great explanation of ‘peaty soil’ soaking up the water. To make its case it inserts a news reel from 1939 about using beavers to build creeks in America. It shows beavers vigorously building dams, and then gives a closeup of one munching away. Guess what the closeup is of? Go ahead, guess.

CaptureThe stunning part is you can even see the TAIL of the second nutria. Obviously the filmmaker was on his way to lunch and the producer didn’t care.  It’s just a film reel.  Who would notice?

Just us.