Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

You are going to LOVE this article…

Posted by heidi08 On January - 30 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Sorry it’s a few days old, I can’t believe this magic escaped my google alerts! But thanks for Pat Russel bringing it to my attention.

Eager B.E.A.V.ers

It began with a birthday dinner.

 Peggy Watters was celebrating alongside her husband, Mike, and friends from the neighborhood when Paul Spindel — the Watters’ next door neighbor — turned to her with a strange request.

 For almost five years, Spindel, Watters and other neighbors had been dealing with beavers that had taken residence in the creek behind their homes in the Bolton area. Trees had been destroyed, at times chewed more than halfway through before being cut down, and the Watters were forced to install new barriers around their property after a beaver destroyed one of their pear trees.

But this wasn’t an adversarial relationship. The beavers could be a pain, but Watters, Spindel and fellow neighbor Marla Gaarenstroom were also fascinated by their presence and the domino effect it seemed to have on the ecology of the area.

 And so it was that during this birthday dinner, about four months ago, Spindel made his request to Peggy Watters.

 “I think you need to get a group going,” he said. “I think we need to do something about this.”

 Watters agreed, and B.E.A.V. was born.

B.E.A.V., which stands for “Beaver Environmental Advocacy Volunteers,” is an eight-person group intended to help educate residents on what it means to have beavers in a neighborhood — beyond the obvious tree-chomping problems. On Sunday, B.E.A.V. will host an informational meeting at the West Linn Public Library with special guest Susan Barnes, a conservation biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Be still my heart! A husband who tells his wife to form a beaver group for her birthday! Could there honestly be a better present? To tell the truth this might be the best story I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something. I’m actually JEALOUS. Isn’t that wonderful? I’m thinking B.E.A.V. needs some complimentary Worth A Dam t-shirts stat and maybe a nice bottle of Castoro Cellars chardonnay to celebrate. Ooh how about beaver shortbread cookies in the care box too?












Well, I will try my best to track B.E.A.V. members down and offer our friendship. In the meantime, I’m excited that there’s a new group of beaver supporters on the block. It just makes you think of this doesn’t it?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the [beaver] world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

Onto even better news because Jon saw a big beaver carrying a branch onto the secondary dam this morning after which the beaver stopped by to mud it, and Jean saw TWO beavers yesterday. We were watching Wednesday night and saw only the end of our patience, but clearly they’re still in residence and just waiting for whatever beavers wait for to show themselves. And in case it’s been so long since you’ve seen a beaver mudding you need a reminder, here’s a good glimpse from Cheryl Reynolds.

beaver moving mud beniciaFinal thoughts: Just saw this on facebook and had to share. This is Ian Timothy of beaver Creek fame==-[ hard at work in his Sophomore year at Cal Arts. The caption said “best stop motion animator I know” and I’m sure we all agree!


Beaver Reprievers!

Posted by heidi08 On January - 29 - 2015ADD COMMENTS
Reintroduction of European beavers

The Daily Mail lists no credit for this photo, but doesn’t his hair look a lot like our Dad beaver? Maybe it’s an older adult grooming trick.

Campaigners hail beavers reprieve

Natural England said the trial in Devon, which could include introducing other breeding pairs of beavers if they are needed to ensure the genetic diversity of the population, would inform future decisions on releasing beavers in England.

The conservation organisation said the unauthorised release of beavers remains illegal and it does not expect to grant any other licences for releases during the five years of the trial.

 Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said: ” It is wonderful to hear that the first breeding population of beavers in England for hundreds of years is going to be allowed to remain in the wild.

 ”We know that we can’t bring back all the great animals that the country’s lost – at least not everywhere – but where it is feasible, we owe it to future generations to do so.”

 Friends of the Earth campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: ” Beavers add to Britain’s rich natural heritage and can bring huge benefits to the local environment, such as boosting wildlife and reducing flooding risks.

 ”Thanks to the hard work of thousands of individuals and organisations, our number of native species just increased by one. The next stage is to get the beavers tested and then returned to the River Otter where they can now swim in peace.”


Borrowed from the facebook page of a UK beaver supporter

Congratulations! The good news about Devon is all over the internet(s). I am thrilled that the mysteriously-appearing beavers are going to be allowed to stay, and that they will receive a 5 year study period in safety. The Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail all boast triumphant stories this morning. I can only imagine what the sullen angler community looks like tonight, but I’m sure beaver supporters met in gatherings much like this:

Now a quick reminder from our sponsors in Georgia that if you’re going to use explosives to blow up a beaver dam, you should really tell your neighbors, first. No, seriously.

Residents concerned by beaver dam explosions

People hear loud booms in their neighborhoods and want to know what they are coming from. It happened again Wednesday.

 Investigators often say those booms are landowners blowing up beaver dams. That is the explanation residents near the Dougherty-Lee County line in the Callaway Lakes area got Wednesday

” But what they need to understand is very seldom does blowing up the dam make the beavers move. If they like the dam if they like that location and like where that dam is, chances are within a weeks time they’ll probably just build the dam back,” said Ben Kirkland

 “I’m glad to know what it is., “said Nancy Lawrence.

 Lawrence now wishes those who blow up a dam would notify residents in the area beforehand.

“you know a paper in your paperbox or on the flag of your mailbox. Just to know what it was, that would’ve been nice,” said Nancy Lawrence.

Yes it would be so much more polite to let your neighbors know before you explode a family down the street. I guess just cutting off the tails and collecting the bounty makes less noise. (Shudder)

Yestersizeday we got some new photos from the Napa beaver dam from Rusty Cohn with an exciting new species.  The little visitor very kindly posed by a mallard to show us just how small she was. This is a female bufflehead, these  ducks are actually usually only seen in bays and lakes. The ducks are great divers and spend at least half their time under the water devouring aquatic insects. Lucky for her there will be lots to chose from at the beaver pond.


Female Bufflehead in Tulocay Creek, Napa
By Rusty Cohn 1.27.15

Singing their praises

Posted by heidi08 On January - 28 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

I love days like today. There are two new wonderful beaver stories and one rotten trapper story. So since we’re rich with choices, I’m not going to cover the trapper story. You already knows what it says. Rugged brave trapper has different life and we need him because the beavers are so populaty. And trapping is such hard work because the beavers got away and he has to come back tomorrow. Blah blah blah.

Now let’s talk about the good stuff.

Looking at that report, I’d say that the media is definitely on the beaver side. And every viewer who watches that will be too. Derek Gow does a perfect job of sounding reasonable. Which is just what’s needed. When this is over he should personally send a thank you note to DEFRA for being such assholes that everyone agreed with him in protest.

Good work!

Beavers do landscaping for Alberta family


 After years of trying unsuccessfully to build a pond on their property, an Alberta family decided to call in some experts — beavers.

 Pierre Bolduc and Sara Wiesenberg moved their family to an acreage about 10 kilometres southeast of Bragg Creek because Wiesenberg wanted space to ride horses and be close to nature. Bragg Creek is about 40 kilometres southwest of Calgary.

 Bolduc wanted to build a pond on the property, in part so he and his sons could play hockey on the ice in the winter. He spent four or five years trying.

 Finally, he decided he needed help.

 He hired a trapper to move beavers onto his property. According to provincial regulations, permits are required to remove beavers from your land, but not to move them on.

I love this story, and love that someone finally hired a trapper for a good purpose. It was posted back in July but sent to me yesterday by our friend Donna Dubreuil from the Ottawa-Carton Wildlife Centre. I’m sure that the pond is frozen now, and Mr. Bolduc is skating on that ice with his sons while we speak.

A very cheering beaver story from Alberta without Glynnis Hood’s name in it. And lord knows that doesn’t happen very often!


Devon Beavers given 5 year license to stay in England and be studied. Whooohoo!

Beaver family allowed to stay on Devon river

Beavers living on the River Otter in Devon will be allowed to remain living in the wild, if free of disease.

Government agency Natural England has decided to award the Devon Wildlife Trust a five-year licence to manage the animals, on a trial basis.

The animals must first be trapped and tested to ensure they are a European species and free from tapeworm.

 This is the first time such permission has been given to re-introduce a mammal previously extinct in England.

The Drama in Devon

Posted by heidi08 On January - 27 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

The news from Devon is getting more and more interesting, and what once looked like a quick DEFRA victory, is turning into a marathon battle over public interest. I’m just excited its still being discussed.

Beaver debate needs to focus on the long term

For creatures no one ever sees or hears, they are creating a clamorous stampede. The fact that there are beavers on River Otter is in no doubt – you can see evidence of their engineering works in several areas – but it is the human debate which is mounting over their future that is beginning to echo so loudly down this peaceful Devon valley.

Should the wild beavers in the area be allowed to remain for a test period of five years, or should they be rounded up and carted off to some wildlife park? That is the question which Natural England and DEFRA will be deciding on next week and, as the clock ticks towards beaver heaven or hell, so the increasing voices of opinion can be heard resounding across the media and the internet.

Ahh the citizens of Devon made such a clamor! I remember those days in Martinez. And hopefully our noisy dilemma made some observable difference to what is happening. Certainly it showed that public opinion can push the debate. When the people lead the leaders will follow. But not right away. First they have to exhaust all the possible options for refuting/marginalizing/ignoring them.

We saw that in Martinez too.

The UK’s leading beaver expert, Devon-based Derek Gow, told the WMN that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, had directed Natural England to made a decision on the “basis of science and evidence alone”.

 “If they do so on this basis then the mists of myth and misunderstanding which have swirled around this issue for so long will simply vanish leaving only one clear answer,” said Mr Gow. “Although their decision may seem insignificant involving, as it does a tiny, very fragile, population of beavers, it is in reality momentous.

 “It will give us the opportunity to set an example of tangible tolerance we have never attempted before, by re-establishing in its rightful environment this creature we once slaughtered recklessly.”

 Mr Gow said he had “no doubt” that beavers could exist in British landscapes but only if their presence was “competently handled”.

 “Beavers can be trying. Their engineering abilities can conflict with our interests but the truth is that they create environments which abound in wildlife, retain water, prevent flooding and assist in the restoration of cleaner river systems.

Derek has been a beacon of beaver strength in the area since before this began. We have followed his advocacy for beaver benefits for years now, and I’ve very excited he’s presenting on the matter at the State of the Beaver Conference next month.  Since I’ll have a front row seat for that particular discussion, you will too.

 4:15 pm −5:00 pm Return of the Beaver to Britain

Derek Gow, Consultancy Ltd. Devon, Britain

The article ends with an emphasis on needing to have tools for ‘management’ of beaver presence in England. Of course management is a euphemism for ‘lethal trapping’.

Dr. Bridgewater went on: “What we should be focussing on – where the debate is – is that 20 or 30 years down the line their numbers may well have expanded. They will move up the catchment, and between catchments. Everyone needs to be aware that is the case. It is not a car-crash – you can manage them, there are good management techniques – but it is a matter of everyone knowing what they are getting into.

 “If I have a concern it is about communication – people might think having the beavers is fantastic and support it – but they might not necessarily support the management.

 Very ominous Dr. Bridgewater. And kind of silly. Do you honestly think that a country that tolerates the regular culling the most beloved animal in the entire United Kingdom isn’t going to be ready to take out a few lumpy beavers? How much work does the advance team really need to do on the issue?




I’m OK you’re not OK – lahoma…..

Posted by heidi08 On January - 26 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

I think saving beavers is a hard work. But there are two things that are harder, and I constantly thank my lucky stars that I escaped their fates.

1) saving coyotes.

2) saving beavers in Oklahoma.

Our beaver friend in Tulsa the Skunk Whisperer wanted to donate his services to install a flow device after he saw Mike’s DVD and he still couldn’t find a single land owner willing to live with the beavers for free. In the entire state. A state that has had more droughts than it has vowels, no less. If it please the court, I offer this mornings article as supporting evidence.

Beaver problems in pond dams

Dam problems can turn into big problems.

Capture1“The typical Oklahoma farm pond dam was built with too narrow of a top and is too steep sided,” said Marley Beem, Oklahoma State Univesrity Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist. “Such ponds are at high risk of failing when animals burrow into the dam.”

 Beaver can cause great amounts of damage by excavating bank burrows, causing internal erosion and threatening the structural integrity.

 Capture “Pondowners need to keep a watchful eye out for beaver activity so they can catch any damage early or prevent it,” said OSU Cooperative Extension Wildlife Specialist, Dwayne Elmore. “

 “First, I would recommend calling USDA Wildlife Services to see if they might be able to send out a trapper.” Elmore said. “Beaver are not too difficult to trap if you have a little experience. But, if you miss them in a trap, they are very tough to get, so you need to get them on the firsttry.”

 If Wildlife Services cannot help, pond owners can take matters into their own hands by trapping or night shooting.

 “I advise shooting, as the only legal trap a private landowner can use is a leg hold trap in a drowning set, which is a little tricky,” he said. “Night shooting works well but you will need to call the county Conservation Officer and/or sheriff to let them know what you are doing.”

 Using a shotgun is preferred and is much safer when shooting at water. Once the pest has been eradicated, repairs to the pond dam can commence.

This remarkable advice has been recorded in the local paper and passed on to all concerned farmers. I’m sure most of them are already waiting at the FEMA office to get in line early for their next drought assistance. Both of these sage professors are from the Natural Resources and Ecology Management Department at Oklahoma State University. No, really. I think the word ‘ecology’ might have a different meaning there.

It must mean ‘use a shotgun’.

That being said, one thing that surprises me is that, as little as OK knows about beaver,  they still know better to allow cows access to ponds in Oklahoma while we still bravely do it in our East Bay Regional Parks!

It must be almost February, because there’s a report this morning about a beaver on the highway in Vancouver. Ahh disperser season! An officer escorted him off the highway and into a park. Which I think is my very favorite job for the police.

Beaver blocks traffic in West Vancouver

Traffic at one West Vancouver intersection ground to a halt on Monday morning after a slow moving beaver decided to cross the road.

Drive safely!

Making beavers count

Posted by heidi08 On January - 25 - 20151 COMMENT

We’ve talked before about the hero from Pocatello that managed to get Audubon to provide a grant for a beaver count in the habitat in Idaho. Mike Settell is a friend of this  website and pulled off his own musical beaver festival last summer (the dam jam!). Now he’s in the news again, training volunteers for a snowy beaver count.


Locals Prepare for Beaver Count

 Watershed Guardians began training Saturday for their fourth annual Beaver Count.  The Beaver Count is a free winter event where teams snowshoe, ski or hike through various drainages in the Portneuf Watershed to count Beaver activity.

 KPVI News Six met with them on Saturday up at Mink Creek to learn more about their role in Beaver sustainability.  Members from the Watershed Guardians prepared lunch in a yurt for volunteers coming back from training for the 4th annual Beaver Count.

 The training was held at Mink Creek’s Nordic Center. 

While the volunteers trained, they learned about the Beaver’s role in a healthy watershed and the current state of the Beaver in Idaho.  Watershed Guardian volunteer Joan Bernt says training the volunteers is essential for the Beaver Count.

 “The other thing is, is we want to make sure that people realize what they are looking for when they are looking for an active beaver colony. Just because they see a dam, that doesn’t mean that’s an active live Beaver maintaining that dam,” says volunteer, Joan Bernt.

 The Beaver Count consists of teams surveying different zones in the area where they will be looking for Beaver activity such as fresh cuts where beaver have chewed on trees, Beaver tracks in the snow and Beaver dams and lodges.

Hooray for Mike and the Watershed Guardians! And congratulations for luring the good folks of Idaho into the snow to appreciate beavers! It’s wonderful to think of folks learning how to keep an eye on the beavers around them and hearing why they matter.  I espsecially love the part where the article emphasizes the event is FREE. It reminds me a little of Tom Sawyer or P.T. Barnum.

This way to the Egress.

Great job fanning the beaver flame, and I’m thrilled the reporter added this at the end.

Mike Settell says the data collected from the Beaver Count will be presented at ‘State of the Beaver’ conference in Canyonville Oregon in February.

I can’t wait! See you there, Mike! And good work reminding people why to care about beavers!

Now on to Beaver appreciation in New Hampshire where a trip in the snow reminds folks that beavers are under the ice.

A trip to beaver lodges

HOLDERNESS, N.H. —One of the benefits of all this rain and cold weather is that it has allowed us to do some ice skating and exploring on our local bogs and ponds in the region.

Recently, we went on a beaver lodge tour of Hawkens Pond in Center Harbor and Holderness and were able to admire up close these houses made of sticks and mud. At the very top of the lodge you could see the chimney of sorts. Rime ice was collecting, indicating something warm inside was exhaling into the atmosphere

Their presence is a good indicator of a healthy habitat. Beaver flowages are important habitat for many other species including great blue herons, osprey, kingfisher, mink, otter and muskrat.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s beaver appreciation in Arizona, Idaho and New Hampshire in the past two days. Not to mention the usual defenders in Washington and New York. I’m thinking its past time we adopt Dean’s “50 State Strategy”.

stencilTime to congratulate my brilliant husband and beaver man-Friday who undertook the impossible task of cutting out a stencil so we could spray paint our keystone tails. My brain couldn’t even imagine the task of cutting away the shapes you wanted to remain but he boldly finished a design and knocked of 25 of these.

Just 125 more to go!

One of the final benefits of shining the beaver light so steadily and strong for so many years is that there is now an international army of folks keeping watch for beaver treasures around the world. Peter Smith of Kent England posted this find this morning, which I promise will make you smile. Enjoy!

Beaver treats

Posted by heidi08 On January - 24 - 2015Comments Off

 Beaver making an Arizona comeback


A beaver lodge built into the bank of the San Pedro River indicates the presence of the aquatic rodents, which were reintroduced to the river in 1999. About 50 beavers inhabit the San Pedro National Conservation Area.

“A hundred-and-fifty years ago, it was called the Beaver River because there were so many beavers,” said Dutch Nagle, former president of the Friends of the San Pedro River, an organization that promotes the conservation of the river.

Thanks to reintroduction efforts by the Bureau of Land Management beginning in 1999, an estimated 50 beavers now roam the waters of the San Pedro. The beavers have built dozens of dams that slow the river’s flow and create ponds. Along with raising the water table near the river, the slack water provides increased habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

 One of the species that prospers from the beavers’ tireless dam-building is the lowland leopard frog. “Historically, I’m sure there was a very close relationship between beavers and leopard frogs,” said Mike Sredl, who leads the ranid frog projects for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Along with environmental factors such as tree density and the availability of food, beaver behavior can have a significant impact on the number of birds along a river.

“The beaver contribute most in defining how many birds are in an environment, and the reason for that is they change the environment,” said Van Riper, who is the co-author of a study that examines the effects the reintroduced beavers have had on various bird species.

Great work from our beaver friends on the San Pedro! It is lovely to read about the difference beaver can make – especially in arid land. Of course the article takes time to whine a bit about how there are also more bullfrogs and non-natives but I don’t think anyone really takes that seriously anymore. I know I don’t. It’s like saying we shouldn’t repair our roads because it makes it easier for thieves to get away from the police.

The thing we want matters infinitely more than the thing we don’t.

In case, you, like me, are dying to look at Van Riper’s bird study, the whole thing is available here. It’s a very interesting read, but I think overly cautious about the benefits of beavers. For example, they note they “can’t conclude whether” the increase in biodiversity near beaver activity represents beaver effects, or just beaver CHOOSING richer habitat to settle in.

(Sheesh. Because you know how those lazy opportunistic beavers are -  always picking the nicest neighborhoods to move in. Grr.) The report generously concludes that at least beavers did not appear to make anything worse.

Beaver reintroduction did not appear to have detrimental effects on any species of conservation concern and, in fact there was evidence that a breeding bird community is more abundant and more diverse where beavers were present.

Mighty white of you, I’m sure.


Now for an unmitigated treat, check your insulin levels first, because this is too sweet to be believed. The kit is at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma WA and her grape-testing made TIME this morning. Her name is Hazel.

Still, if you think its cute when beavers in zoos eat grapes, you should see what it looks like when wild beavers eat strawberries.

Yearling eating Strawberries - Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Yearling eating Strawberries – Photo Cheryl Reynolds