Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

A Tree Grows in Martinez

Posted by heidi08 On March - 28 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Continuing with our charmed beaver news cycle…

Farmers should welcome nature’s architect

The wetlands that result when beavers build dams contribute to higher water tables, which boost crop and forage production

“People are actually recognizing that beavers have some real attributes,” said Fitch.

“For example, they are a climate change adaptation tool, allowing us to start to adapt to the rigours of both floods and droughts. I suspect one of the other reasons is that they’ve just dropped below the radar.”

Cows and Fish has found that in addition to supporting greater biodiversity, beavers dams and the wetlands they’re part of can contribute positively to agriculture through higher water tables that result in greater crop and forage production.

 “This becomes pragmatic good business, managing those riparian areas, because of their inherent productivity,” said Fitch.

 “These are the deepest, richest soils within a ranching or farming unit. They’re sub-irrigated, and so these produce the most forage.”

“Especially during drought conditions, because these are reservoirs, and if there’s enough beavers at a landscape scale to provide the storage volumes, they can help us work our way through the ravages of drought.”

Another great beaver article! Cows and Fish is doing amazing beaver work in Alberta. They are really changing the landscape of attitude toward beaver. But you can see it’s still a hard sell. The article takes a break from proclaiming their value to write about the BOGUS research that says beavers are contributing to climate change. Sheesh.

In a study published last year, University of Saskatchewan researcher Colin Whitfield found that the footprint of beavers is growing across the three continents they inhabit.

 It also found that plant matter collected in these shallow ponds contributes 200 times more greenhouse gases and methane from beaver ponds than in 1900.”

ohhhhh puleezee…….

Yesterday’s tree planting was a grand success, Ann Riley decided to join the watershed interns and lend a hand  as did our own Lory, Cheryl and Jon. Channel 7 news showed up to film the start of the day and some RCD members at lunch at the creek monkey decided to pitch in. The story was on at 6 last night, which was very and a pleasant change from the latest Martinez appearances.  50 stakes were planted in the block between Marina Vista and Escobar. Jon wrapped 12 of them and will do more soon.

Good work all! And special thanks to Riley for making it happen. Hopefully the odds will be in our favor. Willow is very powerful, but tell mother nature to rain soon, will you?

You otter see this…

Posted by heidi08 On March - 27 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Thank goodness. No amazing news for beavers today. Finally we can catch our breath and have some fun. Enjoy! Tomorrow they’ll be updates about this afternoon’s tree planting by California Conservation Core interns. Until then, you get the very best beaver fluff pieces.


VIOLENCE between beaver and otter gangs is spiralling out of control.

 Beavers have been reintroduced to river environments, prompting a deadly backlash from heavily armed otters.

 Naturalist Emma Bradford said: “We knew the otters were violent but did not anticipate that the beavers had their own gangs like Dam U 2 Hell Crew, Beevs and Buck Tooth Massive.

 “The otters had been moving a lot of crack and meth up and down the River Frome, but the beavers built dams in key areas and demanded a ‘tax’ to let them through.”

 Gunplay ensued, with nine voles, a moorhen and an environmentalist doing a study on breeding patterns among those caught in the crossfire.

Bradford added: “I would stay away from the riverbanks even if you really want a picnic.”

 However beaver M-Phibious said: “We got nothing but love. Just chewing some logs, that’s all.

 “But if otters come to us then shit could get really real.”

 Hahahahahaha. News trying to be wittingly comic really shouldn’t be encouraged in any way (M-Phibious!) but this made me giggle. Otters lead such charmed lives, rolling about  being cute and posing for photos. Hardly anyone wants to kill them and they never get accused of flooding roads or plugging culverts.

Intrepid beaver reporter that I am, I took some time to look around for footage to go with this story. This is perfect.

Beavers, water, & the learning curve.

Posted by heidi08 On March - 26 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Another red-letter day for beavers. They’ve been  happening so often I’m going to start calling them red beaver days! The first from NBC.


Beavers Are Great for the Environment. As Neighbors, Not So Much

The dam-building rodents are getting a boost across the West, thanks to their signature water-blocking homes that, it turns out, can have a positive effect on the local environment, and have gained the critters support from local tribes and wildlife biologists. Their dams hold back water flow in elevated regions, propping up groundwater supplies in areas hit by drought and reduced snowpack. They provide habitats for salmon. And while there are other, less natural ways to achieve the same effects, there’s one big advantage to beavers: They work for free.

 A team led by Kent Woodruff, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist, has spent eight years refining beaver relocation in Washington’s Methow Valley. The goal: Make sure that the beavers being brought together are compatible. Think of it as a for beavers.

The target areas are mostly public lands at higher elevations — exactly the areas that supply much of the water for humans across the West. “We’re desperate for water storage,” said Woodruff, and “that’s easily enhanced by beavers.”

Okay, first the good Heidi. I absolutely LOVE when beaver benefits get highlighted in a major NBC story. Kent has done great work in the Methow and I’m thrilled to see that project get the flagship recognition it deserves.  Now the not so good Heidi. More beaver stories saying  we care about water so we’re moving beavers into the mountains instead of killing them? Really? Hmm. Mighty white of you.

Will someone please tell Miguel the reporter that ‘good neighbors’ are like good marriages. They don’t just happen but are made every day by people who care. Like the people in Martinez for example.  And maybe next time you should make a report about that.


Onto more good press for the Beaver Believer documentary. This time Sarah’s on PRI.

Beavers are being looked at as little climate change fighting machines

Sarah Konigsberg is documenting the efforts of six people across the US who are working to bring the big-tailed and bucktoothed beavers back to lakes and rivers across the country.

Like beavers themselves, the human subjects of Kongisberg’s documentary, The Beaver Believers, are climate change activists.

“The Beaver Believers” features the stories of people who share the common passion of restoring the beaver in the West by trapping and relocating the animals to habitats that could use a beaver’s touch.

Beaver dams change the landscape of the waterbed. Whole ecosystems with rich, biodiverse habitats and species build up in the area around a beaver dam, Kongisberg explains.

Streams are slowed and deepened, which allows the water bodies to grow and widen. The dams hold back sediment, raising the water levels for vegetation growth. The slowed water seeps into the ground and recharges aquifers.

“It basically creates a much more varied habitat for many, many more animals to live on,” she says.

The grand filmmaker  actually made a stop last night to refilm some urban beavers and their guardians in Martinez.  She was staying nearby in Pt. Reyes and thought the earlier footage she got when her crew came to the festival two years ago just wasn’t good enough. She’s been excited by the response and thinking the film would be ready for music and final touches this summer. I, for one, can’t wait.


What news stories will there be about beavers tomorrow? I wonder. It’s a little harrowing trying to keep up. That’s the very best kind of harrowed, I admit. But we need a treat this morning, and Cheryl just posted this to my timeline on facebook, so I thought I’d share. Brace yourselves, this is alarmingly cute.


Western Arkansas Wild Rescue Alliance


Almost making the point

Posted by heidi08 On March - 25 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

CaptureBeaver Trapping Leaves Environmental Damage Legacy

CaptureA Beaver trifecta from Oregon Public radio. This one informed by Stan Petrowski who, along with Leonard & Lois Housston,  organizes the state of the beaver conferences. It’s a fine 2 minutes to think about, but honestly my favorite part is the title. Because it doesn’t say ‘historic’. And it turns out to be just as true today.


Speaking of trapping, Robin-the-intrepid received records on her FOIA inquiry from USDA for beaver depredation over the last 10 years. Remember, USDA executes about a third of the depredation permits overall. Unlike  other private trappers, they are required to report method and take. And unlike CDFG their records are pretty meticulous. It took them almost no time to send her this.

WS beaver killed by yearRobin points out that the list was compiled March 3 so the 2015 numbers are just for January and February. She wonders ironically if USDA will kill the most beavers of all during the very year of California’s worst drought. And that seems like a good question to me.

Speaking of drought, have you seen the beautiful new web campaign the Nature Conservancy just launched about water?  I wish I could embed it but you are just going to have to click on it to see for yourself. Honestly, it’s gorgeous. And must have cost a mint.

It prompts what may be an age-old question: Is the Nature Conservancy just made of money? And whether they are or aren’t, why don’t they do more for beavers? There are places on the east coast where they’re trapping them to save trees.

I took the liberty of fixing one of their ads. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the improvement.

If water is life

Dangerous Blessings

Posted by heidi08 On March - 24 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

falling_grand_piano_cd_cover_by_kvirtanen[1]So you recognize this picture?

I usually post it before the beaver festival when several good things are happening in a row that I did not possibly foresee or imagine. I am used to learning into the wind, dreaming of what might be, striving for change, working hard to get what I so desperately want. I am completely disoriented by unexpected good news that is outside my reckoning whatsoever. And I feel eerily like something bad will happen.

Yesterday started out well enough by getting an email from Mike Carlson of the Contra Costa County Flood Control. He presented at the same workshop I did for the Salmonid Restoration Federation. He said that my presentation had been wonderful and asked me to think about doing it for the County-wide symposium next year, with an attendance of about 250 people.

This was thrilling news. Mike is the new Mitch at CCCFC, and I was very happy he got to hear my talk because persuading the new Mitch about beavers was one of my 792 goals. (The original Mitch Avalon was on the beaver subcommittee).  So for him to want me to present to all of Contra Costa was wonderful, but certainly not beyond my most avid hopes. Also the two beaver depredation permits that were issued in Martinez were requested by CCCFC and it would be an ideal place to educate.

Adding to this, it was far in the future, and not conflicting with anything else. A perfect amount of good news. So far so good,

Then I got the email from John Sikora, the Vice President of the El Dorado chapter of Trout Unlimited.  They are planning their big State wide meeting for all the chapter heads in California next month in Coloma. And he wanted to know if I would present to all the Trout Unlimited presidents in California about beaver.

I had an unbelievable conversation with John who knew everything about Michael Pollock’s research, hypoheic exhange, beavers and salmonids and riparian restoration. He wanted all the chapters to know it too. It’s at an insanely busy time and I’m being asked at the last possible minute. Obviously their original speaker broke a leg fly fishing or something, but would I be willing to do it?beaver unlimitedYou ‘re dam right I would.


Now this morning is bedecked with the good news that the Devon beavers have all been cleared of the imaginary disease and re-released.

England’s only wild beavers returned to their Devon river home

The only wild beavers in England have been released back into their river home in Devon after being given a clean bill of health.

The beavers were temporarily captured for disease testing from the River Otter, where they have been living wild for at least three years and possibly up to a decade.

Experts at Devon Wildlife Trust, which has been given a licence to monitor and manage the population, said they were “delighted and relieved” that the beavers were disease-free and were being returned to the river.

The return to the river signals the start of the River Otter Beaver Project, a partnership led by Devon Wildlife Trust and involving Clinton Devon Estates, Derek Gow Consultancy and the University of Exeter.

 The project will measure the impact of the animals on the local landscape, economy, communities and wildlife, with information presented to Natural England at the trial’s end in 2020 for a decision on their future.

Whoohooo! I couldn’t be happier! Well, maybe a little happier if Devon celebrates with its first beaver festival. Just look at this comment I snagged off the English beavers facebook page this morning by Sylvia Meller}

Now we have to continue spreading the word about the good the beavers are doing, get locals involved like Heidi has been doing in America. Get the kids interested first, so the parents and grandparents get drawn into it via them. Have some activities, a festival ……The options are endless, just have to get things going!

Ohh. Will someone please save this for my eulogy? It is everything I wanted to achieve. Thank you so much Sylvia. And thank you Devon Wildlife Trust for stepping up for this important work.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

And lastly  there is one piece of VERY IMPORTANTLY GOOD NEWS that I am dying to share this morning, but am sworn to secrecy. Stay tuned.You don’t want to miss out.

Believe me when you hear it you’ll be looking for that piano too.

When it rains it pours!

Posted by heidi08 On March - 23 - 2015Comments Off

And then there were three. How’s this for keeping the story in the public eye?

How Beavers Help Save Water


In the drought-ridden West, some people are partnering with beavers to restore watersheds, where, before trappers arrived, the large rodents once numbered in the millions. Film-maker Sarah Koenigsberg captures various efforts to reintroduce beavers to their former habitat in her documentary The Beaver Believers and tells host Steve Curwood why beavers are essential for a healthy ecosystem.

Cmore filming - Copyongratulations to Sarah Koenisberg who’s Beaver Believer film made it all the way to living on earth of NPR this week. Sarah and her crew were the documentary that filmed at the beaver festival 2 years ago, you might remember them hanging around at the time. Her film is sure to be thirstily received in the west, and I’m thrilled the Martinez Beavers were a part of it.

The Beaver Believers Kickstarter Trailer from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.

It’s pretty exciting when there are so many good news stories to keep up with it’s hard to update the website fast enough! This weekend I was hard at work for beavers Friday with the grant application for Kiwanis, Saturday with the grant application for the city and yesterday putting together a presentation for Derek Gow of Devon so he can build momentum for a beaver festival in England.  I tried to do it in under 15 minutes so I had to leave tons out, but it’s a fun way to share with folks who’ve never seen my talk in person. And I saw almost nothing snarky about the city, so that’s refreshing. Feel free to pass it on to friends or enemies who need to hear the story.

Water-savers in the big lights

Posted by heidi08 On March - 22 - 2015Comments Off

CaptureAnother great beaver interview from Oregon Public Radio. This time with the dynamic geomorphologist, Suzanne Fouty.

Beavers Can Boost Water Supply

Suzanne recently gave a talk to the Deschutes Land Trust in Bend Oregon, which does incredible work and may be guest posting soon.  Obviously OPB tracker her down in the process.  She wasn’t entirely thrilled with this interview and thought that many of the best things she said wound up onsmall suzanne the cutting room floor. Of course we know how that feels,  but this interview is perfect. She’s silly. (Just so you remember how much fun Suzanne is in person here we are with a bottle of wine after the State of the Beaver Conference this year.)

I sent out a press release yesterday for the tree planting project that’s going to happening next Friday along Alhambra Creek, thanks to the California Conservation Core’s Watershed Stewards Program and some beaver friends behind the scenes, our beavers should have plenty to eat. I’m hoping some nice paper takes the bait and you’ll read all about it next week, but if not,  I’ll make sure to post photos from our own Cheryl Reynolds when it happens!

More good work on the beaver front. Bruce Thompson sent me a photo of this new exhibit at the Dubois Museum in Wyoming. They’ve obviously had a long time to learn from him over the years. How cool is this? I love the alliteration! Thanks Bruce!

DuboisMuseum_BeaverLabelAnd speaking of poetry, I got inspired on the drive home thursday and put this together. Appreciations are due to Dr. Seuss and Joe Wheaton, in no particular order.