Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

The beaver sun also rises

Posted by heidi08 On August - 29 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Former Martinez resident LB moved away to Beaverton 5 years ago. Last night she wrote me that she still reads the website every day and sent this column. Thanks LB! Beaverton NEEDS beaver supporters.

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows an Oregon spotted frog, which was listed Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 as a threatened species. Once common across Oregon and Washington, the frog is only found in scattered and isolated wetlands amounting to 10 percent of its former range. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Oregon spotted frog to be protected as threatened

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Twenty-three years after it was first proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, the Oregon spotted frog is being listed as a threatened species.

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish its decision on Friday in the Federal Register. It takes effect 30 days later.

 Once common from the Puget Sound in Washington through the Willamette Valley in Oregon down and into Northern California, the frog survives in scattered locations in about 10 percent of its former range, mostly east of the Cascades, the service said.

That’s sad for frogs, but what does  this have to do with beavers? Hmm can you guess?

Habitat for the frog has been lost to urban and agricultural development, livestock grazing, the removal of beavers and the encroachment of non-native grasses, the agency said. Non-native fish and bullfrogs have eaten them.

Restoration plans will focus on maintaining water levels in wetlands, putting beavers back into ecosystems, removing invasive grasses and removing non-native predators, Fish and Wildlife officials said.

And that’s just ONE reason why it’s smart to play for team beaver. There are many more. Take care of the beavers and lots of things will take care of themselves. Frogs and salmon and birds and water…

Oh and lest you despair, apparently the beaver spirit lives on in the shire. A prominent beaver defender wrote me yesterday after my gloomy column bemoaning DEFRAs unstoppable evil in Devon:

Hi Heidi – Its not over till the fat lady sings – no notes so far. We are fighting this as hard as we can with more people helping daily. The govt trappers have no idea how to capture them all and none of us are helping.

I don’t know, maybe you should help. Put on your best wellies and a field jumper tell them how much beavers like to roost in the lower tree branches or doorways.

6825195-large[1]English beavers face wipe-out for the second time at the hands of humans

Wildlife ‘control’ could mean the beaver is lost from the English landscape before it gets re-established. Beaver expert Derek Gow mourns its likely passing.

 As the beaver families on the River Otter snuggle together today in their cosy nests of shredded willow they cannot conceive that they are about to participate in a remarkable historic event.

At the beginning of the 21st century, in the time if the “greenest Government ever” their removal at the hand of Defra’s trappers will ensure that they become the first ever native English mammal to have been exterminated by humans twice.

 I should have known better to be hopeful about the broadly-attended public meeting in Devon. I should have realized that the fact that DEFRA didn’t bother to be there spoke volumes. This article does an amazing job of targeting their asymmetrical illogic point by point and concludes that in this instance facts and public opinion and economics don’t matter.


Children and senior citizens, students and business men stood up at the end of the presentations to state their wish to see the beavers remain. Letters of support from farmers who could not attend were read out by councillors.

 Many people cited their appeal as a tourist attraction, others pointed out the hypocrisy of our national position whereby we lecture others on the conservation of threatened species such as tigers or elephants while making no effort to restore our own depleted wildlife. At the end of the evening a show of hands was unanimous in its support for the retention of the beavers on the River Otter.

 Defra did not attend the event. On the same day their field staff were collecting from Scotland the traps they require to remove the Devon beavers. To date despite considerable media attention, representations to senior civil servants and ministers, national petitions which have attracted over 30,000 signatures and the clear will of the local community they have made no effort to attain or consider a balanced approach on this issue.

 Did you catch that?  While the citizens of Devon were bravely assembled to talk about beaver benefits and problem-solving, bright-eyed children and craggy old farmers and gray haired dears all coming together to talk about making Devon a better place, DEFRA in their infinite badger-killing wisdom was getting ready the beaver traps. The deceptions of a certain Grinch spring to mind.

And when Cindy Loo Hoo went to bed with her cup.
He went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up.

This makes even a battle-scared rodeo clown like me feel sad and hopeless. It’s hard to believe that Devon could do everything right, the  meeting, the science, the overseeing trust, the media, the farmers, the school children, the shop owners, and it doesn’t matter at all because DEFRA will do whatever the fuck it wants to do. No matter what.

Did mention this is depressing?

Art for beaver’s sake

Posted by heidi08 On August - 26 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The beaver world is oddly quiet today. I would have nothing to write about but as it happens I spent yesterday working on a grant for next year’s art project and wrote a nice profile of the amazing artist you always see working frantically at the festival. If you’ve never actually seen HER you’ve seen sign of her in the beautiful banners, the giant painted beaver, the ceramic tiles, the mural or any of our other myriad art-ifacts that are her handiwork. This is a fine place to share the column so, enjoy!

fro working

FloFROgard Butler is the owner and manager of aRt Cottage in Concord, CA, which displays collections from artists all over the state. She teaches classes and workshops to adults and children in various mediums. She is the winner of the 2011 Arts Recognition Award for Contra Costa County and the 2010 outreach coordinator of the CA watercolor association. She has supported Worth A Dam since its inception and helped hundreds of Martinez children understand nature through clay, watercolors, and acrylic paint.

P1070876In addition to her training as an artist, FRO has an extensive background in early childhood education, and especially enjoys helping children represent their own way of seeing the world through art. FRO has generously pledged to support the Keystone Species Archway Canvas project at the 8th beaver festival, and will treat the cloth, pre-paint the archway, and coordinate the young artists on the day. Her services will be offered as an in kind donation, and easily represent 20 hours of work.

paintingbeaverFormer FRO-directed festival efforts have been on display in public offices (tryptch Mural 2010), adorn the Escobar bridge (ceramic tiles 2008) and blanket virtually every Worth A Dam display (Banner 2009). The colorful and inviting profile of children’s artwork has made Martinez stand out in public displays and sets this city apart as a community who cares.

 fro earthdayA word to all the nonprofits in the world who are trying to generate enough community support to get attention for their important cause: find an amazingly creative artist who loves working with children. Add water and pigment, stand back, and watch what happens.

Rolling with the Punches

Posted by heidi08 On August - 25 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

It was bound to happen, that awkward moment when your day job as a legal secretary for Lerner and your evening passion of playing drums in a alter-punk club collide. Surprising at first to have your boss see you hammer the snares with a stud in your nose, and then unbelievably liberating to finally have it all together in one place.

I’m very proud of this interview. I never was allowed before to talk so much about my experience on the beaver subcommittee and it was so healing to do. For me this is a vibrant red poppy growing on the dusty battlefield where much blood was spilled 7 years ago. I think it starts slow, but you have to at least listen to the John Muir part. That story relaxed me and it gets a lot better.

Episode 145: The emotional lives of advocates

You may know Dr. Heidi Perryman as the beaver believer from Martinez, California, or the defender who hosts the Worth a Dam website and podcast series. But between her evenings of working with municipalities, landowners and the general public on beaver protection, she’s a successful clinical psychologist.

 Dr. Perryman joined Defender Radio for a unique conversation on these emotions, what they mean to us and how we can manage them in our day-to-day lives as advocates.


Cheryl sent this lovely photo of our kit on vacation at Ward street.


2014 Beaver kit: Photo Cheryl Reynolds

And speaking of emotional lives, just in case you wondered, this is what resilience looks like: courtesy of Meadow Lane in Napa.

Too many updates

Posted by heidi08 On August - 23 - 2014Comments Off

Lots of beaver news this morning, I heard from Scott Artis the designer of this website that he would be happy to do an update for us. Now he’s local again and working for Audubon Canyon and displayed for his new non profit Urban Birds Foudation at the festival.  I, for one, can’t wait until this tired old jalopy is transformed back and into a sleek cyber  Mercedes. Thanks Scott!

Congratulations to Cheryl who just found out yesterday that her lovely photo of two kits will be in the 2015 watershed calendar. It’s the loving work of artist John Finger with snippets of photos all through the dates, and useful information scattered throughout. We are especially proud because in addition to being a beautiful calendar. it hangs in every public works department and county supervisors office for the entire year and reminds them to be nice to beavers.

(And believe you me, most of them need reminding!)


Here’s the fantastic photo that will appear some month in the future. She is between computers at the moment and lacking funds so if a reader of this website just happened to get a big inheritance you might think about helping her get back to full photo capacity soon. You can even ear mark it as a donation thru Worth A Dam and get a tax deduction?

Think of the children!

Cheryl ReynoldsIMG_7316

Now many county supervisors need reminding but apparently not all. Yesterday the county supervisor/former mayor of Napa wrote me that he loved the beaver information I sent, passed it along to everyone,  and he was so excited he was asking flood control to put together a ‘beaver symposium’ next year!

Someone pinch me, I think I’m dreaming.

arch canvasI have been strangely afflicted with planning at the moment, and can’t seem to stop scheming for next year’s festival. I want to hit up the fall grant cycle for funds and was trying to think of an art project that would be educational enough to open their tightly closed purse strings. Around 4 in the morning on Friday it hit me. Our indefatigable artist FRo could paint an archway on a canvas tarp and then kids  on the day could paint in the animals with the beavers as the keystone! It teaches a complicated ecological concept, honors kids contribution, involves the community and it would be sooo cute! And then afterwards when its all dry and finished. We could use it as the backdrop in our display for years to come! FRo and I chatted about the idea yesterday, and she gave me a list of materials and how it would need to be prepared and stored.

Keystone arch here we come!


I’ve been bothering lots of people lately.  I even wrote Ian Timothy’s mom to see if I could lure her into sketching something. Remember Karen Boone was the designer behind the stunning Kentucky Derby graphic pictured below.  Can’t you just imagine the suggestion of a beaver head and beaver tail on a flag or a t-shirt? Me too. I have the dream but not the talent. So I thought maybe I’d write her.

Thinking about your beautiful Kentucky derby art, I’m wondering if you ever considered a beaver outline sketch? We would love to do a tshirt some year that was a beaver head on front and tail on back, but can only imagine the artistic wonders of a minimalist sketch outline? Maybe someday you’ll be inspired to give it a shot?

Karen Boone  wrote back this morning. “I would be happy to do that for you! Plenty of work in, but will put it on my fun to do list.”

Thank you so much Karen for putting us on the FUN list! That is really exciting and would be so full circle if it works out!

On a final note, the friend of a friend who agreed to process our depredation permit stats turns out to be the very respected statistician for Acorn, a psychometrics firm usually handling important questions like does cognitive behavior therapy reduce symptoms more quickly than Lexapro? But now, amazingly he’s committed to handling beaver data. He asked for me to include stats on population density, acreage and sq miles of water so he could run a full regression analysis. It took every waking spare moment I had this week but I finished the updated list yesterday at 3.00 pm and I’m sooooo excited. This means we can partial out effects like how much water an area has, or how densely packed the human population is,  and just zoom in on how murderous the CDFG officer was who signed the permit. Which means I can write the Chuck Bonham with our findings and specify with greater credibility the changes he needs to  make.

I can’t wait.

Baffled Beavers!

Posted by heidi08 On August - 22 - 2014Comments Off

Thomas Tamayne, Stephen Sangle, and Gary Oppenheimer (l to r) investigate the beaver pond that is flooding the wetland at West Milford’s Mary Haase-Roger Daugherty Environmental Center. The members of West Milford’s Environmental Commission plan to install a beaver-proof device to drain the wetland back to normal levels.

West Milford Environmental Commission has new weapon for beaver battle

The local Environmental Commission is employing a new weapon in its battle with the environmental boardwalk’s beavers.

Called a beaver baffle, the device being prepared for installation by the West Milford commission at the Mary Haase-Roger Daugherty Environmental Center near Maple Road School is designed to act as tap on the backside of the beaver dam. Once operational, it should lower the water level in the dammed wetland enough to make it unsuitable for beavers, forcing the current residents to relocate, and protecting the recently-renovated boardwalk from further damage, according to commission Chairman Stephen Sangle.

“It looks promising and maybe one or two more days of work should finish the project,” Sangle said Sunday.

Last weekend, commission members set the project’s groundwork by scouting the area to find a suitable place for the upstream end of a pipe that will serve as the tap. The spot has to be deep enough and large enough to contain a trapezoid-shaped cage made out of epoxy-coated mesh that will prevent beavers from clogging the pipe, Sangle said.

 Let’s hope the reporter got this wrong. They sometimes assume the point of installation is to make beavers move. Why else would anyone bother? But you and I know that if the beavers did move, the conservation commission would have wasted its time and money. The idea is that you compromise and the beavers stay and keep others from moving in and doing it all again.

I thought it was funny they described installing a beaver ‘baffle’ – and wondered if this had anything to do with the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge just 3 hrs away, also in New Jersey. Or whether they were just using the term ‘baffle’ generically, like ‘deceiver’ which they also use. The baffle isn’t often employed. But here’s an interesting project I found on beaver bafflers I think is a few years old. The video will show you how they work – or rather how they don’t work actually, because I think that tiny cage is never going to prevent beavers from feeling suction and they will quickly cover the entire thing with mud.  Just watch the video to see all about the Vermont cooperative beaver baffle project. Capture

Beaver Baffles

From Outdoor Journal Vermont PBS

When it comes to making things out of wood no animal is more persistent and more proficient than the beaver. Beaver dams provide valuable wet land habitat for several species of fish and wildlife. But these same dams can cause a lot of damage to roads and septic systems. In this segment, we look at a unique project called the “Cooperative Beaver Baffle Demonstration Project” that uses water control structures to properly manage beaver dam water levels.

Good luck with that.Oh and just in case you don’t believe beavers could mud that entire cage around the perforated pipe, here’s what one did to Mike Callahan’s single intake once.

plugged filter

6 foot filter entirely plugged with mud.Photo – Mike Callahan Beaver Solutions

The people have spoken

Posted by heidi08 On August - 20 - 2014Comments Off

Overwhelming support for River Otter beavers to stay wild heard at consultation

 OVERWHELMING opposition against the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposals to remove a family of beavers from the River Otter this autumn was expressed at a public consultation event.

 The wave of public support for the animals was demonstrated at the Devon Wildlife Trust staged event in Ottery St Mary, which is just upstream from where the beavers are thought to be residing.

But critics of the proposals believe that the suggestion of rounding up the beavers is an “over reaction”, and the benefits they bring to the environment, far outweigh any negatives they may be culpable for.

 During the meeting, which followed an afternoon drop-in event, local residents were informed of Defra’s plans to plot traps along the river, potentially from as far downstream as Budleigh Salterton and upstream as far as Honiton, this autumn.

 The trust also informed the some 100 attendees that the process of trapping and testing is likely to be anything but swift, due to the complicated and invasive testing procedure and the risk that Defra could face a legal challenge to releasing the unlicensed animals back into the wild, meaning they could be in captivity far longer than planned.

 Independent ward member for Ottery St Mary, Councillor Claire Wright, added: “The most important thing to remember is that beavers are a native species and they will live in harmony, and enhance, the natural environment and biodiversity.

 “The chances of them having this disease is so remote, this is a completely over the top, irrational reaction.”

 Hurray for the hardworking families of Devon who took time out of their Tuesday to support the first wild beavers in 500 years. And hurray to the media that was there to run the story. I hope it gets picked up by the bigger news feed soon, because there is no guarantee DEFRA will do the right thing.

But as of 10:30 last evening there is officially a slightly better chance. Good work!