Archive for the ‘What’s killing beavers now?’ Category

Beaver festival and beyond

Posted by heidi08 On August - 8 - 2017Comments Off on Beaver festival and beyond

The bulk of auction items found there way home yesterday, on the Monday after the festival which is unhead of. I have a few stragglers to complete today, but I’m thinking the whole thing will be done by Wednesday. I can’t tell you how delightful that feels! I guess one of the advantages of having no Peddler’s faire to share foot traffic with is that everyone stayed at the festival and claimed their prizes. Hurray!

To my great delight yesterday I finally had time to open the filming that some friendly moms did of their children doing the jjournal activity. I had asked a few to shoot video because I might think about making a film later on of the process itself. It was wonderful to have a moles-eye view (do moles have eyes? Maybe a gopher’s- eye) of what went on at each  booth. But I was especially delighted with this moment, which I had to share. That’s Dave Kwinter on the bag pipe btw.

Outside the festival bubble, in the larger beaver world there was a nice report of community upset by the loss of water caused partially by removing a beaver dam that caught my attention. I just love it when people point out that draining a pond will rapidly reduce property value.

Fayette’s David Pond losing water, alarming property owners who want action

Shorefront property owners are working with owners of the pond’s impoundment to seek a solution amid concern that reduced water level could affect wildlife, recreation and ecology and depress property values.

FAYETTE — The lower water level of David Pond this year has spurred those with waterfront property and waterfront access there to organize in search of a solution.

They say recent damage to a rock pile impoundment at the north end of the pond caused the water level to take a significant drop, and they cite concerns about the effect on “wildlife, recreation, ecology, and declining property values and the resulting losses to the town tax base,” in a website posting by Elizabeth Hicks.

Hicks is one of eight people on a steering committee looking for a solution. “We don’t know how stable the current situation is,” she said. “We would like to move on it very quickly.”

When Hicks and others brought their concerns to the Fayette Board of Selectmen, she said, they received sympathy but were told the board could do little because the impoundment was in neighboring Chesterville, which is in Franklin County.

“It’s been a little, ongoing dam war,” Cayer said. “What happens is the landowners are responsible, so we have to do some kind of remediation out there, but we’re not sure yet what that’s going to be.”

She said some people built up the dam to raise the water level and someone else came out and dismantled it, as well as part of a beaver dam, to lower the water.

This article is a wonderful reminder that removal of a beaver dam has consequences for the entire community, including the wildlife using the water behind it.  It sounds like some of the residents want their pond back and some of them don’t. I’m curious what will happen. Obviously the beaver dam wasn’t the only thing dismantled, but I’m sure there was also some trapping involved. It’s certainly the wrong time of year to be ripping out ponds. It will take a long time to get that water back now.


 

Speaking of ponds and times of year, Rusty Cohn of Napa has been enjoying the golden time of year at Tulocay Creek by visiting several times a week. This is the precious look at Mom and the new kit he got last night. Double click on any photo for a larger view and get ready to say it with me now.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

 

image001image003image002

 

Franklin Fumbles Frantically

Posted by heidi08 On August - 4 - 2017Comments Off on Franklin Fumbles Frantically

We have visited the town of Franklin, Massachusetts before. The town is thAmeribeavere site of the very first library in America, created by the donation of books from Benjamin Franklin himself. It has a beautiful 136-acre nature reserve that it recently decided to turn into a formal park. And guess what’s there mucking up all that nature? Obviously the town is unaware of it’s patron’s affection for the animal. Or how he cast them as the noble creature that bravely fought the British. I wonder if someone like me will write them and tell them.

Franklin: Beavers raising water, worries

FRANKLIN — Local officials are weighing what to do with a colony of beavers whose natural handiwork threatens an earthen berm at DelCarte Reservation off Pleasant Street.

An expert from ESS Group, an environmental engineering firm, walked around the ponds and other parts of the reservation on April 7 looking for signs of beaver busywork. After discovering that the critters were indeed making themselves at home, ESS installed a motion-activated camera for 13 days.

Four beaver lodges were found along the shoreline, two of which appear to be in use. One dam in the area is blocking water flow from the upper basin to the southern basin. The dam is flooding trees near a berm on the upper basin, or pond, according to an ESS study. That could be a problem if the berm continues to flood.

“There are undesirable conditions which, over time or during a large rainfall event, could lead to erosion of the earthen berm and potentially impact its structural integrity,” ESS reports.

ESS recommends removing the dam but first clearing trees from the berm. Beavers would use those trees to rebuild their dam. If the problem continues, experts suggest trapping and moving the beavers elsewhere.

The study also suggested the town employ a dam safety engineer to inspect the berm to ensure it does not erode.

“Keeping a berm stable is not too much money,” said ESS Vice President Carl Nielsen. “Building a new berm is very expensive.” The Conservation Commission will discuss the results beginning Aug. 10.

“From Mass Audubon’s prospective, unless there is a direct conflict, the general message is to leave them alone,” Lautzenheiser said. “Beavers are a keystone species in our ecosystems. A lot of the other animals would not be in the landscape without beavers.”Trapping beavers without a license is illegal in Massachusetts, however trappers can perform emergency trapping at any time if authorized by the town. Beaver populations in the state have fluctuated , and their numbers are now back up where they once were.Capture

“When beavers returned to Massachusetts and other places, it was heralded as a conservation success,” Lautzenheiser said. “I think the negative interactions they have with roads and development, greatly overshadows the value that they have ecologically, which is a shame.

Mass Wildlife furbearer biologist, Dave Wattles, said that since a regulation was passed in 2001 to give municipal conservation agencies the power to grant emergency beaver trapping licenses, Mass Wildlife has not been able to keep any sort of record on beaver populations. Wattles said his department also has little to no control over trapping license administration. He said he hopes towns will consider non-lethal and practical methods.

The best and most effective method is water diversion pipes, he said. The pipes, also known as “beaver deceivers,” are placed through the dam and into the middle of the pond, allowing water to flow freely through the pipe. This method effectively confuses the beavers, while the water evens out on both sides of the dam.

The pipes require regular maintenance and care to ensure they don’t become blocked. The town of Medfield used that method in 2015 to divert water at the Fork Factory Reservation to prevent flooding on Rte. 109.

In Franklin, flooding has yet to be a problem, and some residents, like neighbor, Karen Baumgartner, of 7 Matthew Drive, are enjoying the natural view from their own backyards.

“Honestly I go down there pretty frequently and I’ve only seen a beaver once,” she said. “Frankly, we love it. We’ve never had any flooding. They kind of joined the ponds together, so we have a water view. … We love the land, and I think that any creature that wants to live there, should.”

The study also suggested the town employ a dam safety engineer to inspect the berm to ensure it does not erode.

“Keeping a berm stable is not too much money,” said ESS Vice President Carl Nielsen. “Building a new berm is very expensive.”

The Conservation Commission will discuss the results beginning Aug. 10.

Conservation Agent George Russell said, “We had a study done that shows there’s a significant beaver population out there, and as usual they’re extremely industrious.”

Options for beaver problems that other municipalities have used including lethal and non-lethal trapping, said Tom Lautzenheiser, central western regional scientist for Mass Audubon.

Kill traps spark an ethical chord for Lautzenheiser, while live-trapping seems nonsensical because once beavers are released, they just dam up some other river.

“From Mass Audubon’s prospective, unless there is a direct conflict, the general message is to leave them alone,” Lautzenheiser said. “Beavers are a keystone species in our ecosystems. A lot of the other animals would not be in the landscape without beavers.”Trapping beavers without a license is illegal in Massachusetts, however trappers can perform emergency trapping at any time if authorized by the town.

Beaver populations in the state have fluctuated , and their numbers are now back up where they once were.

“When beavers returned to Massachusetts and other places, it was heralded as a conservation success,” Lautzenheiser said. “I think the negative interactions they have with roads and development, greatly overshadows the value that they have ecologically, which is a shame.”

Mass Wildlife furbearer biologist, Dave Wattles, said that since a regulation was passed in 2001 to give municipal conservation agencies the power to grant emergency beaver trapping licenses, Mass Wildlife has not been able to keep any sort of record on beaver populations.

 Wattles said his department also has little to no control over trapping license administration. He said he hopes towns will consider non-lethal and practical methods.

The best and most effective method is water diversion pipes, he said. The pipes, also known as “beaver deceivers,” are placed through the dam and into the middle of the pond, allowing water to flow freely through the pipe. This method effectively confuses the beavers, while the water evens out on both sides of the dam.

The pipes require regular maintenance and care to ensure they don’t become blocked. The town of Medfield used that method in 2015 to divert water at the Fork Factory Reservation to prevent flooding on Rte. 109.

In Franklin, flooding has yet to be a problem, and some residents, like neighbor, Karen Baumgartner, of 7 Matthew Drive, are enjoying the natural view from their own backyards.

“Honestly I go down there pretty frequently and I’ve only seen a beaver once,” she said. “Frankly, we love it. We’ve never had any flooding. They kind of joined the ponds together, so we have a water view. … We love the land, and I think that any creature that wants to live there, should.”

Poor beleaguered Massachusetts, it’s just Franklin’s bad luck that they ended up with those rare INDUSTRIOUS beavers. And that they are a fully 88 miles away from the man that could fix this in a moment. (Mike Callahan at beaver solutions) And that they are so penny wise and dam-foolish that they think that the law requiring LIVE traps means that the beavers get to LIVE. Hahaha, foolish little children. They don’t realize that live trapping in the bay state means you have to trap them live and then kill them immediately after. No relocation is allowed. And finally, poor little Massachusetts that thinks the beaver population is what it once was.

johannaI wish I had time for more sustained mocking because everyone but the Audubon fellow deserves plenty. But there are things to pack and beavers to festival! And yesterday we got a last minute addition to the silent auction from Johnna Eilers of Utah at Wild Unforgotten. She’s such the artist she even sketched the envelope, as you can see left.  The necklace is a simple beaver of hammered silver with tiny cascading turquoise beads and among the most lovely we have ever been given. Go check out all Johnna’s hand stamped, hand sawed creations, because they are breathtaking. She’s a wildlife biologist in the field by day and a talented jewelmith by night! Thank you Johnna!IMG_3559

 

You mean I have to actually read the information too?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 26 - 2017Comments Off on You mean I have to actually read the information too?

A beaver headline appeared yesterday that was so ridiculous I couldn’t even bring myself to read the article until this morning. Now I see it is so thick with misinformation that I just wrote the author. Chalk this up to the “Beaver lies and the lying liars who tell them”, category.

Is the beaver truly nature’s architect or just a ‘dentally defective rat’? — Canadian Myths

The myth: The beaver etched on our five-cent coin can’t possibly compete with more majestic symbols, such as Britain’s lion or the U.S. bald eagle. But the rodent doesn’t just represent an idea of strength and fierceness — it played a role in the founding of Canada.

The beaver may be a buck-toothed rodent but it fuelled the fur trade, and therefore the economy here, for hundreds of years. Still, not everyone is happy with the beaver’s prominence as the only animal that is an official emblem for Canada.

In 2011, Conservative Nicole Eaton told fellow Senators the “dentally defective rat,” which wreaks havoc on her dock each summer, should be replaced with a “polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity.”

Beavers have made a comeback, and there are now anywhere from six to 12 million of them in Canada,             more than the estimated six million at the start of the fur trade. Many of them are living close to humans, and their ability to build a dam in days, and flood a forest, corn field or cottage creates frustration. There are now so many that an industry has grown up around removing “nuisance beavers,” which account for a fifth of the beaver pelts auctioned off at NAFA.

The entire article has an annoying fur trade focus and is generally poorly written but THIS might be the worst sentence I’ve ever seen written about beavers. The author claims we have more beaver now than we did during the fur trade! Never mind that she’s off by at least one zero at least and possibly as many as six. Never mind that there were once enough beavers to cover every head in Europe. Obviously if it was once written that the continent was in possession of two species, man and beaver, there must have been a TON of them. Never mind that even your fur trapping history books should tell you how wrong that is.

Wrong, Wrong,  Wrong.

Patty generously devotes a whole paragraph to letting a trapper discuss the more important things beavers do.

Others defend the animal as “nature’s architect,” a reference to its ability to manufacture an environment that is essential to its survival. They are “one of the fantastic species when you look at the way they modify the habitat,” says Pierre Canac-Marquis, a trapper and biologist, retired from Natural Resources Quebec. “It really takes some knowledge, some intelligence, because it’s a very complicated process,” he says of building a dam out of sticks and mud.

 Yes let’s interview trappers and ask them about how fantastic beavers are, because really, consumers are the best judge of ecological value.  Honestly, I can’t imagine being given such a big byline and doing SO LITTLE WORK.

But that’s just me.


 

On to better things, this was posted in one of the Scottish beaver forum’s yesterday. You will quickly see why this mom beaver wants plenty of food for her little ones.

Now I’m off to Auburn to try and promote beaver benefits in the scariest county for beaver in the state of California. Wish me luck!

Sarsas