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

The case of the missing beaver dams!

Posted by heidi08 On September - 8 - 2017Comments Off on The case of the missing beaver dams!

I saw this yesterday and right away wanted to author a film noir children’s book beaver dam detective series. Can’t you see it now?

Investigation continues into loss of Mill Creek beaver dams

If you ask Sara Melnicoff of Moab Solutions, part of the Mill Creek Partnership, Mill Creek had 11 or more beaver dams this spring. Then in July every dam was gone.

Melnicoff first noticed the damage mid-July, before the heavy rains of July 24 and 25 caused flooding in the creek. She contacted Mary O’Brien of the Grand Canyon Trust, who had previously participated in writing Utah’s beaver management plan. O’Brien took photographs of the dams, some of which had been notched or had sticks pulled out of them.

“The dams had been compromised a few days before the flooding,” O’Brien said. “I have a whole series of photos that I documented for BLM of all 11 dams and each one has a notch cut out of the center. That’s all that it takes [to compromise the dam].”

11 dams suddenly gone! This sounds like a job for inspector beaver! (sorry, couldn’t resist.) Are there any suspects?

Eyewitness accounts support the claim that vandalism was involved. Maria Roberts, a Forest Service employee, was hiking with friends in mid-July when she saw a man pulling sticks out of the dams.

“I saw a guy, looked like he was pulling branches apart from the beaver dam. I figured he was supposed to be there, like he was working,” Roberts said. Another witness took photos of the man.

The day before the dams were compromised, Melnicoff said, she received an email from an unknown address concerned that the beavers were causing E. coli bacteria in town. O’Brien said that in her experience, beavers are not known to cause E. coli but do benefit the ecosystems they inhabit.

Oh ho! So we have a suspect AND a motive! Call in the expert witness…

“When they come up streams and have to build dams to get two and a half feet [of water to build their lodges], there is then a whole cascade of effects that happen,” O’Brien said. “Streams are often incised from grazing, from long-ago blow-outs of cattle ponds, from floods and so on and really the only thing that can restore that stream is basically woody debris … beaver are the chief engineers that do that.”

O’Brien said that beaver dams create habitat for other animals as well.

“When a beaver comes in and starts making a pond, that opens that up and now ducks come and shorebirds come and they drown the trees, which makes them perfect for cavity nesting birds, which makes it perfect for secondary cavity nesters who use the holes of cavity nesters,” O’Brien said. “[The] water behind the pond is a great nursery for fish. And then of course otter can come into the system because there’s fish. And muskrats are there. And water voles are there, so one thing that the beavers do is make the system far more complex. Without beaver, in a lot of, say, your mountains here, it’s a just strip of water coming through and there’s trees on either side.”

Thank you, Dr. Obrien. Excellent and relevant testimony. Call the next witness!

Arne Hultquist, director of the Moab Area Watershed Partnership, agreed that beavers are not the cause of E. coli in Mill Creek. “If I was having problems with beavers and E. coli, I would be seeing it at that site [above the Power Dam] and I don’t see it at that site. I see it down in town,” said Hulquist, who conducts water quality tests at various points around Moab.

Ah HA! So the beavers were blamed for something they didn’t even do! Their dams were destroyed and then all the wildlife they supported suffered the results. Thank goodness our crack team is on the case!

The DWR is still actively investigating the incident, according to Wolford. The DWR is looking into the incident based on the legal definition of wildlife crime, Wolford told The Times-Independent.

“We are still investigating [and] we have one final loose end to tie up, but it does not look as if charges will be filed,” Wolford said.

“There’s not really a crime for breaching a dam,” Wolford said. “The crime comes after, if it’s either displaced beaver or killed beaver. If there’s an actual beaver that’s dead in the area, that’s where the actual crime starts to come into play.”

Wolford added that the dams might have already been abandoned. “It’s possible that they were [abandoned to start with] because if the beaver were there, those dams would be built back up really fast,” Wolford said. “[It] usually only takes them a night to do it, especially the ones that tend to look like they were more man-made breached. They were small enough breaches that the beaver would have been back in immediately. The ones that are bigger breaches, those ones definitely look like flooding issues. As wildlife, we like beaver. They do a lot of good to the ecosystem and help out things quite a bit.”

The jewels might have stolen themselves, officer. It happens all the time in the real world. No fingers to point, nobody to blame, nothing to see here. Besides they’re just BEAVERS for god sake. How much should we really care?

I don’t know about you but that does not sound like they’re actively looking into it to me.

It’s nice to see beaver dramas happen in other towns. This so reminds me of the early days in Martinez. There was one day when someone left oleander branches on the dam and people were worried it was a plot to poison the beavers and the whole town was in an uproar. It turned out it was a well meaning ET who loved them and just thought she was doing something nice.

Ahh memories.

The clincher on this case is that the actual date on this story from Moab is 2013. I don’t know why it’s running again, but I guess they aren’t still ‘working on it’? Maybe they’re doing this instead.

Fail faster! Fail harder!

Posted by heidi08 On September - 3 - 2017Comments Off on Fail faster! Fail harder!

This is a great photo from Kentucky. You know why it’s great? Not because of that cool dam or the fact that you can see it’s leaky because water flows through it. No. Because that culvert is SO damaged anyway, with road collapse and erosion. Look at those dents!  It looks about ready to flatten, but the county isn’t worried about that. They are worried about ONE thing. And we all know what that is.

Beavers costing county, landowners Animals threaten roads, crops, timber

They’ve cost the county nearly $100,000 since 2015. They damage cropland and timber. They cause flooding and threaten roads. They are beavers, and they are a growing problem in Hopkins County. Now, a working group under the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources that includes state and federal agencies as well as state and local elected officials is studying the problem.

“They stop culverts up. They stop drainage areas up with sticks and mud,” said Jeff Browning, Hopkins County public works director. “The water backs up and causes damage to roads, crops and woods.” “We start trapping every day, for eight hours a day, in December,” he said. This season, which ended in early spring, county trappers caught 168 beavers, significantly more than the 125-130 they usually get.

“We’re not gaining on it,” Browning said. “And I think it’s getting worse.”

He said his staff is researching multiple approaches, including looking at what other counties and states do, the possibility of setting up conservation-type districts to fund beaver eradication and working with the Corps of Engineers and Division of Water on the legalities involved.

“What I pledged to the group is that I can facilitate finding a solution and working with the counties and Legislature,” Johnson said, adding he expects to have initial information in about 60 days.

Prunty, R-Belton, said she reached out to Johnson after getting multiple letters from constituents in her home county of Muhlenberg. Damage to roads and cropland are not the biggest issue there. Instead, she said, it’s more of a case where former landowners liked the beavers because they created wetlands that attracted waterfowl, which was good for hunters. Now, some landowners want to harvest timber, but can’t because of the flooded land.

“It’s an economic issue for my constituents,” she said. It used to be profitable to trap beavers for their pelts.”There’s no end to it,” Wedding said.”We’ll never eradicate them,” said Browning, the public work director. “I just want some funding help.”

That’s not likely, said Prunty and Embry, R-Morgantown, given the state of the commonwealth’s budget.”I personally don’t see us allocating funds for that,” Prunty said.Embry agreed. Getting new funding “is always difficult,” he said.

Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Johnson said finding funding help is part of his group’s mandate.”We’ll look for other sources of funding that may or may not exist,” he said, indicating some federal help may be available through the USDA. But money won’t solve the problem, which is “how do you keep them under control for the long-term,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to fight those little suckers.

And as we all know, if something isn’t working or showing signs of success, what you need to do is do it more frequently and faster. Hire more people to kill more beavers because eventually you know it will work right? I mean it’s not like there are these PROVEN tools that will let them protect the roads and culverts and allow the beavers to remain so that they can keep away other beavers right? It’s certainly not like we did it our selves in Martinez for a decade. Better to keep setting the mousetraps over and over and bill the citizens for it. Forget all those disappointed duck hunters.

More complaints from the city of Bristol in Wisconsin where those crazy beavers are just tiring them out.

Beavers causing DAMage in Bristol

Dam(n) it: The phrase describes the beavers’ instincts to build, and with the added ‘n,’ area residents’ reaction to the problems that the large rodents’ work causes in the Dutch Gap Canal.

The dams, removed for decades by residents, were identified at the Bristol Village Board meeting this week as a factor contributing to flooding in the Lake George area.

“We’ve got to get someone out here to trap them,” resident Scott Shannon, said. “It’s a friggin’ nightmare. I’ve taken probably 100 dams out with my (backhoe).”

 It is not only a problem in Bristol. Residents in Paddock Lake and Wheatland have also experienced the damage beavers can cause. Longtime residents in all three communities said the beaver population is on the rise.

“Tenfold,” Shannon said. “This is just wearing me out.”

Gosh darn those wicked beavers and their sneaky ways. Why doesn’t killing them work anymore? Don’t tell me there’s another way to solve this problem, because my back hoe is so much fun!

Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist with the State Department of Natural Resources, confirmed that the beaver population is increasing.

“There are more beavers out there,” Johnson said. “The trapping presence over time has lessened, so the population is on the uptick. We have been getting more complaints.”

Johnson said the DNR recently hired the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to blow up dams in the public hunting grounds in Wheatland. He said beaver activity at Richard Bong State Recreation Area has increased as well.

Paddock Lake administrator Tim Popanda said beaver were causing problems in the canal that leads to the lake a couple of years ago. There, the village obtained permission from the DNR to trap beaver on DNR property out of season.

The DNR website also offers suggestions, such as putting culvert pipes through the dams, to help mitigate the problems.  One such system, called the Clemson Beaver Pond Leveler, was developed at Clemson University in South Carolina. Made mostly from PVC pipe, it allows water to flow through a beaver dam or plugged culvert.

“We are trying to figure out if there is something we can do to minimize it,” Kerkman said.

To that end, the Village Board approved spending $17,600 for an engineering study by Strand Associates to determine how water flows in the neighborhood and identify possible solutions. The study will assume beavers will continue to occupy the Dutch Gap Canal.

I have an idea. Give ME the 17,000 dollars and I’ll tell you how to solve this problem. And it isn’t with a 30 year old invention that will get clogged in a minute. Hire Mike Callahan or Skip Lisle or Amy Chadwick to install a flow device and have them teach you how to do it so you can handle the next 30 yourself. Them sit back and watch your water levels safely maintained and your roads clear and your fish and wildlife population thrive as your beaver population stabilizes.

I’m glad we’ve had this little chat.

Another Inexplicable Beaver Headline

Posted by heidi08 On August - 30 - 2017Comments Off on Another Inexplicable Beaver Headline

From WBRZ in Louisiana comes the weather report we’ll be wondering about for years to come. There is something in the writing that seems very what we called in my trade ‘word-salad‘ – maybe it was computer generated? It’s hard to believe anyone ever transitioned from talking about Harvey to talking about beavers, but who knows? They’ve been blamed for many ridiculous things before.

Pat Shingleton: “The Storm and Beavers…”

CaptureOur weekend intentions are extended to the folks in Texas.

In closing, the second largest rodent in the world is the beaver.  The engineering of their dams, canal and personal lodges not only protect them from predators but provide still pools for floating food and building materials.  When startled, beavers are also able to initiate an alarm on those quiet pools by energetically smacking the water with their broad tail; forwarding a message to others.  Stockpiled sticks provide a food source and an insulation of snow prevents water from freezing around their homes.  Examples of beaver complications include the Lawrence, Massachusetts, Conservation Commission’s report that additional flooding was caused when residents removed a local beaver dam. The water release overwhelmed a smaller beaver dam, exiting onto local roads.

The Eagle-Tribune reports that the undisturbed dam would have minimized two road washouts.

That’s why we don’t let google translate bots write copy for the news. Some jobs should just be performed by humans, you know? But okay.  This is a fine opportunity to mention that if more beaver were allowed to build dams in more streams backing up more water across the state there would be more wetlands to soak up storm events and everyone would benefit.

Just sayin’. Although this is we more  typically get with some human-generated word-salad.

Beavers create flooding problem at Colona

COLONA — Beavers have contributed to the plugging of a 15-inch culvert at the southwest corner of the city. As a result of beaver activity, trees and logs have jammed up the tube, and flooding has affected residents on 10th Avenue.

The property isn’t in city limits, and aldermen voted Monday to contact Colona Township to ask if they will assist the city in fixing the problem. “The problem is the city equipment is not able to do what needs to be done. We need larger equipment,” said Mayor Rick Lack.

“We need an excavator, not our backhoe,” agreed public works director Rick Crew. Ald. Tom Jones, 3rd Ward, said the city should ask the township or the county to maintain the culvert. “It would be better for our residents to have a solution than a bureaucratic circle,” said Ald. Tristan Tapscott.

Okay, that part makes sense.  Beavers block culverts, we all accept this. And if there’s one thing we ALL KNOW it’s that boys like to say they could solve any problem if they just had bigger equipment. And if you chose not to install a beaver deceiver to protect a culvert, you need to spend time cleaning them out.

(See how I’m delicately avoiding mentioning their bureaucratic circle [jerk] because that’s just the kind of sensitive woman I am? )

But this is what confused me.

Alderman Mike King said duck hunters occasionally fire close to homes there, and the floodwaters displace coyotes, exacerbating that problem.


Mr. King said if it were zoned as a conservation area, the city could have control over letting people hunt, suggesting coyotes could be hunted there.


Now you might think I’m editing out the context of this paragraph to make it sound more confusing. But go look at the article yourself if you want. The paragraph is context-free. I’m still trying to find it. So if the gunfire and flooding hadn’t pushed them out the coyotes would eat the beavers and fix our problem? Or if the coyotes were around to eat the ducks there wouldn’t be so much hunting there? Or maybe  the duck hunters could shoot beavers? Or just shoot out the culverts?

Or maybe I just wanna shoot coyotes so I’m changing the subject?

You aren’t making any sense, Mike. But, fortunately for you it doesn’t seem to matter much in Colona, IL whether you make sense or not. Your colleagues or constituents don’t seem to mind, and the reporter writes it down and reports it as if you actually contributed. Good job.

You might be mayor soon.