Archive for the ‘Who’s blaming beavers now?’ Category

Starved for information

Posted by heidi08 On June - 14 - 2017Comments Off on Starved for information

Why is it that folks in the county library complain about having nothing to read? I guess for the same reason your teenager opens the fridge and says there’s nothing to eat. Certainly the state of New York has blinders on when it comes to solving beaver problems, other wise they would have called on Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife years ago. The answer to their question is a whopping 130 miles away.

Spencer Trying to Fix Nuisance Beaver Problem in Nichols Pond

As the Spencer Village Board of Trustees continues to ponder the beaver problem that has been plaguing Nichols Pond, they sought input from expert Scott MacDonald, who has had to deal with the industrious critters in his capacity as executive director of the Waterman Conservation Education Center in Appalachin.

For years MacDonald has been trying to figure out the best way to curb damage by the beaver population at Brick Pond in Owego. He found an effective method, though it involved installing two bulkheads that control the water level at a cost of $80,000 taxpayers’ dollars. The Spencer Village Board is seeking a more cost-effective way to prevent damage in and around the village-owned pond.

 Trustee Timothy Goodrich, the board’s point person for all matters related to Nichols Park, said the family of beavers is damming up the inflows and outflows to the pond and rapidly destroying the park’s trees.

MacDonald agreed that it was also probably a beaver that chewed through the underwater electrical line that powers the fountain in the center of the pond. Goodrich said he’s not sure whether or not the fountain will be repaired in time to turn it on this summer.

I want to meet the man who sold them the 80,000 dollar solution, because he’s a genius and should work for the federal government. Clearly no kind of flow device or beaver deceiver was ever installed because they have a crew of volunteers pulling out debris on a daily basis.

The handful of volunteers who clean the debris out of the pond’s culverts are becoming fed up, according to Goodrich. “They want to move onto other stuff,” he said of the volunteers, “but they’re so busy with the beavers they can’t do anything else.”

“I don’t blame them,” he added,” because they’re out there every day.” He said that most if not all of the volunteers are older and that the physical labor of clearing out sticks and packed mud can be hard on them.

Therefore, Goodrich said, the board needs to come up with a solution sooner rather than later. The beavers cannot be trapped and relocated because they are considered a “nuisance” species in New York State, the logic being that it’s not fair for people to release beavers elsewhere and pass on the burden to other landowners.

Goodrich said that he is not opposed to having the beavers killed, a resolution that none of the other trustees were very enthusiastic about supporting.

Most of the trustees said they believe that if the beavers are killed another family of beavers will move in. Goodrich argued that trapping the beavers that live in the pond currently would at least give the village time to come up with an adequate solution before new ones decide to make the pond their home.

MacDonald said he considers having the family beavers killed the one “black mark” on his record as caretaker for the pond, even though it was necessary to secure the state funding necessary to save the pond after the flood.

“It was very bad,” he said. “The public got very upset about it.”

We learned so much from that incident. We still don’t have a clue how to solve beaver beaver problems.

Since that time, he has learned how to raise and lower water levels at certain parts of the pond. If he pays attention to what the beavers are up to, he can often dissuade them from building in problematic places because beavers won’t build dams where the water is not deep enough for them to float the big logs they need to start their shelter. Beavers, he told the board, do not like to drag heavy logs.

Even with the bulkheads, MacDonald said there is some manual labor involved. There’s one culvert he has to dig out himself every once in a while or it becomes a major project — over the last winter he let it go too long, he said, and a few weeks ago he had to go out in a wetsuit with a backhoe to clear the stopped-up water flow.

Some level of manual labor seems inevitable if the beavers are to stay, but Spencer Village Trustee Nicole O’Connell-Avery said that she disapproves of setting kill traps.

She said the traps would likely be set underwater and would catch the beavers by the leg, holding them until they drown. She said it sounds like an awful way to die, and questioned whether or not the traps could endanger swimmers, pets or boaters who fall overboard.

O’Connell-Avery was enthusiastic about the idea of installing heavy-duty fencing in strategic areas that would prevent the beavers from building at the pond’s intakes and outtakes. Mayor Christine Lester said she thought this was worth a try.

O’Connell-Avery also offered up the unique but untested idea of population control: catching, neutering and releasing the pond’s male beavers. O’Connell-Avery works at Cornell University, and she said she would ask around to see if her colleagues would be interested in using the pond as a case study.

Beavers live in families of eight to 10, and usually only one family will live in a body of water as small as Nichols Pond. When the family has about eight offspring, the parents kick out the two oldest, who then seek new habitats at neighboring ponds, according to MacDonald. O”Connell-Avery said that this structured family setup might make for an ideal situation in which researchers could trap the males and keep track of the results.

facepalmWhen the family has about EIGHT OFF SPRING THEY KICK OUT THE TWO OLDEST? Really? And you work at Cornell? Are you the frickin’ janitor?

Good lord this riles me. I’m too old for this sort of nonsense. Considering that Cornell already HIRED Mike Callahan  to install a flow device, every one of these folks should know better. That was just over an entire year ago, I guess I can understand why you wouldn’t be up on such ancient history.

I guarantee you Mike didn’t charge the university 80,000 dollars for his installation, by the way. Heck even when we brought Skip Lisle 3000 miles out from VERMONT to solve our problem it didn’t cost us 80,000.

ACK! Someone get me a paper bag to breathe into. The Cornell website tells me that Nicole is a supervising vet Tech at the wildlife animal hospital at the university. She could really make this happen. We can only hope that before she picks up the scapel to neuter these beavers she cracks open a book and reads that beavers enter estrus once a year and young disperse at two years regardless of the family size. Surely she will listen to a reasonable argument?

Given Spencer’s track record so far, I’m not counting on it.


I need to calm myself by sharing the beautiful new sign that arrived yesterday for my beaver booth. Isn’t this lovely? It will hang out from my booth like one of those Ye Olde Shoppe signs!

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13 Reasons Why you should always film in Beaver Park

Posted by heidi08 On June - 13 - 2017Comments Off on 13 Reasons Why you should always film in Beaver Park

Yesterday all of Martinez was a buzz with the excitement of Paramount pictures filming season 2 of the netflix series The 13 reasons why” in our streets, courtyards and parks. The busy Perryman’s had to go to Vallejo yesterday and on our way out we saw maybe 7 huge white trailer trucks with equipment inside, the street blocked off at the financial courthouse, and beaver park blocked and barricaded. There were film crews literally everywhere and people running around with sound equipment, scene props makinglast minute touches.

It must of went on all day, because when we got home at 3:30 they were set up on main street filming  in a restaurant with outside dining and there and watchers were lined up on the opposite wall across the street. Lots of cellphones photos were snapped of all the drama, including this lovely shot of them in Beaver park.

19030646_10156650311269848_3700869747606285881_nThe production has made its share of news both because of the subject matter (a young girl leaves audio tapes to her classmates about why she committed suicide) the quality of the work, and the bay area-centric locale. Because major scenes have been shot in San Rafael, Sebastopol, Petaluma, Vallejo and now Martinez.  We first heard about it when a note was left on our door asking if we would be interested in having our house in the filming, they might want to use both the exterior and interior shots over the summer, and we would be paid for our trouble. As exciting as it was to think about, my second life as a child psychologist probably wouldn’t have worked well with having my house filmed for a teen suicide production, so we politely declined.

Obviously, by cleverly filming in beaver park, they got me anyway. Smile.


Kinda fun story from Kitsap Washington this morning. I’m never horribly worried about Washington beaver stories, because even if they don’t always end well for the beavers, I know there are folks close to home pushing for the right solutions. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Road crews and beavers busy working on Brownsville Highway

BROWNSVILLE — Eager beavers — both real and figurative — are making life challenging for drivers on Brownsville Highway in Central Kitsap.

For some time now, hardworking road crews have been prepping that stretch of highway, filling dips and doing “grind outs” where the old surface is badly cracked, in preparation for putting down a new layer of asphalt, according to Kitsap County Road Superintendent Jacques Dean. The goal is to roll down the new layer towards the end of this week, “depending on the weather and completion of the repairs,” Dean said.

Curing the chronic flooding in the dip in the Brownsville Highway below the county’s sewer treatment plant will be more difficult, Dean said. Water over the highway there, in addition to damaging the asphalt and washing out the west shoulder, was also the cause of several accidents last spring.

blocked culvert “We were just out there,” Dean said. He explained that the problem is beavers building dams. The debris from their construction projects plugs up the inlet to the culvert designed to carry runoff from the uphill wetland to the east under the road to the wetland on the lower west side of the road.

Fixing the problem is complicated by several problems.

“[The dams are] on private property. It’s on wetlands. And we can’t work off of the right of way,” Dean said. To get permission to do any work, he said he is going to have to go through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state Fish and Wildlife, and Kitsap County Public Health.

An added challenge to clearing the channel is that it is probably going to involve a lot of handwork. “You can’t get standard equipment in there,” Dean said. “It would sink right down into the peat bog and mud.”

Too bad your big machines don’t work in mud. Because beaver’s certainly do.

Now, if you’ll excuse me Vista Prints is offering me 50% off again and I’ve been waiting to make signs out of these graphics I put together for that Tattoo booth (Where Erika and the Watershed Steward Interns will be helping kids put the wildlife tattoos they earned on leather covers) and the journal-making booth (Where Jon will be helping the kids make nature journals with the covers). They generally tell the story fairly well and I’m pretty happy with them.

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George Bernard Shaw of Beavers?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 12 - 2017Comments Off on George Bernard Shaw of Beavers?

Perhaps one of you might be able to explain this to me. My head hurts from all the scratching.

Community center to host performance of ‘Beaver Dreams’

“Beaver Dreams,” performed by Lost & Found Puppet Co., will be presented Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Hazleton One Community Center, 225 E. Fourth St., Hazleton. Featuring puppets, a clown and animation, “Beaver Dreams” is a story that takes place on a small lake in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Canada.

It is about the relationship between the beavers living there and the people who vacation there every summer. They both love the lake, but the beavers build dams and the people break them down. They coexist, but not happily. Then one day a threat appears that unites the beavers and the people. To find out what happens, come to see Beaver Dreams.

Lost & Found Puppets has headquarters in both Montreal and Vancouver, Canada.

Now if I was going to write a play about beavers, I’m not sure this is what I’d come up with. Of course I went searching for everything I could find on ‘beaver dreams’ and came up with a lot of pop psychology on what it means if you actually see a beaver in your dream. (Um, in my case that your eyes are closed?) But I guess that’s just me. Then I found that this was an award winning production and here’s the promo.


“Nothing less than brilliant” – Savage Clown

“Brings joy to your life” – Montreal Rampage

“I felt like I was in a forest inside a theatre” – Johanna Nutter (Freestanding Room)

More head scratching. Didn’t Montreal bring us Cirque de soliel? At best, we can say the regional offerings appear uneven. I’m guessing that the singing in this little masterpiece is a voyageur song like the ones written down by Ermatinger that I wrote about a startlingly long time ago. He was famous in the Hudson Bay Company for actually writing down the music that those eager beaver-killers were singing to make the canoeing go faster. Alouette is an old trapping song, so of course I wrote some of my own favorite lyrics. Good luck to beaver dreams.

I don’t think they appear in this fine production, but who knows. Anything is possible.

All the beavers, I kill all the beavers,
All the beavers, they will die for me.

Did you kill them with a knife?
Yes I killed them with a knife.
With a knife?
With a knife!
Oh-oh-oh-oh

All the beavers, I kill the beavers
All the beavers, they will die for me.

Did you kill them with a club?
Yes I killed them with a club.
With a club?
With a club!
With a bow?
With a bow!
With a trap?
With a trap!
Oh-oh-oh-oh

All the beavers, I kill all the beavers
All the beavers, they will die for me.