Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Category: Who’s blaming beavers now?

Greenburn lake is in the Gulf Islands off the west coast of British Columbia. It’s actually located in that little missing chip in the utmost left hand corner of Washington State. It’s not all that far from Port Moody as the beaver swims, so I’m hoping many heroes help them with this particular problem.

Aerial view of Greenburn Lake, South Pender Island, with North Pender Island and Vancouver Island in the background, South Pender Island

Gulf Islanders outraged over plan to euthanize beavers

A death sentence has been passed on the beavers living in a small lake in the Gulf Islands, but concerned citizens are hoping they can force a last minute pardon. The rodents have been busy building dams in South Pender Island’s Greenburn Lake. 

Parks Canada, which administers the area as part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, says the beavers’ work is threatening an earthen dam. Officials say they’ve exhausted all other options and have no choice but to humanely trap and euthanize the animals. But local residents are planning a blockade in an attempt to get the execution called off.

“We’re actually horrified by the fact that they would dream of killing wild animals when their mandate is to protect the wilderness and wild animals,” Leslie McBain told CBC News.

“It is ironic that their symbol, the National Parks symbol, is a beaver.”

‘A very difficult decision’

Nathan Cardinal, acting superintendent for the park, said he’s sympathetic to concerns from the public. “Having to take these steps is a very difficult decision for the agency and everyone involved,” he said.”We respect the right for people to protest, for sure, and we acknowledge that many people on the island care about the beavers. For us, euthanizing a problem animal is always the last resort.”

Between one and eight beavers have made their homes in the lake and, as they construct their own dams, more and more water is building up behind the man-made dam, threatening its structural integrity. Cardinal said that if the beavers are allowed to continue living in the lake, the dam will fail, causing water to spill onto people’s properties and into their homes.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

“At Parks Canada, it’s our mandate to ensure ecological integrity, but we always have to ensure that public safety comes first,” he said. Parks officials have been looking at potential solutions for about a year.

They’ve tried installing something called a “beaver deceiver” — a rectangular fence protecting a culvert that allows water to flow through — but the rodents responded by building dams in new places, causing more backup.

In what pretend universe is a beaver deceiver rectangular? How on earth would that possibly work? So let me understand this right, because you failed to use a tool correctly the beavers must die?

Parks officials have also looked into relocating the animals. But Cardinal said beavers are both territorial and increasingly abundant across B.C., so staff couldn’t find a suitable new home.

Now that it’s November, Parks Canada feels compelled to act. “We need to address it now before we get into the very wet season of the winter,” Cardinal said.

But McBain has a hard time believing there are no other options and would like to see the community consulted about what happens to the beavers.

“Humans are impacting the environment, it’s not beavers that are impacting the environment. We destroyed their habitat first, now we’re just going to destroy them,” she said.

First of all, NICE work Leslie. You already have that reporter eating out of your hand because look at the tone of the article! I’d say if you bring some children dressed in beaver tails and show them a photo of the ACTUAL trapezoidal beaver deceived you’re home free. Or at least on broadcast news. Then 200 more people will care about this issue and THEN you’ll be home free.

I have no idea what kind of rectangular fence they used to protect the culvert, but it sound like the beavers scoffed at their feeble attempts and kept right on making a safe pond for their family. Those stubborn beavers, willfully insisting on protecting their children and eating ALL winter long.

I will try and track down Leslie and Nathan today, and talk to them  about real options.


On a related note, this was a nice discussion of urban wildlife recently on KQED. I’m sure it was just an oversight on Colleen’s part that she forgot to mention beavers.

Today is a grim day for beavers living at Mystic lake in Bozeman Montana. Located in the Custer Gallatan National Forest at the bottom of Montana near the top of Yellowstone.  November 1st is the date the Forest Service and City will be teaming up to syphon out some of the water before ripping out the dam entirely because they are worried a washout could impact the city. It is 35 degrees today with a winter storm warning, so in every likely hood most of those beavers will lose their home, their pantry, and eventually their lives if enthusiastic hunters don’t pick them off in the meantime.

City, Forest Service to tear out Mystic Lake beaver dam

City and federal officials are working together to get rid of a potentially problematic beaver dam at the outlet of Mystic Lake that they say is a safety hazard.

beaver-damThe city of Bozeman and the U.S. Forest Service began talking about tearing out the dam in late August. A news release sent out Wednesday said the dam is “large enough to create a public safety concern downstream due to increased water volume in the lake.”

The work will begin Nov. 1. Workers will siphon water from the lake to Bozeman Creek to drop water levels. Heavy equipment will roll in to help tear out the dam.

The Forest Service wants to warn hikers that Bozeman Creek’s flows will likely be increased while the work is ongoing. Trucks and heavy equipment will be rumbling up administrative roads and trails throughout the area, including Forest Service Roads 176 (Moser Creek Cutoff) and 979 (Bozeman Creek).

So they agreed this work should be done three months ago but didn’t get around to doing it until NOW when there is no chance the beavers can recover their food stash or rebuild their flooded home? I suppose they didn’t want to compromise the trails during hiking season so they waited until winter. But this is just cruel. I can’t believe the forest service is helping them do this. Who do they work for anyway?

Beaver Dam Removal Planned for the Mystic Lake Outlet south of Bozeman

Bozeman, Montana – Trail users near Mystic Lake, in the Sourdough Drainage, south of Bozeman, Montana should be aware that there will be a flurry of activity associated with a beaver dam removal project starting November 1.  Visitors can expect vehicle activity, heavy equipment operation and a crew working near the lake outlet for about two weeks..  “We realize that the activity may disrupt hunters and recreationist in the area but the work is extremely important” acknowledged Acting Bozeman District Ranger, David Francomb.

For the project duration, there will be higher than normal water flows in Bozeman Creek. Flow related water surges will be comparable to spring run-off water levels, thus, recreation users considering creek crossings should use extra caution.    Property owners along Bozeman creek will see more water in the stream.  According to Brian Heaston, City of Bozeman Engineer, “the increased flows are not anticipated to pose a threat to life safety or property.”

You’re worried about disrupting the poor, poor hunters in the area? Trust me, they’ll be fine. Someone sent Ben Goldfarb the last-org discussion about this decision by some wildlife activists in the area who know better. I’m glad people are worried about these beavers, because they should be. I feel just awful for not writing about this sooner and contacting the folks involved. We were in transition between the Sierras and home and the alert must have escaped me.

I doubt anything short of an injunction is going to stop them today when their heavy equipment is already loaded and on its way but we can make their lives a little less pleasant. Honestly these are the very kind of decisions that enrage me. For what its worth, here’s the forest service number and the project engineer’s  direct line


I was feeling hopeless this morning but I am SO WRONG! Sounds like locals must have gotten involved. I wrote Mr. Francomb and he wrote back this morning from his home in Vermont, cc’ing the ranger currently in charge. They knew about flow devices but were worried about a dam washout. Then a late email came just now saying that the flooding will be mitigated and a long term solution will be proved at a later date! WHOO HOOO!

Update on Mystic Lake project.  Engineers are currently working on a mitigation device to keep water to tolerable level after lowering and keeping the beavers in the system.  Long term solutions will be discussed at a later date.  Thanks.

Looks like those pesky beavers have been up to no good again. This time in Sheridan Wyoming which is almost far north enough to be in Montana. Apparently they took care of the problem JUST in time.

Beaver dams, apparently built this past summer, caused some flooding over Slack Road, a county road in the northwest part of Sheridan County. County Engineer Ken Muller said three beavers have been removed, although a fourth may still be in the area, and county crews plan to take action this week to deal with the dams.

Muller said a state trapper was called and trapped three of the beavers. He said they’ve been relocated. The dams were built in nearby West Pass Creek, and Muller said the road is currently in pretty good condition. However, he said, the water is right up to the edge of the road on both sides, and crews need to deal with the situation before winter sets in.

Muller said this kind of situation doesn’t happen too often, but about four years ago, the county had an issue with a beaver dam flooding South Creek Road. In that situation, he said, the water actually crossed the road. Fortunately, he said, the road wasn’t damaged.

Relocated? Really? Do think Wyoming is ecologically sophisticated in ways for which we don’t give them credit? Or do you possibly think that trapper is just spinning a tale and blowing some smoke up our skirts by alleging that they were like that puppy our parents said went to ‘live on the farm”? I’m guessing that those beavers were relocated to Hamlet’s “Undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns“. But either way it’s a death sentence because it’s 34 degrees there this morning, with poor conditions to build a lodge or establish a food cache.

Still the lying irks me. So brazen. This song popped in my head as I read it, although different Sheridan, I imagine.

Ohh you cannot get to Sheridan, says the false knight on the road

Speaking of my husband’s homeland, God bless BBC programs like Autumnwatch which is broadcasting an admirable program filmed on the Devon beavers with a rare local farmer who isn’t a beaverphobe. I love seeing the wonder with which they watch as Autumnthe beaver does the most mundane beaver things. It is how i felt the very first year watching our beavers alone every morning. Turn your sound UP for this just to hear it in their voices.

It is impossible to read this article from the banks of lake Huron in Michigan without remembering the posterior-covering things told to us by our city staff when our beaver dams were threatened. What we learned in those early days is that everyone protects everyone else, and city attorneys are every bit as difficult and narrow-minded as you would expect them to be. And then some. Save this in case your city manager ever starts to do the same things, or just enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Beaver dam removal leads to complaints by public

LINCOLN — The Alcona County Road Commission has received complaints for the removal of a beaver dam on Cedar Lake that allegedly was causing drainage and flooding issues for residents.

Managing Director Jesse Campbell told trustees during a meeting Tuesday that although the dam may be gone, complaints from some members of the public still will be coming in.

Campbell, who acts as the county’s drain commissioner through a mandate by the Alcona County Board of Commissioners, said the dam was ordered removed by county Prosecutor Tom Weichel who is the drain commission’s attorney.

 Chairman Alfred Scully said one complainant took the matter to the Cedar Lake Improvement Board and alleged the county made a mess of the dam removal, leaving debris in the area. Scully said this was Friday, the first day of the three-day removal project.

We’re in the middle of the job but he (complained) that we don’t know what we’re doing. We worked on it, and left a mess (he said) but it wasn’t like we were done,” Scully said.

We were just getting to that! Honest! It’s the way cities work. First you make the mess thoroughly and then you wait two days to see if anyone complains and then you clean up the mess.  HONEST we were coming back on Monday to finish. (If we had to.) And our decision to engage in destruction on a friday had NOTHING whatsoever at all to do with the fact that we wanted the office to be closed and locked by the time you came home from work, saw the mess, and tried to call our bosses about it.

Campbell said some in the public questioned the process of dam removal in emails to the road commission. He said the county was in its legal right to remove the dam and did not need permits to do so.

“Under the drain law of 1940 in the road law there is no permit needed for beaver dam removal affecting a county drain or within the road right of way,” Campbell wrote.

One complainant was concerned with the dam removal because the presence of heavy equipment disturbed duck hunting areas near a 20-acre parcel of property.

Ripping a dam with heavy equipment might affect duck hunting? I’ve got news for you. Ripping out the dam PERIOD might affect duck hunting. Just think about all that tasty forage the silt and mud removal is going to ruin. Or the safe nesting spots that will be lost forever.

Campbell said two beavers will be killed in the removal following Michigan Department of Environmental Quality guidelines and the county would reimburse the road commission for the work, like many other subcontracting jobs.

“The person didn’t feel that we should be there and they may get an attorney,” Campbell said. “This may open up a big can of worms.”

Ohhh I think the proverbial can has been opened. And I think you are well aware of that – which is why you’re trying to cover your tracks with this weaselly little statement to the board.

One concern was the land and area where the dam was removed had ground that was disturbed.

As far as refurbishing the area where the dam was removed, Campbell said soil could not be put back into the area because it could contaminate the lake water with silt, though straw could be put in place as a maintenance measure.

“Within two years all the stuff is going to come back in, the vegetation is going to come back,” he said.

Of course we couldn’t smooth down the muck after we made it, because you know lake Huron would silt up and that would be terrible! I mean ripping out the dam probably released a little silt too, but it was necessary. Don’t worry, I know its an eyesore in your front yards now, but in two years time it will all have grown back! You won’t even know we were here.

That’s nothing. In two year’s time more beavers will move in and build a dam. Then we’ll come back and do it all again. The county reimburses for stuff like that doesn’t it?

Scully told Campbell that in the future all questions from the public would be directed to Weichel for his legal expertise. He said he was concerned with the rudeness of some of the complainants who personally contacted him by telephone.

I’ve never been spoken to by such ruffians in all my born days!  My virgin ears are still stinging! There’s no cause to get personally RUDE just because my crew climbed into your front yard and ripped out the pond leaving mud and sticks all over (and that coke can). Insulting the dating history of my dear old mother is WAY out of line!

How Rude!

Ahh the pearl-clutching and righteous affront! It’s like we’ve gone back in time right down to the full tempers of the day. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule book somewhere that all city employees have access to.

First stall.
Then Lie.
Then Say there’s an ordinance.
Then act OFFENDED!

Remember when our public works director told staff that he didn’t want my husband to go to the subcommittee meetings anymore because he had scowled at him? (Truly willful scrowling can be a burden.) And remember when some smart-ass emailed the city council member after they were quoted saying the beavers should be euthanized by sarcastically saying maybe their children should be euthanized? And of course a swat team was brought in and the full 11 member police force had to be paid overtime at the meeting because of the “death threat?”

You know exactly what the drama playing out here is. Cities do what they want first, and find reasons to justify it second. They were just doing their jobs. If they didn’t remove that dam lives could be lost. When they said that offensive thing they were only joking. Can’t you take a joke? They’re only beavers, after all.

Ahh thanks for the memories, Alcona.

I’ve been covering beaver stories a long time, haven’t I? And you would think, that in a decade of reporting beaver news I had read every outrageous thing that could possibly be done to these unappreciated animals. I would have thought so any way.

Until this morning.

Beaver trap methods cause resident concerns

The Town of High River will create formal procedures involving the removal of problem beavers, those that affect town infrastructure, after a report on social media led to outcry and questions to officials.

A posting on High River Respectful Rant and Rave in late September outlined an incident in which a resident saw a person shooting a beaver with a bow, or crossbow, along Lineham Acres canal.

“Come on Town of High River,” Sheryl Gorzitza Skory wrote. “Isn’t there a better way of dealing with these ‘destructive beasts’ who are only doing as nature intended for them to do?”

High River is just outside Calgary in Alberta Canada. Innocent child that I am I thought that shooting a beaver with a crossbow had to be a mistake, a benign action misunderstood or something done by some crazy bored teenager. All silly, silly me.

Kevin Tetzlaff, town communications advisor, said the beaver control program has been ongoing for a number of years. Calls from residents meant not all people knew of the program, he said.

“Yes, they are (killed),” Tetzlaff said. “There’s a variety of different methods the trappers use… Generally you can use traps that humanely kill the beavers.”

The bow and arrow or crossbow is another form when traps are not advisable, Tetzlaff said. The release read that if a firearm or weapon is used for hunting, police are notified and precautions are taken.

“We understand there’s going to be a range of views from residents, and that’s why, we really are limiting it to beavers in areas that have to be removed due to causing a risk to infrastructure,” he said.

If you’re trying to imagine what kind of town uses a cross-bow to shoot beavers, High River is a town of 13,000 and the set where they filmed Smallville and Superman III. Which means it looks just like you would expect have expected it to look 50 years ago.  I’m guessing since the canal in question is lined with homes they didn’t want to fire a gunshot and terrify the neighborhood. Let’s theoretically imagine  the sides of the canal were too steep to set traps.

But a cross-bow? Honestly?

The trapper has been instructed to stop using the crossbow in residential neighbourhoods, Tetzlaff said. In addition, the town will look at current policies and form official procedures, he added.

“Part of our process is we’re going to look at what other municipalities are doing to manage this kind of situation” Tetzlaff said, noting the town will develop a standard protocol moving forward.

Here’s an idea. STOP KILLING BEAVERS! Wikipedia tells me that the town of High River was subject to severe flooding in 1894, 1899, 1902, 1908, 1912, 1923, 1929, 1932, 1942, 1995, 2005 and 2013. They have continued to add canals and kill beavers all during that time and must be puzzled why this isn’t solving their problem.

Here’s a thought.