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

Apparently, Superman uses a Cross-bow

Posted by heidi08 On October - 19 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

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.


The other side

Posted by heidi08 On October - 16 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Things are moving in a good direction in the wine country. Yesterday at the Napa community meeting they stopped talking about the crisis and started talking about recovery. (Which will also be a crisis, but of a different, long-term, unfolding kind.) I hear from the artist who wants to help us this year and she and her husband are safely back at their home home, which survived on the very edge of the burning on the Silverado trail. I can’t imagine what it’s like to return to a home that’s now in a charred ghost town, but I’m so happy they are among the lucky ones. The fire never reached downtown Napa, so I assume Rusty, Robin and our beavers are doing okay.  The whole region will need lots of support and rebuilding for a long time to come.

Meanwhile the beaver campaign in Wales is going strong and they have successfully proposed a five year license that will give the animals a toe-hold in the country. They must be doing well because the big liars have turned out in full force, and are tweeking their arguments to  sound convincing without appearing negative.

Opinions sought over beaver reintroduction in Wales

Members of the public will be asked to have their say on plans to reintroduce beavers into the Welsh countryside. Depending on the level of response and issues raised, a final decision could come before the end of the year. Supporters of the plan believe they will bring environmental and economic benefits, but others remain unconvinced.

Beavers were once native to Britain but were hunted to extinction for their fur in the Middle Ages. The animal has been reintroduced into Scotland and England in recent years and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is currently considering an application for a licence to release ten pairs of beavers into the River Cowyn in Carmarthenshire.

The application has been submitted by Wildlife Trusts Wales and the Carmarthenshire-based Bevis Trust, which has three families of beavers penned on its land ready to be released. Bevis Trust founder Nick Fox believes the experience of beaver reintroduction elsewhere proves that the animals will bring big benefits to the Welsh countryside.

He told BBC Radio Wales’ Eye on Wales programme: “Beavers have a key role to play in the ecosystem. They build dams in the slower-flowing small rivers – not in big rivers – and those dams act as natural filters for pollutants and sediment.”

Alicia Leow-Dyke, who oversees the Welsh Beaver Project for Wildlife Trusts Wales, argued beavers would help improve biodiversity.

“Many studies have shown that where you have beavers you have a much richer biodiversity, you have a mosaic of different habitats – and that’s possibly something we have lost in the United Kingdom,” she added.

That sounds pretty persuasive. Better bring in the big guns to refute it and smoke up their objections a bit so no one realizes their just stubborn babies who are upset when they don’t get their own way. Go!

But Mark Lloyd, the chief executive of the Angling Trust, is not convinced that now is the right time to be considering such a project.

“There are lots of other really pressing priorities for the water environment that NRW should be focussing on rather than pet projects that are really “nice to have” but it’s not clear what the benefits are,” he said.

That is a concern for botanist Ray Woods, who has visited the River Otter in Devon where beavers are now in residence under licence.

“I asked the question, “What are they eating” and they just said, “Sorry Ray, we don’t know”. What’s been the impact on all these masses of mosses and liverworts and lichens that are absolutely bang full of useful pharmaceuticals?

My jaw is hanging open as I type this. You’re worried that the beavers will eat up the lichens and then you can’t use them for pharmaceuticals? You do know that lichens grow in trees right? And beavers don’t climb trees. Do you think there is ANY possibility on God’s green earth that Ray was honestly ever told “I’m sorry we don’t know” when he asked what are they eating? Literally everyone is eager to answer the questions and start a conversation about beavers. Either that is a baldfaced lie or the only person he actually asked was a janitor on the train en route. And I can guess which one. Grr.

NRW has completed its initial assessment of the licence application and asked for some further information for the Bevis Trust and Wildlife Trusts Wales. Once that has been received there will be a short consultation. Depending on the level of response and issues raised, a final decision could come before the end of the year.

I’m going to guess that they’re leaning in the “Yes” direction and everyone knows it, because those two special lies aren’t the kind you make from a position of strength. They are what you say when you know you’re losing and you want to frame the argument in a new way out of desperation. Keep pushing Wales, you’re on the HOME STRETCH.


il_570xN.1012079680_ncjaYesterday I started making a list of the items I plan to ask for at the silent auction this year. In doing so I came across a lovely image designed by Sarah MacDonald of Into the Wilds. Her original water color was so lovely I couldn’t resist ’embellishing’ it.

Bay-State Madness

Posted by heidi08 On October - 15 - 20171 COMMENT

Winds picked up again last night and there were more evacuations in Santa Rosa. The death toll now is 40. Things slowed a little in Napa and the Atlas fire, where it all started, is now 50% contained. Here in Martinez the air was actually pleasant enough to risk going outside for a bit. Allowing us to see the fine layer of ash all over our deck furniture. The red flag warning for fire conditions in Napa will continue until the afternoon.

In the meantime I am happy to be catching up on some actual beaver news. The next installment will be an old favorite as poor Massachusetts struggles to eliminate the will of those pesky voters once again.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to allow hunters to use crossbows, which are currently prohibited by the state, except for people with a disability that prohibits them from using other archery equipment. If passed, the new law would allow hunters to carry equipment complying with specific weight and design requirements.

Gobi told the Telegram she was optimistic that the crossbow bill would diversify the population of archers, which would no longer be limited to those strong enough to pull back a traditional bow.

“I don’t know of a single instance involving a bow hunter during archery season when someone was hurt in the woods,” Gobi said. “I take my dog for a walk in the woods every day…and we’ve never had a problem.”

Oh well then, I guess it’s safe. I mean if it never happened to you personally it must never happen right?  And it’s not like your state is the most populated in New England or anything, or the third most densely populated in the nation, so I’m sure carrying around crossbow or shooting on Sundays won’t cause any problems for folks. Right?

Honestly,  that is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time. And you think adding crossbows is going to diversify the hunting population? I can’t understand why you think that’s a persuasive argument that makes sense. I suppose handing crossbows out to terrorists or hungry children would diversify it too. Is that really the goal?

I’m not the only one who thinks this is crazy. Here’s a nice letter to the editor this morning on the subject.

Letter: Let hunters go out on Saturdays, leave Sundays to non-hunters

Managing beavers and other wildlife doesn’t mean that we need to open up the state to fur trapping and Sunday hunting (“Bills introduced would allow hunting on Sunday,” Tuesday 10/10).

Sen. Gobi contends that some sportsmen don’t get licenses because they can only hunt on weekends. As a working mother, the only time my family gets to enjoy the outdoors together is on weekends as well. If hunters are given one day during the weekend to enjoy their recreation I think it’s only fair that families also have one day to take their dogs and little ones out in nature without worrying about wearing orange, explaining gunshots, or coming across hunted or trapped animals.

We enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitats, including beavers, which are an important keystone species. As expert engineers, they create habitat for other species and help improve water quality.

For those rare situations when humans and beavers come into conflict, there are plenty of humane, non-lethal, and cost effective solutions such as trunk guards, sanded paint, and fencing around tress as well as piping systems, fencing systems, and flow devices.

Trapping beavers is a temporary solution, removing one beaver from a desirable area only opens up that habitat for the next migrating beaver to occupy. In these instances, the trapping and killing of beavers must be repeated, ad nauseam.

Rather than trapping and killing beavers over and over again, as Sen. Gobi and others advocate, let’s pursue and continue to invent creative and humane solutions.

beaver powerMargaret Mulcahy

Excellently said, Margaret. You made so many excellent points in such a short space that I am happy to share your letter. And you did it all while being much more polite than I was. Of course Ms. Gobi won’t change her position, because obviously her opinions aren’t vulnerable to actual facts or the concerns of voters or anything. But I am proud of you, and beavers unanimously agree.