Archive for the ‘Who’s Killing Beavers Now?’ Category

Orphans in zoos & Cities in debt

Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

CaptureTurtle Bay names new beaver Timber

REDDING, California – Turtle Bay’s newest animal, a young male beaver, has a name, Timber.

The rodent came from the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minneapolis. Turtle Bay officials say the beaver will live in the Viewable River Aquarium inside the museum.

 The 22,000-gallon aquarium, which opens up to the outdoors on the other side of the viewing glass, will be enclosed with netting material to keep birds out. The park will also build a barrier so the beaver can’t dig out.

That’s right, we happily ripped this beaver out of his family imprisoned by Minnesota’s concrete zoo to bring him 2000 miles away where he will be the only beaver in OUR zoo. He’ll grow up without any family whatsoever and since he came at 7 weeks and never had the least beaver training, we hope he won’t dig or build dams. It’ll be fun to watch him grow up, and when he’s stopped being an attraction, we’ll just trade him or euthanize anyway.

Turtle bay reflects the mercenary vision of Redding itself and its CEO is the former city manager, who clearly understands and values wildlife. He took over for the original horticulturist who was mysteriously relieved of duties after only two years. The city  bailed out the money hole to the tune of 400,000 dollars. But couldn’t help anymore when the recession hit. Mr. Warren generated some controversy by doing what management types usually do, streamlining, lowering salaries and doubling duties. For everyone but himself that is – he still makes 7600 dollars a week for three days work.

The famed Sundial Bridge that we’ve all seen (funded mostly by the McConnell Foundation) connected Turtle Bay’s south campus to its Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. As a reward for the McConnell generosity, the foundation gets to buy 14 acres of land to build a hotel on, and since its part of the Turtle bay grounds they can avoid paying those pesky union wages. Mr. Warren has said this will keep Turtle Bay well attended, but the hotel will not contribute anything  financial to the park, so whether it will actually help is anyone’s guess.

The whole action was challenged as a major land grab and will be on the ballot come November.

And in the meantime, the park is building a NEW river habitat where it will house its lonely beaver so children can gape at him while he swims by underwater. You can imagine how enthusiastic I feel about that.

I have an AMAZING story of beaver resilience to share, but I’ll wait until tomorrow because this story bugs me too much.

Stay tuned!




Shifting Territories

Posted by heidi08 On September - 18 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Remember that huge, undisturbed beaver dam visible from space in the Canadian wilderness? Well, consider it ‘undisturbed’ no more.

Rob Mark, an amateur explorer from New Jersey, recently became the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam. It took Mark nine days to cover the 200 km from Fort Chipewyan to the 850-metre-wide dam in Wood Buffalo National Park. Here he is in a selfie taken while he was standing on top of the the dam.

 U.S. explorer reaches world’s largest beaver dam

EDMONTON – An American explorer recently became the first person to set foot on the world’s largest known beaver dam — an 850-metre-long fortress built painstakingly over decades in Wood Buffalo National Park.

After four years of planning and nine days of bushwhacking through swampland and dense boreal forest, Rob Mark reached the structure in the northeast corner of Alberta on July 20.

The location is so remote the only previous sightings of it have been made by satellite and fixed-wing aircraft.

“It was incredibly angry I was there,” Mark said. “It kept slapping its tail against the water.”

Yes, that beaver was furious to see a biped in its territory where one hadn’t been seen for centuries. That’s exactly what beavers are feeling when they tail slap: anger, irritation, pique, rage. They are such resentful animals.

Not alarm.

Where are you going next? I look forward to your  many bold explorations so you can misunderstand some NEW species! Maybe the antarctic? Where you can keenly observe that penguins didn’t fly in front of you because they were secretive?


More head scratching from Ramara in Ontario that can’t imagine why they’re not fixing the beaver problem even though its shelling out 150 per tail to trap them.

Ramara is losing a battle against beavers that are building dams faster than the township can remove them, says Mayor Bill Duffy.

Compared to surrounding municipalities, Ramara is “on the high side” when it comes to how much money it’s paying beaver trappers, Duffy said.

In 2013, Ramara paid $7,125 to trappers.

Sipos said the township should hire more trappers to tackle the problem.

“We don’t have enough trappers. We only have two. Each trapper has so many traps, but when we have a problem, we have problems at the same time, so we want to have more trappers,” she said.

 The township is looking a creating a beaver-trapping policy to determine when the township is responsible for removing beavers and their dams, when a private landowner is responsible or when both are.

When you’re completely failing it’s important not to try anything NEW. Just keep doing the same thing over and over, and maybe faster. I’m sure that will take care of the problem.



There’s too much news this morning to cover it all, but we have local news to report. Last night we saw the ENTIRE FAMILY spread out across Alhambra creek from the railroad tracks to Green Street. 3 beavers by the footbridge and 3 beavers above Ward street. One beaver walked the dry stretch by Starbucks in between to get to family at Ward street, and one beaver was sleeping below the secondary dam and came up when we got there at 6.

Oh and one beaver scaled the bank wall like this. 9.9 from the German judge.

The kit was with Dad and a yearling at ward street and mom was keeping an eye at the secondary. There was a kingfisher diving from under the Marina Vista bridge, and when we watched at night above the ward street bridge we saw a number of bats making darts from underneath. Truly a beaver safari night.

Dad at Ward street

Dad beaver at Ward Street: Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Oh and I worked very hard yesterday on a new toy for us all to play with. Tell me how you do and try out the snazzy new SHARE buttons at the bottom of the page.

test1start buttonFinally, good luck today to our Scottish friends. Polls are open until 10 pm, and there is a whopping 80% turnout expected. For the first time 16 and 17 years olds will be allowed to vote and it should all be decided by tomorrow morning. We certainly know which side the beaver-protecting Ramsays are on.


The new ‘Lily pond’ story

Posted by heidi08 On September - 16 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Beavers invade Chico backyard, damage property


The funny thing is that I met a woman on the Butte county environmental team involved with this case on Sunday at the Optics Faire. She sent me the report and I tried to track down Mr.Barker through facebook. I suggested the best way to get rid of these beavers is to temporarily drain the pond and said if he does it without hurting them Worth A Dam will buy that chewed table to sell at the festival. It terrifies me to think of beavers wadering through the dry suburbs of Chico looking for a new home, but they did it once and it’s definitely better than their odds if USDA comes to the homeowners rescue. And who on EARTH said that beavers mate in September?

Stay tuned.

Yesterday I got some VERY VERY good news, that if it actually happens will be the coolest thing ever. I’ll let you know more when its firm. Fingers crossed.

The unfinished thought

Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2014Comments Off

A beaver lodge sits next to the partially drained pond, water from which was used to control dust from construction of a golf course near the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Editorial: Drained Trinity pond drains confidence

The work recently went off the rails when contractors began draining an environmentally sensitive pond in an effort to control dust elsewhere.

 This pond is a gem of the forest, where threatened wood storks like to fish. The contractors hired by City Hall siphoned it like a swimming pool. A witness, Ben Sandifer, said he saw fish huddled in the mud and remaining water with their backs exposed.

 Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan wrote that, while officials agreed to let contractors use water from the pond, they “never realized the contractor would be so insensitive as to attempt to drain an entire pond.

Right, because  contractors are usually such sensitive souls. I know mine went through a whole box of kleenex watching nature programs when our shower was installed. This is what you did to the Audubon center?  This is bad even by Texas standards.

The good news is that folks are mighty upset about it, so there’s a good chance something might change for next time. Too bad for the beavers and the wood storks though. I guess someone else will have to deliver all those babies to dallas?

(Have you ever seen a wood stork? They are deeply striking birds with featherless black heads and great long beaks. Here’s a photo I took in the everglades. You can bet something enjoyed an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with all those huddled victimized fish – and we know it wasn’t the beavers!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, is it me or has the Huffington Post finally maxed out on beaver innuendo?

HPNobody likes a stinky beaver.

 Just ask the people of Cumming, Georgia, who had to endure the filthy stench of rotting beaver carcasses, after one resident allegedly left them in a parking lot.

Police are fingering Chad Artimovich, 43, as the lead suspect in the case. Artimovich was arrested Aug. 23 after customers of a TitleMax complained about decomposing beaver carcasses in the parking lot, WSB-TV reported last week. Responding officers found several large bags full of maggots, fluid and rotting beaver, which gave off an “atrocious” smell, they said.

Get it? “Stinky beaver”, police are “Fingering” the suspect. Isn’t that hilarious?I mean if you’re a 12 year old boy?

Less funny is the tail bounty offered in Georgia that leads  to someone knocking off a few beaver, snipping free their reward hastily in the parking lot, and hurrying off to collect their 13$ a tail.

No word on when the Huffington Post will be reporting on that.

Oh, and speaking of wasted publications and and incomplete thoughts, how about Nina Keenam columnist for the Andulusia Star News in Alaska whose burning curiosity drove her to exhaustively research beavers – during which effort she determined they were BUSY.

Beavers worthy of ‘busy’ slogan

What animal do some people consider the “outstanding engineer of the wild” and the mammal next to man that alters the environment most to suit its needs? If you answered “a beaver,” you were right.

When I covered meetings of the Covington County Commission for The Andalusia Star-News, one of the commissioners often related stories about beavers in constant battle with his road crew. He said beaver dams caused flooding along county roads and bridges. As fast as crews destroyed a beaver dam, the beavers reconstructed it the same night.

 Beavers are definitely clever and persistent. I learned that beavers cut down trees, gnaw off the limbs, cut the main trunk into the right size, and dig canals so it can float to the dam site. Then it plasters the logs together with mud.

 I would say that the expression “Busy as a beaver” rings true.

I can just imagine those late nights of study, drinking iced coffee and charcoal biscuits next to a pile of ruffled volumes that lead you to this stunning conclusion. No wonder you didn’t have  time to talk about how important they are to salmon, or wildlife, or rivers. Your considerable research skills were already consumed by the jaw-dropping discovery that beavers are “busy”.


Another difference between Iowa and Washington

Posted by heidi08 On September - 11 - 2014Comments Off

News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Neighbors Want Solution For Beaver Dam Flooding

Just up the creek from where the water is backing up is a beaver dam, possibly more than one. It’s just north of Interstate 80 near the Davenport Municipal Airport. A resident who lives nearby and is dealing with water on her family’s land took some pictures. The problem is that the dams aren’t on her property and it’s been a struggle to get something done.

 ”It’s been going on since April. We’ve had water up to our knees almost,” said Lindsay Andrews. She says last year there was barely any water in the creek at all. Now there seems to be a bit of a beaver problem.

 ”We’ve seen a couple of beavers. My mother in law seen one. We watched one swim upstream not too long ago,” said Andrews.

 Their dams are leaving stagnant water and a muddy mess in area her family mostly uses for recreation but on a regular basis.

 ”We used to do cookouts, can’t do that. Kids used to ride the trails, can’t do that,” she said, “the bugs are a big concern… Safety is a big concern with the kids.”

My god the horror. Our kids haven’t been outside in 5 months because we’re terrified of the westnile-virus mosquitoes or some such nonsense those rotten beavers have brought into our bright green fertilizer-ruined stream. I have only written about beavers in Iowa once before in 8 years of coverage so that means they aren’t even enough of an issue to hit the news cycle.  I’m honestly not hopeful for these beavers, but I dutifully posted my comment just in case some landowner wants to be in touch about options.

The only other comment is about how dynamite will fix things, so I ain’t hopeful.


A better use of our time is the youtube account of Ben Dittbrenner, who’s dissertation on beavers and climate change was mentioned a couple days ago in the news. He wrote back after my comment and said that he is thoroughly enjoying this part of his work, and his close contact with the beavers. He’s particularly struck by what a mollifying effect their adorable presence has on even the most hardened maintenance crew.

Of course Worth A Dam knows all about that. Remember the crane company that put in the sheetpile?

cooper craneYou should subscribe to Ben’s youtube account right away so you see the cool stuff he encounters during his project. I just wish data collection on MY dissertation looked like this!

Published on Sep 2, 2014

 This video is from our animal husbandry facility. Beavers are temporarily housed as part of the Skykomish Beaver Project. The goal of this research is to relocate nuisance beavers, which would otherwise be killed, into headwaters of the Skykomish River Basin to stimulate habitat improvement and climate change

Plot Thickener

Posted by heidi08 On September - 9 - 2014Comments Off

We haven’t heard much from Devon lately on the  great beaver trapping from DEFRA. If you’ll remember, a slew of citizens and farmers came to the meeting asking that they be allowed to remain.

DEFRA took this opportunity to blow off the meeting and pick up the traps instead. We heard they haven’t been too successful at catching any quarry, and it is  looking like the good guys were winning this round. At least by default.

I guess DEFRA thought it was time for this.

Don’t allow beavers to upset our freshwater ecosystem

 There seems to be a movement in this country to re-introduce species that have long been extinct, of which the beaver is one of many. These people will support their argument by declaring the beaver has only been extinct for 200-300 years. Not so. It became extinct in this country in the 12th century. As Derek Gow says they are great engineers building dams and constructing homes in rivers and streams from trees they have felled. Derek says they create wetlands. I do not think so. The likely outcome is more floods. Surely we have had enough floods in the last two years without additional problems caused by beavers.

 Do not upset the status quo – the freshwater habitat in this country is a fragile ecosystem. Much damage can be done by reintroducing an alien species which the beaver is.  We as humans do not have to feel guilty just because we were instrumental in the destruction of the beaver all those years ago. The world has moved on, so has our country and our rivers.

 The beaver should be considered an alien in this country just like the grey squirrel, coypus, mink and Japanese knotweed. The damage they can do is too great to take the chance.

 Those who put these animals in the River Otter should help the Environment Agency trap them – act now before it is too late.

Alien beavers! Thank goodness the West Morning news printed this ANONYMOUS letter before it was too late! I wonder who penned this thoughtful treatise? (Mr. George Eustice, don’t be so modest!) You should go read the whole thing because it contains a lovely passage from HBN Hynes which makes beaver restoration sound very heroic – and then argues ‘we can’t STAND this much repair in our rivers’! I especially like how it warns us of what’s to come and ends with the recognition that the government trappers have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and need assistance.

(The good news is that I see this morning another very popular badger cull is coming so they’ll have something else to keep them busy for a while.)

Your pro-beaver comment is needed now. I’m particularly of mine.


 And just so you know not all of Europe is ignorant of beavers, I got this from Duncan Haley this morning.Capture

 The Voronezhsky Biosphere Reserve is pleased to invite you to take part in 7-th International Beaver Symposium! The symposium will take place in Russia, Voronezh, September 14-17, 2015

Organizers of symposium:


Department of State Policy on Environmental Protection
Voronezh Region Government
Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming
Voronezhsky Biosphere Reserve

The seventh symposium! And before you start thinking this event is exactly as old as our beaver festival, it’s actually much older, since it’s held every two years. You might remember back when Skip Lisle was invited to the one in Lithuania and our beaver friend Alex Hiller met him there.

Can’t wait to see the lineup for this one!

This headline could be from the book of Genesis

Posted by heidi08 On September - 8 - 2014Comments Off

Hydrologist Andy Bryden (left) and wildlife biologists Molly Alves and Jason Schilling release two captive beavers into a lodge they built earlier on Forest Service land near Skykomish on Wednesday. A team with the Tulalip Tribes worked with state Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service to relocate six beavers found near Duvall.

Beavers brought here as part of an effort to improve ecosystems

SKYKOMISH — On a rainy Wednesday, a small team hiked into the woods near Skykomish hauling three heavy cages.Their destination: a creekside pile of cut branches and sticks. Their cargo: a family of six beavers.

The first cage was lined up with an opening in the pile of wood, which is actually a lodge built by the team the previous Friday. The cage was opened and the matriarch of the family, weighing 50 pounds, was gently encouraged into the lodge.

Once she waddled in, one of the team called out, “Mama went in,” and a small cheer went up.Mama beaver was followed by one of her young, then the cage was removed and the lodge entrance blocked to prevent the beavers from leaving while the next cage was lined up.Within 10 minutes, the entire family — mother, father, three subadults about one year old and one kit — was in the lodge, the entrance blocked with a log.

Beavers play an important role in maintaining stream health. Their dams help maintain a consistent base flow of water in streams so that it doesn’t all flow downhill in one springtime deluge, an important consideration in eastern Washington where many streams run dry in the summer.Beaver dams also retain sediment and help to reduce water temperatures in streams, making them healthier for salmon and other fish

Another beaver triumph for Washington state which is the beaver Mecca from which all wisdom flows. I am really happy to see our friend Ben Dittbrenner right at the center of it. He’s one of two folk who replaced Jake Jacobsen as watershed steward in Snohomish county. Jake was my very first beaver advisor, and Ben had lots of chances to learn from the master. He and Jake are both working with Mike Callahan on the adapted flow devices for fish passage. We first met Ben at the 2013 State of the Beaver conference when he joined us for a quick lunch before our talks.

Ben Dittbrenner is a Ph.D. candidate in forest ecology at the University of Washington working with the Tulalips on this project. Dittbrenner said this work will also help prove a theory in his dissertation.

“What we’re hoping to show is that the beavers can be used to reduce the effects of climate change,” Dittbrenner said.One of the major impacts expected from climate change in the Pacific Northwest is warmer water at higher elevations. That will lead to less snowpack, and therefore less water from snowmelt in streams in the summer, presenting risks to salmon and fish habitat.

Beaver activity resaturates the land, however. Stored water migrates downstream more slowly, and often through the water table, which keeps the temperature down.Beaver activity has also been shown to correlate with more stream meanders, more shady spots, and overall more diverse ecosystems, Dittbrenner said. In other studies, juvenile coho salmon were seen in higher numbers in streams with beavers.

“Beavers and coho go hand in hand, or foot and tail,” he said.

 Great work Ben and colleagues, and I can’t wait for the day when the work beavers do in smart cities that learn to live with them gets such a glowing article! And that, ladies and gentlemen is why Washington is the beaver beacon for the world.


California, on the other hand, has a LONG way to go. I got back some preliminary data from our statistical analysis of the spread sheets we did on the 254 depredation permits issued in the past 20 months. Apparently we have an “OUTLIER”.

Ya think?