There’s very encouraging news out of Alberta this morning, where Lorne Fitch is holding an all-day workhop on beaver management and benefits. He’s the provincial riparian expert at the extremely beaver-progressive Cows and Fish which has done so much for beaver education in the province.
A May 21 workshop will help educate landowners, municipal officials and anyone interested in the impacts of beavers on the surrounding area will be held May 21 at the Cremona Community Hall.
“Beavers bring challenges, but they also bring benefits,” said Finch. “The challenge is what is the balance between the two?”
The purpose of the workshop is to highlight the impact Canada’s national animal has on watersheds in the area surrounding Cremona, values beavers provide for the community and issues and challenges presented by beavers.
“It has become recognized by many ecologists that beavers are one of the tools that help us adapt to climate change,” said Finch. “We recognize that climate is changing, it’s becoming more variable and uncertain. In some cases the climate manifested as weather events (that are) quite violent.”
Finch said beavers have helped maintain safety for communities whether there is a drought or a flood. In the case of a flood beaver dams help moderate or dampen flood flows, while during a drought they naturally help store water and controls the effects of low stream flow conditions.
One of the key segments that will be offered during the workshop offers insight to better understand beaver ecology.
A whole day of beaver education? Don’t you want to be there? Cows and Fish has made a name for itself by straight talking right to the ranchers themselves. They have done amazing job making the smart beaver research done by Dr. Hood and others available at the hands-on level. They have a great relationship with the media and they know how to use it well, and are firmly committed to letting beaver do their restoration all over the province. This video introduces there long-term restoration goals, and is nicely done. (Even if it DOES sport a famous muskrat photo….sheesh.)
It’s hard to understand how such a significant beaver IQ could plummet so dramatically if the boundary is crossed into the next province over, Saskatchewan. 850 miles from the Cremona, the even less populated untown of Kellross is doing everything it can to get rid of beavers. (Everything it can without actually learning, I mean.)
Provincially, beaver numbers are up as well. The beaver control program is an initiative of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, with help from the province.
In 2014, a total of 37,645 beaver tails were turned in — a significant jump (about 56 per cent) from the 27,653 beaver tails submitted in 2013.
Despite the aggravation they cause, Patterson still has a grudging admiration for the engineering feats, and stick-to-it attitude, of the beaver.
“They are good workers,” he admitted. “They’re hard workers that’s for sure. They don’t give up.”
For reference, the province is about 3 times the size of Texas. They are so notorious for beaver slaying that they were in the canadian version of Jari Osborne’s documentary. And I first wrote about them on this website in 2011 when I was prompted to create the famous ‘exploding beaver’ graphic.
The province has 22,921 square miles of water which means they killed 1.6 beaver per mile. Considering that the numbers of beavers went UP every year you’d think they start to consider that maybe this technique wasn’t working. Instead of just doing it more, they could actually do something different? With population rebound being what it is this might not be the smartest idea.
Apparently there’s no danger of any thinking going on anytime soon. Guess what the numbers will be next year?
Yesterday I spent some time working on the handout for children participating in the Keystone Project at the beaver festival. They will each get a laminated copy to use and hopefully return it to me and take part in the survey we need to use for our grant. I tried to make it fairly simple and straightforward. What do you think?