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

I’m OK you’re not OK – lahoma…..

Posted by heidi08 On January - 26 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

I think saving beavers is a hard work. But there are two things that are harder, and I constantly thank my lucky stars that I escaped their fates.

1) saving coyotes.

2) saving beavers in Oklahoma.

Our beaver friend in Tulsa the Skunk Whisperer wanted to donate his services to install a flow device after he saw Mike’s DVD and he still couldn’t find a single land owner willing to live with the beavers for free. In the entire state. A state that has had more droughts than it has vowels, no less. If it please the court, I offer this mornings article as supporting evidence.

Beaver problems in pond dams

Dam problems can turn into big problems.

Capture1“The typical Oklahoma farm pond dam was built with too narrow of a top and is too steep sided,” said Marley Beem, Oklahoma State Univesrity Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist. “Such ponds are at high risk of failing when animals burrow into the dam.”

 Beaver can cause great amounts of damage by excavating bank burrows, causing internal erosion and threatening the structural integrity.

 Capture “Pondowners need to keep a watchful eye out for beaver activity so they can catch any damage early or prevent it,” said OSU Cooperative Extension Wildlife Specialist, Dwayne Elmore. “

 “First, I would recommend calling USDA Wildlife Services to see if they might be able to send out a trapper.” Elmore said. “Beaver are not too difficult to trap if you have a little experience. But, if you miss them in a trap, they are very tough to get, so you need to get them on the firsttry.”

 If Wildlife Services cannot help, pond owners can take matters into their own hands by trapping or night shooting.

 “I advise shooting, as the only legal trap a private landowner can use is a leg hold trap in a drowning set, which is a little tricky,” he said. “Night shooting works well but you will need to call the county Conservation Officer and/or sheriff to let them know what you are doing.”

 Using a shotgun is preferred and is much safer when shooting at water. Once the pest has been eradicated, repairs to the pond dam can commence.

This remarkable advice has been recorded in the local paper and passed on to all concerned farmers. I’m sure most of them are already waiting at the FEMA office to get in line early for their next drought assistance. Both of these sage professors are from the Natural Resources and Ecology Management Department at Oklahoma State University. No, really. I think the word ‘ecology’ might have a different meaning there.

It must mean ‘use a shotgun’.

That being said, one thing that surprises me is that, as little as OK knows about beaver,  they still know better to allow cows access to ponds in Oklahoma while we still bravely do it in our East Bay Regional Parks!

It must be almost February, because there’s a report this morning about a beaver on the highway in Vancouver. Ahh disperser season! An officer escorted him off the highway and into a park. Which I think is my very favorite job for the police.

Beaver blocks traffic in West Vancouver

Traffic at one West Vancouver intersection ground to a halt on Monday morning after a slow moving beaver decided to cross the road.

Drive safely!

Nativity Parade in UK?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 19 - 2015Comments Off

Beavers may get UK citizenship

BEAVERS could be declared a native British animal — for the first time in 400 years — after scientists found that at least three populations have become established in rivers from Scotland to Devon.

 The biggest group of 150 animals live on the Tay, where, as in the River Otter in Devon, they have become a tourist attraction. Both are thought to have been illegal reintroductions.  Another population is also growing at Knapdale in Scotland — the only one based on licensed releases.

The government had planned to classify beavers as non-natives under the Infrastructure Bill. This would have made future unlicensed releases illegal and prevented beavers from gaining protection in areas where they have become established.

Now Defra, the environment ministry, has said it will consider declaring them natives, subject to a study being carried out on the Knapdale population’s integration with other land uses.

What? DEFRA might call beavers native? After all of England spent centuries of extinction following centuries of economic harassment, it might at last recognize their rightful place? Be still my heart!

Oh right, it already is.

Wait, are beavers native to the United Kingdom. This is from the Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century AD. The illuminated manuscript descended from the Royal Library of Henry the VIII to the university on the east highlands of Scotland.

CaptureDe castore. Est animal quod dicitur castor mansuetum nimis, cuius testiculi medicine sunt aptissimi, de quo dicit Phisiologus, quia cum vena torem se insequentem cog novit, morsu testiculos sibi abscidit, et in faciem vena toris eos proicit et sic fugiens  evadit.

Of the beaver There is an animal called the beaver, which is extremely gentle; its testicles are highly suitable for medicine. Physiologus says of it that, when it knows that a hunter is pursuing it, it bites off its testicles and throws them in the hunter’s face and, taking flight, escapes.

Laying aside the obvious impossibility of this fanciful account, (Given the fondness males of any species seem to feel for their testicles) we can at least establish that the United Kingdom once had access to beavers, because they were, in fact, native, and if something WAS native, that means it IS native, and you dam well know it, so stop trying to pretend like it’s a big decision or that you’re being generous by calling it native. It’s as native as humans are on British soil, or more so I’d wager if we were looking at the fossil record.

So there.

CaptureFur- Bearer Defender’s Interview with Michael Runtz, author and photographer of Dam Builders.

Even Steven with Beaver Stories

Posted by heidi08 On January - 12 - 2015Comments Off

Two steps forward, two steps back. I don’t think we’re moving at all. But I guess good news takes a ton more work to get published, so it matters more. We should be content to see the positive paired with a couple stinkers. Especially in January. Let’s be good stoics and save the good news for last. Before the sugar we need two spoonfuls of bitter beaver ignorance from Massachusetts.

City gets approval to trap beavers causing flooding in South Lowell

LOWELL — A bucktoothed menace reared its furry head in South Lowell last spring, turning Charles Tamulonis’ backyard into a mosquito-infested swamp.

“There’s always this thing about ‘save the beavers,’” Tamulonis said. “But it’s the greatest nuisance in the world depending on where you live.”

 Soon after the dam appeared, he began writing to every city official he could think of. For almost a month, nothing happened,

 But eventually he spoke with Ralph Snow, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and the city embarked on the arduous task of securing the proper permitting to breach a dam and trap the beavers — not to mention actually taking on the dam itself.

 It took more than five months for the city to secure the proper approval. During that time, a trapper caught 12 beavers behind Tamulonis’ property, some of the weighing more than 50 pounds.

 You asked public works last? I would have asked them first. They are notorious for hating beavers! Lessons learned I guess. So you killed a dozen beavers. 2 parents, 5 yearlings and 5 kits. Now the water won’t drip into your basement any more. Never mind that Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions is 100 miles away, and could have fixed this problem for the long term. Never mind that he just emailed that he gave a TALK last year to the Lowell Conservation Commission. You wanted those 12 beavers dead, and now they are.

Je Suis Castor?

(Mike just added that 12 beavers would be HIGHLY unusual for an urban setting. 5-6 is more common.  Sometimes trappers lie to inflate their fees. Which is pretty comforting, but I still need to post this:)

On to the next lie:

 Towns to discuss mosquito control budget

 The Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project also runs a program to breach beaver dams, which cause rivers and streams to become stagnant and attract mosquitoes.

 “Those impede water flow,” said Oram.

 The $2 million budget, which is a 2.1 percent increase over the $1.9 million fiscal 2015 budget, includes a $20,000 increase for pesticides, garden tools and supplies, $10,000 more for spraying equipment upgrades and $70,000 more in salary increases.

 Obviously they need more money. It’s hard work thinking up lies that good! And all those mosquitoes won’t kill themselves! I suppose if Northboro is good for the money they should ask for the moon and see what happens. It’s not like anyone will point out that if more fish and invertebrates are found in beaver ponds, they’ll be lots more trying to eat that larvae. Why worry your pretty head about details like that?

Bring us some good news. I’ve had my fill of liars and murderers this morning. Okay, how about this from New Hampshire?

Beavers help environment, but conflicts with humans can arise

Moose and deer, wood frogs and salamanders, mergansers and great blue herons, otters and weasels – all thrive in the habitats created by beavers.

“I think of them as great little wildlife managers,” said Dave Anderson, a naturalist and director of education at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Beaver is a “keystone species,” Anderson said. “If we were to eliminate their activity, we’d lose wetlands that are critical habitats.”

 Anderson, who also co-writes the “Forest Journal” column in the New Hampshire Sunday News, said killing all the animals in an area isn’t a long-term solution to beaver problems.

 ”You can’t trap them out of existence,” he said. “If you make a gap and the habitat’s suitable, there will be (other) beavers moving in.”

How much do you love Dave right now? Hurray for beaver wisdom in New Hamshire! Dave is also a forest columnist for the New Hamshire journal, so he has a great platform to preach the beaver gospel. But he needs to be a little less passive with his solutions for land-owners I think:

 As long as a well or septic system isn’t threatened, homeowners can just wait out the beavers, Tate said. Once they exhaust the available food supply, they’ll move somewhere else, and new ones won’t move in for another seven years or so.

 Well, I think I will write Dave about fast-acting solutions that will let land owners cooperate with beavers. In the meantime thank you SO MUCH for your great promotional efforts! I think this is probably the VERY BEST article we have had on beavers from the state.

Let’s conclude with some very cheerful beaver reporting from Kent England. I can’t embed the video but if you click on the photo it will take you to where you can watch three minutes of the delightful story unfolding Enjoy!

Capture

 Beaver Colony Flourishes in Kent

What will we do with the other four hours?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 8 - 2015Comments Off

American Beaver Special for 20 Hours Straight

American Beaver Airs from 7 a.m. Monday,
Feb. 2, 2015, to 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan. 7, 2015) The groundhog is a big player on its big day, appearing for a few seconds on Groundhog Day to tell us how long winter will last, then disappearing for an entire year. Now Nat Geo WILD gives another member of the rodent family its due, dedicating an entire day to the American Beaver. In the grand tradition of Bill Murray’s classic holiday movie Groundhog Day, Nat Geo WILD will replay its American Beaver special for 20 hours straight, airing from 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, to 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3. (For more information, visit natgeowild.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NGC_PR.)

Just 20 hours? How will we occupy ourselves the other four? Oh, right. Follow that link on the left margin and watch Jari Osborn’s PBS documentary.

Twice.

It’s nice to see someone celebrating beaver. They certainly deserve it. And besides, we just found out that National Geographic has NEVER had a beaver on its cover. Ever. So they’re certainly due. If you’ve never seen “American Beaver” you’re in for treat. Here’s a glimpse but you can watch more snippets here:

You just know that they saw the PBS  documentary and the NYTimes article and the AP article and thought, hmm how can we ride on these successful coattails?coatWell all I can say is it’s about time. Now if they would only cover this next  kind of story. Too bad they don’t mean the OTHER kind of beaver bounty.

Increase in bounty brings more beavers

FOREST CITY, IA – More beaver tails have arrived at the Winnebago County Auditor’s Office the past several weeks since the county raised its bounty on beavers.  Deputy auditor Kris Wempen said the county has paid about $600 in bounty since the bounty was raised to $50 on Oct. 28.

Beavers on the radio

Posted by heidi08 On January - 7 - 20152 COMMENTS

CaptureThis is half of a great interview from CBC and half an ad campaign for the trapping industry. The best part is with Michael Runtz, who’s book is coming out any minute. The whole thing is an interesting study on the unlevel playing fields between people who know what they’re talking about and people who make stuff up with regards to beavers. Here’s B.S. central:

“If we could find a way to keep beaver away from those roads, we wouldn’t have to destroy them. But there’s no way they have found that they can do that yet,” said Barnes.

 My posted comment

 ”If they could find a way?”

The ways of coexisting with beaver are known and documented, and expert Glynnis Hood located in his own province can install them. That makes as much sense as saying “If there were some way to look up for sure how to spell a word correctly, I would do it.

 Anyone smarter than a beaver knows how and why to live with them.

Beavers impact on forest and industry ‘dam’ complicated

Balancing the impact of beavers and their dams on the ecosystem and industry is a complicated process, according to a retired Lakehead University biologist.

The comments from Don Barnes come after an Alberta mining company was fined $1,500 for destroying a dam near Savant Lake in northwestern Ontario.

‘It creates water’

 ”It creates water, where there wasn’t water before so ducks get in there, muskrats. And all those dead trees that are flooded, they become homes for the woodpecker and pine marten,” said Barnes

michael-runtzMichael Runtz said the beaver pools are also vital to the health of moose.

Runtz is a wildlife photographer and lecturer at Carleton University.

His latest book, ‘Dam Builders: A Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds’, will be published in Feb. 2015.

 Runtz said the edges of beaver ponds are the preferred habitat for many sodium-rich plants.

 He said moose are particularly drawn to these salty treats.

 Michael Runtz has written, and provided the photographs for the new book “Dam Builders: The Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds.” It will be available on Feb. 1, 2015. (Carleton University)

 ”And I dare say, if we didn’t have beavers and beaver ponds in the boreal forest, we’d have a paucity of moose. Moose get most of their sodium from plants growing in beaver ponds.”

This is Michael’s book which Amazon assures me is coming out ANY DAY NOW. He is a good friend of Donna DuBreuil of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, and we’ve corresponded in the past. It makes me insane that this article didn’t talk to a single person who knows how to solve the problems beaver cause. It makes me insane that Michael didn’t say it himself or that if he said it they edited it out.

But I am very picky about this subject, and I guess having the discussion is dimly better than not having it.

In case you missed it last night, Leonard Houston gave a great beaver interview on KMUD’s Environment Show with Kelly Lincoln. I thought her questions were remarkably water-astute and realized she must have some Brock-Dolman based permaculture training in her recent past. She’s interviewing Kate Lundquist next week.

Oh and there was a special surprise caller you may recognize.

leonard

“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Posted by heidi08 On January - 3 - 2015Comments Off

 Chelan utility steps up beaver-erradication effort

 WENATCHEE — The Chelan County Public Utility District wants to get rid of pesky beavers destroying newly planted trees and shrubs in Entiat Park and shoreline vegetation in Walla Walla Point, Confluence and Riverfront parks.

 #So, the utility is expanding its contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to trap, remove and destroy beavers.

 ”The trapping will cease when the vegetation destruction stops,” the statement said.

How far the mighty have fallen. Wenatchee is in the very middle of Washington state, one county over from Snohomish which has had the best beaver management for 20 years. But Wenatchee just paid to plant trees in the park and can’t think of a single thing to do except kill those dam tree-chewers once and for all.  Well once anyway. New beavers will be back in the area soon, and they’ll have to wash rinse and repeat.  Never mind that they’re an hour north of Yakima and two hours south of Methow, the only option is killing.

“At this time of year, the only alternative is to remove and eliminate the beaver, since relocation wouldn’t be viable during the winter because the beaver would be unable to rebuild their dens,” a written statement released by the utility last week said. “If the beaver remain a problem in the spring, the PUD will work with Okanogan County officials to relocate the beaver in an area where their dam-building could be a beneficial erosion control method in fire-destroyed areas.”

meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I’m sure it may be so in Washington.
Hamlet I:V

And there you have it, ladies and gentleman. What it looks like when people who know better lie through their smiling lips. We can’t possibly MOVE the beavers because they might starve and freeze in the cold winter. Much kinder to crush them to death now, when their warm and well fed. And no we can’t possibly protect the trees any other way. Why do you ask?

tree_wrapGood news from Jon who saw our own truant beavers building the secondary dam this morning at 5 am. Rusty caught this in Napa a couple days ago. Keep your eye on the bottom third of the video.

Last but not least, a stunning photo from our beaver friend Ann Siegal who has been similarly beaver-deprived in the long winter. I guess three great blue herons will do in a pinch.

ann blue hernons

Juvenile Great Blue Heron flies while siblings watch.
Ann Cameron Siegal

Balking at Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On January - 2 - 2015Comments Off

Well it turns out 2015 looks a lot like 2014. At least for beavers. There familiar whinging from the UK this morning about the risk of letting the animals vandalize the waterways after 500 years of peace.

 Farmers’ fears as beavers make a comeback across the British countryside

 Wildlife groups back the return of the aquatic mammals, which manage the landscape by cutting down trees and damming rivers, for the benefit they can provide in preventing flooding, maintaining water quality and boosting other wildlife.

 But farmers and anglers have raised concerns that they can damage the landscape and fish migration routes, and conservation efforts should be focused on the UK’s existing wildlife.

 Despite the concerns it appears that the beaver, which was hunted to extinction by the 16th century, could once again become a permanent feature of waterways in England, Scotland and Wales, as they have across Europe.

 “Much of the rest of Europe lives alongside this species and benefits from them as par-excellence water engineers, helping water quality and in some cases flood alleviation. We think they have a role to play in the modern countryside.”

 But National Farmers’ Union countryside adviser Claire Robinson said: “We believe efforts, and finances, would be better focused on retaining current biodiversity.

 “We are against the reintroduction of European beavers to the countryside because they could potentially cause long-term economic and physical impacts on the English landscape, including flood risk or, crucially, potential for disease transmission.

 She added that the current legal framework was not robust enough to allow effective management of beavers in the landscape, and warned there were too many issues that needed to be addressed before reintroduction could be considered.

 Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said Britain’s river systems had changed dramatically since beavers died out, and suffered from endemic pollution, over-abstraction of water and more than 20,000 dams which act as barriers to fish migration.

 “Fewer than 25% of England and Wales’ rivers are in good ecological condition and the Angling Trust’s view is that it would be irresponsible even to consider reintroducing this species into the wild without first restoring our rivers to good health by tackling low flows, pollution and removing the vast majority of man-made barriers to fish migration,” he said.

 That’s right, first fix ALL our rivers, take out every obstacle and improve each drop of water quality and then we’ll talk about beaver reintroduction. It’s a perfect delay tactic, not only because it will never happen, but also because even if it does happen. once all the rivers are fixed, England won’t NEED beavers and the primary argument for their restoration potential will be moot. In the mean time,beavers could spread disease! Let’s worry about that!

(And kill cows.)

Last night was the seventh (?) annual Worth A Dam Ravioli feed, and the guests were cheerful, determined and triumphant. Jon’s hardworking chef techniques kept everyone amazed and we welcomed some new faces to our stalwart regulars. Riley said that the waterboard talk had been game changing, and she wanted to work to arrange one for Fish and Game. (!) FRO boldly accepted the canvas to prepare for this years art project, and Cheryl made amazing wildlife cards from her photos that should become our marketing idea this year. Deidre talked about arranging another guided train tour to the festival, and we mulled the idea of even coming from another direction. After it was all over. I heard from one guest the very best rumor that I have heard in the history of beavers, but I’ll keep it to myself until it substantiates.

Lets just say that the evening was a grand success.

Ravioli 2015