Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Mourning Moon

Posted by heidi08 On November - 26 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Nice article in the Gazette about the mural project and I’m hopeful that will help push it forward. Technically we didn’t get any kind of actual approval, but a little positive press can’t hurt our odds.

Beaver mural gains approval

A mural dedicated to Martinez’s creek, nature, and beavers is coming to fruition. Heidi Perryman of Worth-a-Dam proposed a mural to be created on cement surface of one of the bridges that crosses Alhambra Creek on Marina Vista Boulevard at a recent Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission (PRMCC) meeting.

The bridge located between both dams would host the mural on the street side surface, facing north towards Amtrak. Perryman hopes that the mural “will help people remember their valuable role in Martinez history.”

Mario Alfaro, the muralist who worked on Main Street Bridges of John Muir and Joe DiMaggio, has been in contact with Perryman. His cost would be around $6,000 total, which Perryman proposed be split between the City of Martinez and Worth a Dam evenly.

“We want to remind people of the living creek that runs right through the heart of Martinez, and that we can work together to solve problems,” said Perryman to the Commission.

Perryman mentioned that it is still unknown what caused the death of many Beavers earlier this year.

The odd thing I read last night, as the beaver moon was rising over the trees, was that it is also called “The Mourning Moon” – being a time to take stock of losses over the year, mourn them, and let things go.

When the ‘mourning moon’ rises, let things go

(CNN)A full moon in November, the last before the winter solstice, has different names and traditions, but they all carry a meaning that signals a time for a change.

Depending on the culture or heritage, the full moon in November has been called “snow moon,” “fog moon” and “moon of storms” — but “mourning moon” and “beaver moon” are the most widely recognized.

In pagan traditions, the rise of the “mourning moon” symbolizes a time to reflect on the year and make personal changes by letting go of the past. If there is a bad habit, fears or emotions that are weighing you down, send them off as the moon rises Wednesday evening.

And I thought, I guess that makes it for us a “beaver mourning” moon. Makes sense to me.



21 beavers shot in Scotland

Posted by heidi08 On November - 25 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

This story is so upsetting. Two days ago I saw a comment on a scottish facebook page saying that farmers were shooting beavers. I wrote Paul Ramsay to find out what I could. He quickly wrote back that there had been several incidents and one farmer in particular bragging that he had “Shot 10”.

They were uncertain whether to go to the papers or not, because they feared a negative story could promote a backlash, resulting in more beavers dying..

Looks like the cats outta the bodybag.

Farmers shooting invading Tayside beavers

But it has now emerged that the bodies of 21 beavers have been discovered with gunshot wounds since the end of 2012.

Farmers and other landowners are suspected of being responsible for the slaughter and have been urged by conservationists 

to adopt non-lethal methods to control the species.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has examined the bodies of 23 beavers in the Tayside area and concluded that two died in road accide

nts and the rest were shot dead.

At present, a licence is not needed to shoot beavers as they have no legal protection in the UK. However, possessing and moving a dead beaver is not legal without a licence.

Why on earth should we be surprised at this story? Just because beavers were extinct for 400 years, and scraped their way back from the bistory pile, doesn’t mean a farmer won’t shoot them now. I mean, they happily shoot rabbits, foxes, and badgers. So why wouldn’t they shoot beavers?

The very slanted article is the best answer I could have thought of to Paul’s question. No matter how responsibly you sit on the story and consider your cautions, its going to break soon enough anyway.

Better to make sure you’re in front of it.

Beaver Moon.

Tonight is a full beaver moon. So when you’re looking up  in ghostly wibderm think of our Scottish friends.

KOLO stealKOLO is sorry for their rape and pillage of Cheryl’s photo and now that the story has aired and they have finished making use of their plunder, they inform me they will take it down.

Thank you for your email and bringing to our attention the uncredited beaver photo that was used as part of KOLO’s newscast last week. We apologize for any confusion and we have deleted the picture from our production file. Again, thank you for your email and we appreciate your viewership.

Scott Magruder
KOLO 8 News Now
Assignment Editor/Web Producer

Thank you so much Scott, for your kind apology for the “CONFUSION”. Copyright law is so confusing, how could you possibly know that a beautiful photo you find on the web is not yours to use in your for profit newscast. I’m sure you don’t have access to lawyers or legal advice yourself. And its mighty white of you to offer to close the barn door now that the horses are gone. Thanks.


Beavers Are Gnawing Problem for Michigan Co-op

Beaver-Damage-21A Michigan co-op had to gnaw on this problem: Beavers knocked out power to a distribution line in advance of fast-approaching winter weather along the Betsie River in northwestern Michigan.

“We had a fairly small outage, but when line crews showed up to make repairs they found that beavers had toppled a tree into one of our lines,” said Rachel Johnson, member services manager for Cherryland Electric Cooperative, based in Grawn.

More than a half-dozen birch trees, including some nearly three feet in diameter, had been felled not far from the co-op’s right of way on Nov. 19. Several others also showed telltale hourglass-shaped gnawing characteristic of beaver damage.

Hmm, okay. This sounds like a beaver problem, hourglass is telltale beaver chewing. But wait there’s more.

Some of the trees were stripped of their bark, something beavers do in late autumn as they store away bark as winter food.

Stripping trees of their bark? In late autumn? To store for food? Just the bark?

Well, I’m not the world’s expert on every single thing that beavers possibly do, and I only lived with them for 9 years, but I have NEVER seen them strip bark from a tree. And store it. How would they store this bark? I mean they couldn’t anchor it like branches in their food cache because bark is so light it would float away. Are you suggesting they have a pantry?

I’ve seen them CHEW trees, and bite off branches which they can then strip the bark from to eat. But I’ve never seen them chew bark off a standing tree, and could not find any information about this fanciful occurrence.  There are many reports about squirrels chewing bark, rabbits, porcupines and even a few horses. Bears scratch off bark, and deer and rub it off when they’re trying to remove antlers.

But not beavers.

I’m not sure if this confusion is from the Co-op, the reporter or both. But they apparently mean well which is not what always happens in Michigan.

Co-op employees made no effort to remove them or disturb their lodge sites beyond the pine trees near the river’s edge, said Johnson. “We’re hoping we can all live together in peace and harmony with the beavers.”


Beaver, Urban Settings & You (B.U.S.Y.)

Posted by heidi08 On November - 19 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver, Urban Settings & You (B.U.S.Y.)

BUSYYesterday was the first official conference call for the urban beaver chapter of Pollock’s next restoration guide. While I was eagerly waiting for the call I made this very fun graphic and fielded dates for the followup meeting of the art committee of the PRMCC. Then I met my coauthors, Greg Lewallen and Kaegan Scully Engelmeyer. Greg is a Master’s of Environmental Management student at Portland college one of the four authors of the initial guidebook. Kaegen is the Urban Land steward for The Wetlands Conservation, which is partially funding the paper.

I should have known the conversation was going to be  weirdly ideal when it started out with an alarmed discussion of two beavers that were mysteriously killed on conservancy land, and how upsetting and confusing it was. It would be Kaegen’s job that day to go find out what he could, and we discussed bringing our kits for necropsy at UCDavis and whether there was an equivalent facility in Portland.

As the conversation proceeded, I found out what was expected of our 20 page segment and when the important deadlines were coming. We went over a rough timeline and I mentally marked those places where I would disagree or have something to add. I didn’t say them aloud of course because my coauthors were so new to me I wanted to get a read on them before I leaped into the fray. I always struggle with myself to sound science-y and not too beaver-huggy, even when I’m conferring with people I regard as friends. I needn’t have bothered. Every single contribution I offered was listened to and regarded as important.

I was regarded as important.

The work we had done in Martinez, all nine grueling years of it, was regarded as groundbreaking. All the ways we had focused public support and educated about beavers. I was an expert – THE expert – on urban beavers. If I had been anyone else I’m sure I would have been suffused with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Instead I felt like this:

falling_grand_piano_cd_cover_by_kvirtanen[1] Jon had zero idea how to reassure me afterwards, because he was enormously excited and thought I should be. I tried to explain that I had cultivated my beaver acumen entirely in opposition. Raiding information stores and firing blasts of information at slow-moving establishment tanks like a rebel on the run. It’s a vast, vast understatement to say I’m unused to being a welcomed voice among brilliant beaver colleagues.

By the end of the two hour conversation, I had signed up for the introduction and lit review, the segment on outreach and education, and the segment on beaver challenges, and obviously any beaver photos that might be needed. We are supposed to have a rough version by the first of the year. We set up another call and they wondered what financial arrangement I would need to be willing to come to Portland next year to present our work in person because there would be so much interest in the work we had done.

So I guess it was a good day for urban beavers.


Beaver Mural in Martinez?

Posted by heidi08 On November - 18 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver Mural in Martinez?

Last nights presentation at PRMCC was very cheerfully received and recommended for committee. The art review will make a recommendation then to City Council, and address any concerns or funding issues. I like all of these most responsible participants, and they were gracious and informed. One member asked if we knew anything more on the fate of the beavers.


Right at the end of the presentation Mario walked in the door complete with a mini mural for display, which he brought up to share with the committee  to oohs and ahhs. I love the brightness, the flow device, the children and the beavers. We’ll do some tweaking with the rest. But imagine how well this was received.

Tbeaver closehe very best part about last nights meeting was the coordinator clarifying the location and saying “oh I thought you meant the Martinez-Benicia bridge”

Hahahaha, I told her I planned to start smaller, but someday, someday.

workNo wait, I lied. The VERY best part of the meeting was when I saw this. I didn’t notice it until we were back at the house. In case you don’t recognize it this is the same kit Mario was forced to paint over originally. When I pointed this out, Mario beamed and said “He’s Back!”

littlemural 002

Beaver drama: highs and lows

Posted by heidi08 On November - 17 - 20151 COMMENT

movieThis came from Oliver yesterday.
“We are having problems with our filming permits in California, which is the reason for our hold up in Martinez and Napa. Currently budgetary issues are delaying us from paying the short term fix the media board are claiming from us but we will continue on a longer time frame, hopefully making it more feasible in future.

Which is really too bad, but honestly a bit of a relief because things are insanely busy around here at the moment. Tonight I’m presenting to the PRMCC about the proposal for a beaver mural on the concrete bridge between the two dams and lots is happening with the urban beaver paper.Capture

Mario Alfaro, the muralist who did the main street bridges with the ‘unauthorized’ beaver that was forced to be covered up, would be doing the work, and I would like the city to pay for half. I want people to see every day how the beavers  helped the creek and impacted the city. We’ll see how step 1 goes of this process and I’ll keep you posted. I’m calling it ‘The bridge to nature’ and this is the mock up I sent to the city.

Bridge to Nature

I would be delighted if even a symbolic beaver dam was a permanent fixture across this creek, but we’ll see what happens. I want to make it virtually impossible for the city to kill them if they come back. If you want to read the the proposal its here:

Now there are two exciting news stories, one from Oregon where we’ll begin.

Leave it to beavers

Simpson said she and volunteer Jayne Goodwin captured four adults and one kit over a two-month span in August and September. Simpson said she believes the 56-pound male and 61-pound female captured are a mated pair, and that the 45-pound male, 47-pound female and 15-pound female kit are offspring from the pair.

Simpson noted that beavers mate for life, and relocating a family group together significantly increases each beaver’s chance of success.

Beavers are important watershed enhancement species because their dams raise the water table, which then increases streamflow in dry seasons and keeps soil saturated longer, Simpson pointed out.

“When they build a dam, they create this big beautiful pond; they are slowing down the runoff in the system at peak flow periods, allowing more water to saturate into the ground and to raise the water table,” Simpson said.

Much of Jack Creek is dry in late summer and KWP volunteers hope reintroducing beavers will extend the creek’s wet period. “Where there’s more water, there’s better fish habitat, better habitat for waterfowl and for pretty much everything associated with an aquatic system,” Simpson said.

I normally don’t have a huge appetite for charming stories about people who see beavers as a problem to MOVE somewhere else before they then appreciate their good work. But I’m starting to recognize that every single article like this will let folks read about beaver benefits and help saturate the dry places of our castor awareness. I’m especially fond of this article because it demonstrates beaver intelligence just 25 miles over the California border.

Surely some of that’s got to rub off, right? This lovely piece is from Ontario:

What would you put in a beaver management toolkit?

The Central Algoma Freshwater Coalition (CAFC) is seeking public consultation into the development of a Beaver Management Toolkit for the Central Algoma Region.
Phase one of the processes is to establish baseline conditions and determine current issues related to beaver management. Deadline for your input into phase one is December 18, 2015.

Once the local issues and practices have been determined the coalition will research best practices and legislation to create a toolkit that will serve as both a resource and guide into beaver management throughout the region.

Interested parties can learn more about the consultation and complete the online survey by visiting

How cool is THAT? Can you imagine Martinez asking residents to comment about what the beaver management plan should be for the city? No, you can not. In 2007 they tripled their police presence just to KEEP us from commenting! I already filled mine out, but you should too. I wish I got to advise the beaver management plan for every city in the hemisphere. But something tells me that’s grandiose.

Unfortunately, its the Algoma in Ontario, not in Wisconsin who really really needs our advice. But it’s a start, right?mural

Plant it, and they will come?

Posted by heidi08 On November - 15 - 2015Comments Off on Plant it, and they will come?

waterboardsOnce upon a time, lo these many months ago, the SF waterboard decided to help Martinez with some tree planting for beavers. It invited me out to present in December and got so inspired about beavers it decided to share its Watershed Stewards Program Interns from Americorp to help.

(Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.)

LoadedSo Corie and Rebecca came out for a meeting with Worth A Dam and the city engineer, then obtained a permit to take willow cuttings from wildcat canyon, then came to Martinez for a day of planting. Cheryl, Lory and Jon showed up for a day of hard work at the end of March. Is this ringing any bells?

So they spent a day planting and Jon spent the evening wrapping trees and the beavewillowrs gazed wistfully at the forbidden fruit like children eyeing their presents under the tree, and life was good. The planting was even on channel 7 news.

Then guess what? Funny story. (Not really).

Public works got a divine inspiration (or a phone call from you-know-who) and ripped every planted stake out. They piled them to one side by the road. Jon just happened to notice as he drove by.  I called the engineer in a panic to ask WTF and he called the foot soldiers who had done the dirty work and by evening these poor stakes were all back in the ground. No kidding. Shades of Alice in Wonderland painting the roses red.  Some of the trees were upside down, some barely planted, all looking the worse for wear.

It suppose it goes without saying that they all died.

IMG_0441Well, the SF Waterboard was not very happy with that. And our good friend Ann Riley swore that we would REPEAT the planting next year, this time before thanksgiving, when they’d get more water, using the help of their next intern. And these trees had better not get pulled up.

But in the meantime our beavers died or scattered to the four winds and the city launched its grand bank destabilization project, which Riley was super not happy about either, so she negotiated with the engineer that our replanting should happen exactly there, where they had pulled out all the other living things.

Riley & Cory plan the attack!

Riley & Cory plan the attack!

The new intern’s name is Brenden Martin. And he and Riley are coming friday with some helpers to replant. This time they are going to use willow cuttings from here. Meanwhile, oddly enough the film crew from Middlechild productions will be out from the UK and filming it for the part of their documentary about how cities can live with beavers. Then heading to Napa to follow up with some beaver footage.

Rusty Cohn has boldly volunteered to come help Jon and Lory with the effort, and Ron will kindly take some photos for us. Oliver Smith, the assistant producer i’ve been chatting with, is probably interviewing Lara or Mark as well as interviewing me that day. The crew  arrives SFO tueday night and supposedly the gang is staying at the John Muir Lodge.

Honestly, two months ago I was feeling like if we didn’t have beavers we should cancel the planting and let the city be responsible for their own damn trees. But Jon persuaded me to be patient and now I feel differently.  Besides it’s working out well for Urban Beavers everywhere, and that makes me happy. I ask myself, if I were a beaver living in exile and saw a bunch of tasty morsels planted in my absence, wouldn’t I think about  coming home?

I certainly would.

beaver kit eats breakfast

beaver kit eats breakfast: Cheryl Reynolds