Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Beavers go Big

Posted by heidi08 On May - 25 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Hey it’s a long drive to Portland from Martinez, who knew? It rained a little all the way up but don’t worry, it took 610 miles but we finally found the traffic! All of a sudden we were surrounded by millions of very hydrated and creative automobiles interrupted by sites like this.

We had a noisy night in Grants Pass and we’re thrilled to stumble into our snug guest house  in SE Portland, where raspberry canes and fresh snow peas were growing right outside our door!


Today it’s sightseeing, coffee and maybe a little pok pok before we head to the Ballroom tonight for the big event. I can see I’ve left you in enormously capable hands as Rusty did a fantastic and polished job yesterday. Keep an eye on those Napa beavers! And I heard news that Mario painted a third beaver on the bridge but no one’s sent me a photo so I’m feeling very deprived. Hopefully a remedy is forthcoming!

portland flyer

Wish me luck tonight. It’s gotta be easier than the drive, right?

Due to disastrous floods in Napa there has been a lot of flood control work done in the last few years. One of the problem areas is where Napa Creek flows through downtown Napa. Napa Flood Control has done bank restoration in the area after extensive flood control work.  Some existing larger trees have been protected with wire mesh, and some trees have been planted that are left unprotected for Beavers to eat. (note; Napa Flood has been using a heavy duty fine wire mesh with good results although the standard protection is larger 2″ x 4″ mesh)wrapped trees downtownBelow is a Beaver dam that appeared in Downtown Napa across the street from Kohl’s Department store about two years ago.downtown beaver dam

A Beaver is using one of the Napa Flood Control placed logs that is bolted down to reach a favorite treat.Beaver downtown 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 1 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 2 05-18-2016Beaver downtown 6 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 7 05-18-2016








This year Mink were seen for the first time, along with turtles. So far no Muskrats.

Out the door…

Posted by heidi08 On May - 23 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Late to the party is better than never coming at all. Here’s yet another report on the benefits of beavers to nitrogen removal.


Knocking Down Nitrogen

Beavers have long been admired for their dam-building skills, which enable them to create ponds and slow the movement of water. Recently, a team of University of Rhode Island scientists has discovered that their environmental engineering tactics also help mitigate levels of nitrogen in the water.

According to Arthur Gold, URI professor of natural resources science, nitrogen levels have been increasing in northeastern streams for many years, due largely to the increased use of fertilizers. When nitrates travel from watersheds into estuaries, they trigger algal blooms that lead to dead zones, fish kills, and the degradation of marine habitats. Gold has spent his career studying the movement of nitrogen across the landscape to better understand how various habitats either remove or retain nitrogen.

“We found in our earlier studies of nitrogen movement that when a beaver pond was upstream it would confound our results,” Gold said. So he and doctoral student Julia Lazar decided to investigate beaver ponds to see what happens to nitrogen there.

They found that beaver ponds create ideal conditions for nitrogen removal, or denitrification. The organic matter that builds up behind a beaver dam plays a key role. That’s where bacteria transform nitrates into nitrogen gas, which dissipates into the air. Some nitrogen is also absorbed by aquatic plants and becomes stored in the sediments when the plants die. None of this would happen without the beaver dam because for substantial denitrification to occur, the water must remain somewhat still and in place for days or weeks at a time. In fast-moving streams, there is not time for the necessary biological and chemical processes that remove nitrogen.

‘The great surprise to us was that beaver ponds are very effective at nitrogen removal,” Gold said. Depending on the pond and the amount of nitrogen present, as much as 45 percent of the nitrogen in a beaver pond is removed from the water. “And most of it goes out as a gas, which is advantageous since beaver ponds are temporary,” he added. “At some point when the dam breaks, the nitrogen stored in the sediments behind the dam moves back into the water, so it’s better when we see it go off as a gas. Then it’s gone for good.”

Nice to see this covered but it’s too bad your readers didn’t visit, because they would have already learned about this in October.

Portland or Bust!

Posted by heidi08 On May - 22 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

The day has finally come, I’ve practiced and adjusted my presentation for the last time,  Jean has officially stepped in to oversee the ongoing muralling, and now all that’s left is the doing and the driving. Stay tuned for some awesome photos from Rusty of Napa, and thanks to Robin for scanning this fun cartoon. There’s nothing to do now but wish me luck!
Rhymes wit Orange

portland flyer

Positive and Negative beaver space

Posted by heidi08 On May - 21 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

negNegative space refers to the space around the image being drawn or represented. Discussing its use happens to be a very fun thing to do when you’re a teenager on a field trip imitating a pretentious critic at a museum. It’s used to define or highlight the object or to make a space for the image that is going to be filled in later either by the artist or the viewer.

So we were delighted to see this yesterday morning:

negI’m sure you’re a normal person and lead a regular beaver-unobsessed life, but  maybe you already recognized that missing beaver is the famous beaver Mario was forced to paint over all those years ago. Ah memories!

mural 001

Well, to paraphrase the words of what’s arguably the most imitated scary movie trailer ever made “He’s back!”

IMG_0998And just so you remember where the original sprang from


Come to think of it, I really need to see it all in on place to appreciate the progression:


It was meet that we should make merry,

and be glad: for this thy brother was dead,

and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Luke 15:32


Posted by heidi08 On May - 18 - 2016Comments Off on APPROVED!

Easy night at the PRMCC meeting getting approval for the ninth beaver festival which was a veritable piece of cake. Committee Dylan Radke even asked, ‘The other day I noticed what looked like a beaver dam down by the corp yard?”  Good eyes! I made sure they had this before I left.

PRMCCNo luck seeing beavers this morning, lots of ripples but nobody surfaced. When they don’t feel like showing their faces they zip back and forth under the water between holes on each side of the bank. How quickly they have gone on about their busy lives and taken me for granted! No baby ducks either, but there was a mockingbird making his dawn chorus all by himself, and that was lovely.

Now onto a nice letter in the paper in Sakatchewan about the kill contest, featuring an extremely rare ugly photo of a beaver. The editor’s must have searched through samples for hours to find the ONE picture that was certain to engender the least sympathetic response. Hrmph!

‘Derby of death’

The beaver is the icon of Canada — historically, for its energy and labour; symbolically, for its ideal of hard-working people and, linguistically, as a byword for the wonderful land we have inherited.

The Saskatchewan government is encouraging the torture and killing of these beautiful animals in a competition for the deaths of these icons — a derby of death.

This is obscene. It is anti-environment and destroys our land and our culture. It teaches children — and adults — that life itself is to be destroyed for profit or reinvented amusement. It encourages the pervert, the psychopath and the inadequate man. It must stop.

Michael Watts, Goderich, Ont.

A cynic might say that beaver trapping is actually the icon of Canada. But it’s nice to see someone saying the obvious. I myself would rather see a letter about the resources they’re throwing away by ignoring beaver benefits to fish, birds wildlife. Certainly I agree the derby is barbaric, and those photos of a truck full of beaver tails knock out my breath, but you won’t catch me saying that in public. I just think it makes it too easy to dismiss the idea that opposition is just from some crazy bunny huggers and therefore doesn’t matter.

I commented this instead:

Even laying aside the massive environmental benefits of beaver dams to fish, waterfowl, game animals; even ignoring the way their dams remove toxins and nitrates, even ignoring the fact that kill contests don’t work and create species rebound the following years — Even ignoring all THAT Saskatchewan should realize that this action is giving them a huge black eye in the world and is showcasing their ignorance on an international level. Why are reasonable solutions successful in every other part of the northern hemisphere but untried there?

Mario is painting his way to success on the mural, with both sides nearly meeting in the middle and a beaver and a turtle added yesterday.

DSC_6930 DSC_6929

Here’s the quarter page ad that’s going in the July issue of Bay Nature:


Beaver Easter came late this year…

Posted by heidi08 On May - 16 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Easter came late this year…

CaptureFor some reason the Handel version of this verse was playing in my head all morning. From the black pre-dawn sky where we stumbled down the dark alley to the dam, to the first initial trills of bird song as the steely darkness was haloed in a sherbet dawn, through explosion of bird chorus that followed, muffling the train whistles, all the way until I saw this:

A Beaver! What is that sudden lightness I feel between my shoulders? Am I falling upwards? Could it be the final easing of that dread harness of grim resolution in the face of overwhelming loss?  Was the sunrise always this splintered by all this moisture? Is it possible that it really was darkest just before the dawn?

Maybe you’ve never sat up through a candlelit vigil waiting for Easter to dawn, but my teenage days remember these things. You know how it is, that person you like talks you into going even though you’re not sure you really believe this stuff. I vividly remembered that spooky darkness replaced by irrational sunrise and this merry welcome of the day with lots of hugging. (Oh! the hugging!)  I was raised catholic but there was a bible-study period in my teens where I briefly mistook a crush for faith.

But of course you know my true religion now.

There s/he was building a dam in front of me. As if to prove that I wasn’t the only one happy for the dam’s return, a mother mallard with 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 babies suddenly appeared, the ducklings zipping so quickly that hardly my eyes or the camera lens could keep up. Like fleas or rolling peppercorns, their rapidly expanding circles were pierced by a swimming turtle before they banded together like a seed pod explosion in rewind and followed mom back down stream.

The tide will be excellent for another day or two, you should go. I’m hoping Jon can be persuaded to make the journey again. Tomorrow we present at the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission to get permission for festival IX. Then it’s last minute details to take care of before Portland.

It all seems like perfect timing. Like destiny. If you believe in that sort of thing.