Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

A miss is as good as 400 miles

Posted by heidi08 On February - 23 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

stateofLouise Ramsay posted this photo of what looks to be the well-attended start of the beaver conference yesterday and I was so struck with such gripping envy that I couldn’t remind myself why I wasn’t there listening greedily to every word. Thankfully my mother also sent along this news story and my sanity was restored, (if only briefly). Apparently 1-5 was closed at Medford due to snow and rock slides. Well, okay then.

snowYesterday was the day I most mind missing, (well one of the three anyway). Because it was the day that the Wales project was presenting and the day that Gerhard Schwab was presenting on the idea that most of what was needed to manage beavers in Germany was managing the people – their enormous fears and reluctance to share. Ahem! Which of course, is a topic near and dear to my heart.

This morning there will be a tribal welcome breakfast and I was supposed to present at 9:30. Then after a break Mike Callahan will have a big announcement which I will tell you about later because he asked me not to spoil his thunder here. Both Mike and Sherry of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition said they’d send me tidbits, so hopefully we’ll hear a little of what’s going on. In the meantime, I am hopeful that a few of you will enjoy this and feel like you are there. I guess it’s practically 9:30 now!

Beaver Trifecta

Posted by heidi08 On February - 22 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

The Canadian Town of Langley, just outside Vancouver, is facing some beaver challenges. Lucky for them they’re close enough to the work of Furbearer DefenderTheres to be surrounded by smart advice. Let’s just hope their wise enough to take it.

Animal advocates, Township of Langley to discuss policy around killing nuisance animals

Animal advocates are meeting with the Township of Langley council Monday night to chip away at policies focused on nuisance animals. Fur-Bearers Spokesperson Adrian Nelson says the Township is hiring trappers to come in and kill beavers because they’re causing floods in the wetlands when they build dams.

“You know, the issue’s persisted there for probably decades, you know if not longer, so it just seems like a poor approach to keep doing the same thing when clearly it’s not working.”

mike & adrian

Adrien Nelson training with Mike Callahan

Nelson calls the trapping a band-aid solution.

“Having a beaver in the area really isn’t an issue in itself, it’s just the flooding that they cause, so if you could put in infrastructure to control that flooding, you know, stop that flooding from happening, than you really don’t have any problems with the beavers being there.”

Nelson says he’d like to see pipe systems and fences installed instead behind the dams to prevent flooding.

Hurray for Adrien and sensible Beaver policy! I have to say, the man is getting pretty deft in his comments. I mean tossing out the ‘sensible approach’ and suggesting that trapping is just wasting time and money. That’s smart. Adrien met Mike at the first beaver conference and they did some installation together after that. Think how many smart people there will be in the world after this week.

There is a lovely interview with author Judith Schwartz about water scarcity today published in drmsriram that mentions the work of several beaver friends.

How Water Scarcity Became a Worldwide Problem

We might ask what kept the water cycle functioning before we came in and we chopped down trees and plowed up land and built cities.

One answer was beavers. California had beavers throughout much of the state. Beavers are a keystone species. They’re known as nature’s engineers. They build dams, and those dams hold water. As water filters through, it creates very rich soil and wetlands, which hold water in the landscape. The driest state in our country is Nevada. There are projects in Nevada going on right now of inviting beavers back onto the landscape. They started with ranchers, restoring the soil, and then the beavers came. Now, they have much more water. They have rivers and streams that are now flowing year round. You get snow that falls from the Sierras, and then it gets held in the soil or it flows away.

Knowledge@Wharton: The same thing could very well happen in California because you’re talking about the same type of demographic where you have snow in the high elevations that’s coming down to the lower areas.

Schwartz: Absolutely. In California, there is now an organization called Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and their WATER Institute has a “Bring Back the Beaver” campaign. There are many beaver fans out there.

Well, yes there are, thanks for thinking of us. Obviously the program mentioned in Nevada is the one started by Carol Evans when she worked for the Bureau of Land Managment. And the OAEC is our friends Brock Dolman and Kate Lundquist who come to the beaver festival most years. Beavers save water. And we need Water. Point taken!

I read this yesterday and smiled broadly. Are we surprised that eco hero Paul Watson got his start with beavers?  No we are not. This is from a recently published Earth Island interview.

Let’s go back to your early days of eco-activism.

I was raised in an eastern Canadian fishing village right on the Maine border, called St. Andrews. I used to swim with these beavers in a beaver pond when I was 10. I went back when I was 11 and found there were no more beavers. I found that trappers had taken them all so I became quite angry and that winter I began to walk the trap lines and free animals from the traps and destroy the traps. So that was really my first venture into activism.

European beavers are thriving — but

Posted by Bob Kobres On February - 20 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Why Bavarians are eating beaver with their beer

There’s no new beaver news so far this week but there were a few blurbs from last week that Heidi didn’t mention. This one from Germany is sort of a mixed bag.

Apparently there are too many beavers in Bavaria. But they’re also simultaneously under protection status. Luckily those clever southerners have found a solution.

Beaver reportedly goes great with bacon and truffles, cooked in a Bockbier, or in a casserole – at least according to Die Welt.

“Beaver tastes delicious,” one hunter told the newspaper.

The woodland creatures were once nearly exterminated in Germany due to over-hunting, and they were later placed under nature protection status. Now that they’ve made a comeback in recent years, there are perhaps too many of them.

But according to Bavarian environment and CSU politician, Josef Göppel, as long as you employ the ‘protection through use’ principle, it’s okay to serve them for dinner.

“If the population develops so encouragingly, people can also use the beaver,” Göppel told Die Welt.

There are now around 30,000 beavers across Germany, 20,000 of them in Bavaria alone.

For farmers, the semiaquatic rodents are like a “plague”, writes Die Welt – they cause fields and meadows to be plunged under water, and they cut down trees to build their homes. Bavaria provides €450,000 annually to make up for the damage.

If the damage becomes too great, beavers may be hunted with permission from the responsible authorities and in 2015, 1,435 were “taken out of nature,” as it’s officially called.

After inspection by an official veterinarian, the beaver meat can be served, though the animal’s special protection means it cannot be sold commercially or placed on a restaurant menu.

Instead, beaver dishes can be seen in private venues, such as on the plates of sports clubs members, or of so-called Stammtisch groups (people who regularly meet).

Hunter Jürgen Füssl in Altenstadt, Upper Palatinate told Die Welt that he serves beaver to his friends and acquaintances, using the fur to make himself a hat.

Bavarian Farmer Association president Walter Heidl sees the ability to hunt beavers as allowing for peaceful coexistence between agriculture and nature protection.

“Most nature protectionists in Bavaria know how beaver tastes,” Heidl said.

At least the taking of beaver is limited by the strict rules. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that more beavers fell victim to BMWs than the appetite for beaver!

On a lighter note, beaver are changing the balance of power! :*)=

UKIP loses council seat to a beaver

Local by-elections were a bit of an oddball affair this week, with both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems losing seats to local parties and the Greens gaining one from UKIP on a pro-beaver platform: 

Green candidate in Lydbrook stood on restoring beavers to Greathough Brook to reduce flooding. I know that was worth staying up for

 That’s it for today.

The best laid plans of men and beavers

Posted by heidi08 On February - 20 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

thwartYesterday highway 5 was flooded at Willows and it occurred to me that we might not be going to the conference. Of course the natural way to sneak around the back is by Chico and the Oroville dam, (haha).  Today there is a snow and wind advisory for Medford and for Shasta going over to Oregon. Hardy souls like Paul and Louse are taking the coastal route to ocean their way north. And hardy veterans like Sherry and Ted Guzzy are taking the sierra way to mountain their way up. Just in case you wondered, there are snow advisories there too. And snow expected in Tiller all through the week just in case we happen to make it.

This morning I’m confronting the reality that this is not the conditions conducive to getting to a beaver conference if you are a woman with a cane that can’t jump over a puddle or walk three feet in snow.  I wish I was able to do this, but just don’t think I can.

I talked with Leonard about recording my talk and getting it so he can download it and play it there anyway. I think it will be possible although it will take some doing. I wish there was a way to get the whole conference on online so we could watch it. But I don’t think there’s anyone with that kind of bandwidth or cell contract. In the meantime we might have to content ourselves with updates. And reports from those on the ground.

We switched the Prius for my mom’s Subaru for this, and packed for the week. I made the presentation after Christmas and I’ve been practicing every day. Bob Kobres took a lesson in blogging and is eager to try his skills. Yesterday I firmed and then scrambled plans to have Paul and Louise for dinner. But preparing isn’t always the same thing as being ready, I guess.


Cheap and Cheerful Beaver Webinar

Posted by heidi08 On February - 16 - 2017Comments Off on Cheap and Cheerful Beaver Webinar

I know, I know. Folks are jealous they don’t get to attend the State of the Beaver conference and listen to 24 hours of brilliant discussion about beaver ecology in the middle of a ringing and buzzing, smoke-filled casino in February. You might even be saying to yourself, why does Heidi get to drive 8 hours through the snowy steep grade traffic and eat hotel food just because she will be rambling on about beavers yet again?  I understand.  I realize how fortunate I am to be going at all, and your much-expected envy is the weighty burden of the lucky, I know. But there’s something everyone can do instead. And it means only a click of a button.

webinarThis webinar is scheduled for Mar 22, 2017 12:00 pm US/Eastern.

CaptureStream and riparian area degradation is widespread across the Intermountain West, yet restoration resources are limited. Relatively simple and low-cost alternatives are needed to scale up to the scope of the problem. A renewed appreciation of the role of the once widespread beaver has revealed insights about how this ecosystem engineer affects stream hydrology, geomorphology, riparian vegetation and habitat for other species with its dam building activities. Drawing upon lessons learned about how nature heals degraded systems, conservationists are increasingly seeking ways to recreate beneficial effects associated with beaver dam-building activities where appropriate to achieve a variety of stream and riparian recovery goals. Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) are one low cost, ‘cheap and cheerful’ technique used in beaver-assisted restoration to mimic natural beaver dams, promote beaver to work in particular areas, and accelerate recovery of incised channels. This webinar will provide a brief overview of beaver ecology and hydrogeomorphic feedbacks, beaver-assisted restoration, BDA design and application, and NRCS planning considerations and resources.

A “Join” button will appear on THIS WEBSITE for the conference the 15 minutes before it begins. There is no need to register and attendance is free. You can check if your tablet or PC has everything it needs to participate by clicking here. Course credit is offered for Forest Managers and more. So check if it applies to you. This course is offered in conjunction with the USDA.

If I have my way, someday soon the entire State of the beaver conference will be available online so folks from everywhere can benefit from the instruction. If Tufts can manage it, I’m sure Oregon State can do it eventually. Until then, I will do what I can to keep everyone posted.

beaver strategy meeting



Beaver Kindness and Beaver Ignorance

Posted by heidi08 On February - 12 - 20171 COMMENT

bob n janeYesterday, our beloved field-researcher Bob Kobres, (the retired UGA librarian who’s always up to date on the latest eco-science) offered to man the website while I’m away beavering in Oregon. You must provide him with every opportunity to entertain, and greet him enthusiastically.  Here is Bob and his wife Jane with Jon when they came to Martinez for the beaver festival a few years ago. I am certain whatever arises in my absence you will learn much and  it will surely not be misspelled. Thank you Bob for stepping up to the plate!

Now we’re off to Scotland for a ridiculous story I hope doesn’t gain altitude. Our friends assure is that it is a year old, and was a non-event when it actually happened (which explains the sunny conditions in the video). It’s in the Daily Mail which is not afforded any regard. Anyway, remember: do not try this at home.

Chef is attacked by a wild beaver after going to investigate a mysterious brown creature on the grass verge

Ross Smith was attacked by the beaver when he investigated the brown creature.Wildlife experts yesterday issued a safety warning – after a chef was attacked by a wild beaver.

Ross Smith was driving along a country road with his friends when they spotted a mysterious brown creature on the grass verge. When the 20-year-old got out of the car and went to investigate, the animal turned nasty and, snarling, leapt at him.

The 3ft long beaver is believed to be one of a colony of the animals living wild in Lintrathen Loch, near Kirriemuir in Angus. xtraordinary mobile phone camera footage of Mr Smith’s encounter now been posted on the internet, prompting a leading academic to warn the public not to approach the furry rodents.

Although it is not clear what provoked the beaver to attack, one of his friends can be heard asking: ‘Is that a platypus?’ Mr Smith, who works in a cafe in Edzell, captured the encounter on his mobile phone and shared it online.

facepalmFirst of all. A platypus? Really? Just how drunk WERE you? And second of all, did you notice that the animal was cornered between you and the hedge? Did you never think it might be a poor decision to corner an animal who has teeth sharp enough to take down trees? And third of all, “the wildlife experts issued a warning?”REALLY? Who exactly are these experts that understand risky beaver behavior? I mean they must be a little long in the tooth themselves since your country hasn’t had beavers for 500 years. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for just making up a sentence like that?

Let’s leave that silly article behind us and talk about Sunday gifts, shall we?  Just in time for their pub crawl story there was a generous donation from a delightful shop called “Cast of Characters” out of Portland Oregon. The artist (Mary Ann Dabritz) does brass creations of animals as door knockers, drawer pulls, etc. And she very kindly sent us this beaver bottle opener which I know will be in a bidding war of its own.  You should go peruse her shop and see the wonders! Thank you Mary Ann.

Back in December I told you about the very special tile I received as a present showing a beaver on a lodge and a couple canoeing. It was made by the very impressive Natalie Blake Studios who do textured stunning Wall Art. Their are hired to do museums and public spaces and their backsplashes and pottery are breathtaking. I wrote them how much I loved the piece and the woman who made it (Cynthia, the second from the left in this photo) actually wrote back. The studio is in Vermont. And she said how her 5 year old son loved beavers, how in preparing  herself for making my tile, she went on a beaver trek with Patti Smith (author of The Beavers of Popple’s Pond) and actually met the old blind beaver Willow and fed her apples.

CaptureIs everyone in Vermont wonderful? This seemed like a sign that I should inquire about a possible donation. It was a long shot, since their tiles are much in demand and expensive to ship. But her son loved beavers, so it was worth a shot. After a little discussion they sent me a lovely 8×8 botanical tile. Honestly the photo doesn’t do it justice. The surface is textured and rippled, and demands to be touched. You will have to come see it yourself. This is very similar to the grouping shown on the left which sells for over 1000 dollars. Here is the tile. It’s only flaw is that it pairs beautifully with the one I was given, which means I might need to bid on it myself.donated tile




Beaver Lessons from Everywhere

Posted by heidi08 On February - 11 - 2017Comments Off on Beaver Lessons from Everywhere

It isn’t every morning you wake up to beaver appreciation in Pennsylvania, Maine and Delaware all at once. This might, in fact, be the only morning it has ever happened. Let’s appreciate the serendipity and just go along for the ride, shall we?

Starting with our most distant national cousins, there’s a hunting column by the former head of the State Sportsman Alliance – call it a surprising twist from Maine by George Smith.

My father’s wisdom on Sunday hunting, moose, beaver and more

I have had the privilege of living in Maine all my life and being able to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. As we all know, this opportunity is fast disappearing and we must think very carefully before extending open seasons that would jeopardize any species of wildlife.

Leave it to beavers

For those folks who have the good fortune to travel from Readfield Corner to Mount Vernon Village, I have some good and some not-so-good news. I have in the past criticized the DOT for the condition of this section of Route 41 and am more than pleased that they are finally fixing it up. If the weather holds out and the coffee breaks aren’t too frequent, come fall they will have a good stretch of road.

But I am concerned about all the money the fish and wildlife department is spending on a dam by the old chimney at West Mount Vernon. A couple of beavers let loose at that site would have done the job for free. I just don’t understand the thinking of these folks, who are supposed to be so concerned about wildlife.

Just think what a great tourist attraction it would have been to have beaver maintaining a dam and keeping the level of water on Taylor Pond where it should be. Upstream to the north they have two dams and are doing a splendid job of keeping Hopkins Stream suitable for many species of wildlife. Now we are going to have a mess of rocks and cement.

Well, my my my. A man who realizes where water and wildlife come from.  Even though I don’t relish hunting, I can see that this is a man you can form alliances with and get things done. He understands that beavers mean more game for him to hunt, but also just to appreciate. I, for one, don’t think that kind of thinking is a deal-breaker. Even though our ultimate destinations might be far apart, part of the pathway we walk together. So be it. Let beavers do their jobs. This is the kind of hunter that helps you think about focusing on the environmental ‘politics of the possible’.

On to Delaware where a nice Dad takes his daughters out for a nature hike and a game of ‘Shadow Tag’ near a beaver pond.

Beavers, fox skulls and February shadow stomping

We were walking back from checking out fresh beaver activity along Freeman Highway. The new bicycle and walking trail edges up to a marshy area watered by the 16-acre White’s Pond that borders the new Showfield community. Could there be anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon?

The beaver, or beavers, that had felled three or four trees with just their teeth were nowhere in sight. But they had expertly dropped one six-inch diameter tree squarely across a shallow stream that was just barely moving. Fresh shavings from their work surrounded the stump.

While we were admiring the work of the beavers and the fox skull with its sharp white canine teeth, Wayne and Mary Lou happened by. They were off on an afternoon amble. “I spotted that beaver activity back in December,” said Wayne. “My first question and it’s still my question: Where did they come from?” From the interior of Sussex?

We speculated for a while. They had to cross a lot of territory to come east from some beaver pond in the interior of Sussex. Did they grow up along Beaverdam Road, Route 23, that passes a few freshwater ponds – prime beaver territory – as it meanders southwest from Five Points toward Long Neck? Or maybe from Beaverdam Creek? Cave Neck Road and Round Pole Branch Road cross that creek east of Milton where it flows toward the Broadkill River. Beavers dammed it years ago.

Nature yields amazing treasures for those who get out in the thick of it all and look carefully.

Yes it does. And we love how you are raising your children to pay attention to it. The mystery of the beaver finding its way from one body of water to another is not really hard to solve. They travel many miles over land, and even more over water, (and salt water) looking to claim a homestead of their own. Just yesterday there was a young beaver found in a carport in Pittsburg and taken to the Lindsey Wildlife Museum. Resettling an entire continent is a big job, and they don’t have a moment to lose.

Finally an evening of beaver education from Hamlin Pennsylvania. This one without the actual beavers.

Learn about beavers in free, family event

CaptureHAMLIN – On Thursday, Feb. 16, join Audubon naturalist Kathy Dodge, Lindsay George and their beaver puppet helpers in a free family program at the Salem Library in Hamlin from 6 until 7:30 p.m.

The program, titled ‘Chew On This!’ discusses the wonders of wetlands.

Everyone can make an edible beaver lodge to take home.

Well now, I’m not exactly sure that this edible beaver education will include a discussion of their importance to water and wildlife, but it’s Pennsylvania and we’re grading on a curve.   Remember 7 years ago there was a beaver night at a nature center one state over  taught by a trapper, that I mocked so soundly I got mean letters from the trappers aunt. Puppets and naturalists are better that conibears and corpses. Right?

The edible lodge idea is done by The Lands Council folk in Washington.  And it’s on the list of activities on our teachers page. The idea is to let kids use pretzel sticks and frosting to make a lodge, which is  cute – although not wildly sanitary I imagine, since there all sharing tubs of frosting. But laying those concerns aside, I’m not really sure what it teaches exactly. I tend to think there’s an optimal amount of stimulation that kids learn best at. Too much and and too little both produce failed results. But the world’s a big place, and it needs all kinds of teachers and all kinds of lessons about beavers.

Now this isn’t frosting, but dam, its sweet. I stumbled upon it this morning and thought I’d share.

Just born beavers