Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Photographs and Memories

Posted by heidi08 On July - 26 - 20151 COMMENT
Suzi at work

Suzi Eszterhas photographs Martinez Beavers

Last night more than 40 children and their parents showed up for a chance at having their picture taken by Suzi Eszterhas for possible inclusion in Ranger Rick magazine. I was in charge of registration at the footbridge and got parents to sign the model release. Jon shepherded groups across the street, and Suzi was at the old dam arranging children, persuading them to be patient, and taking photos.

The night had a strangely important feel. Almost everyone had seen the beavers before, and many knew about the kits, most had attended a beaver festival. One eager attendee showed me her three layered keystone charm necklaces from the previous years, and one boy was even wearing a lovely homemade t-shirt that said “Save the Martinez Beavers”!

(Jon got so excited about him that he told Suzi to get a photo, and when she was trying to walk around the edge of the pond she slipped in!  About three feet deep because of the swelling tide, but she instinctively held her camera over her head so everything important except her squishy boots was saved! Afterwards Jon was very sorry apologetic.)

nature clubThe kids and parents were very excited about her work and wanted to know as much as possible. Of course they asked which issue of Ranger Rick it will be in, and of course we have no idea. Hopefully sometime next year.  She was especially interested in the older kids because of the readership age of Ranger Rick, but  she made everyone feel important and part of something very special. Parents were totally unphased by the release which they happily signed and gave contact information. Afterwards Jon and I looked at each other and commented that this had felt like an unexpectedly important night.

I’m hoping this translates into lots of new sign ups for NWF at the festival and some great bidding on Suzi’s donations. Now today it’s time to buckle down with Deidre and get the items for the silent auction tagged and organized. Next week is full of last minute details and the Contra Costa Times is supposed to release its article about the festival (and profile of ….cough…me.) I’m just hoping it doesn’t mortify me too much.

A star is born from Heidi Perryman on Vimeo.

Reminiscing beavers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 23 - 20152 COMMENTS

I had fun with the new toy yesterday. Apparently 62 percent of voters never miss a beaver festival! There is NO beaver news in the world today, and I am too cluttered with details to have anything interesting to say. A couple readers wrote brilliant letters about the Alyth stupidity, and that of course makes me very happy.

Let’s try this again shall we?

Here’s a history lesson  with music. I made and uploaded this video May 2007, more than eight years ago. Before the flow device, before Worth A Dam, before the festival. Before Jon even started watching. You can tell it is such a long time ago I made it even BEFORE I was friends with Cheryl. (Because I use no beautiful photographs of hers.)

One part I especially like is the very blurry photo of an otter actually sitting on top of the old beaver lodge. I snapped that soooooo long ago. It was so early and I was just barely awake. I wasn’t even sure what it was! I remember a youngish beaver came and tail slap alarmed him away. I counted and he slapped 19 times. Of which I managed to film the very last one.

Honestly, I was such a newbie I included a stolen nutria photo by mistake, can you spot it? I was just starting to get intrigued by this new species in my midst. And having fun using iMovie.  If I had taken the poll back then I would have answered number two.

We were all new to this once.

Help Wanted: Only Beavers Need Apply

Posted by heidi08 On July - 14 - 2015Comments Off

Yellowstone is in trouble unless we can bring back the beavers

 16700074426_a7acaed7cf_bPeople say that wolf reintroduction saved Yellowstone.

 When biologists reintroduced wolves to the park in 1995, the initial effect was promising. Although elk populations did not decline as much as expected, the plants they ate started to regrow. Ecologists theorized that elk altered their behavior when wolves were around and consequently spent less time grazing.

 The wolves quickly became the poster child for trophic cascades, how bringing back top predators can restore out-of-whack ecosystems. In recent years, however, ecologists have realized that bringing back wolves hasn’t been enough to restore plant communities in Yellowstone.

 ”Predators can be important,” Oswald Schmitz, an ecologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, told Nature, “but they aren’t a panacea.”

Ohhh sure, wolves are all sexy and wild with their howling in the night and dramatic silhouettes. People like George Monblott make  viral videos proclaiming their splendor. But guess what has a lumpy silhouette and doesn’t get big fancy supporters? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a ‘B’.

10984979774_c4a7b0bdf0_bThus ecologists have started looking closer at the role beavers play in the ecosystem.

 Beavers, too, suffered from the initial decline of wolves and rise of elk, as elk out-competed beavers for food — particularly willow and aspen trees — leading to the near-elimination of beavers and their dams from the park.

 As beaver dams disappeared, so did the wetlands and streams they supported — and these are the areas that suffer most today.

 ”It’s problematic because the willows and beavers have a mutualistic relationship: Beavers eat and cut them down to build their dams, and the dams raise the water tables and bring water up so it’s more available for plants,”

 ”Without beaver dams creating willow-friendly environments,” Emma Marris, author of the book “Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World,” told Popular Science, “the willows can’t recover.”

 Not only will the willows not recover, but the marshy habitats around them won’t recover either. That includes not only the trees and plants but also the birds, amphibians, and any other creature that needs wetland to survive.

Now it occurs to you that beavers might matter? After we’ve been talking about it for a decade?  Well, isn’t that mighty white of you, as they say.  I’m sure Dr.’s Hood, Muller-Swarze, Westbrook, Haley and Fouty will be very pleased.  More importantly, I’m hoping you take from this that one single answer won’t create a solution. It’s a complicated interweaving of systems, and when you remove one they all suffer. It’s all connected, you know.

(But beavers are STILL more connected than most.)

the missing piece

Lets all be more like beavers…

Posted by heidi08 On July - 12 - 2015Comments Off

No new deaths, and Jr. was seen last night. How quickly the standard for good news changes when you are living in a war zone. The dam was worked on too, meaning the beavers themselves are feeling back to normal. I guess we should try and do the same.

These are nice articles to bring us gently back to the land of the living.

North woods entrepreneur: New beaver pond shows the power of the beaver’s creative destruction

To a beaver, the slightest trickle of water is the sound of opportunity. It’s said you can give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. But, I say, give a beaver the barest of brooks and he’ll create a new world.

It’s a process of creative destruction that kills a forest and replaces it with a rich wetland environment that, in its first summer, is already home to at least three broods of mallards and probably more.

It’s a perfect environment for raising young ducks. The pond, which is isolated from any open water source, obviously harbors no giant muskies waiting to inhale a downy little duckling. And the canopy of now-dead alder and aspen offers the young ducks substantial protection from hawks or falcons.

But there was much more at the new pond early one morning this week. Frogs were poking noses from the water, a garter snake was coiled on a sun-splashed rock on the shore, while legions of dragonflies darted around in search of breakfast or a sunny perch of their own.

In the long view, beaver ponds are temporary components on the landscape, even though they can last, at times, for decades. Over time, they change, of course. Our new pond is full of woody cover, but soon enough those dead trees and shrubs will disintegrate and fall below the surface of the dark waters, opening up the pond. The brush will be replaced with true wetland vegetation, like cattails, rushes, or sedges. If they haven’t already, turtles will eventually find their way to this oasis in the forest. I’m curious to watch the transition over the years to come— assuming that the beavers and their progeny continue to maintain the dam.

I love a beaver article that takes the long view on beaver impact. But  Marshall Helmberger stopped short of mentioning the egrets and herons that come to the pond to eat those frogs, and the fish that feast on the dragonfly larvae. Not to mention the mink and otter that come feast on the fish. How about the nutrients that will accumulate in that damp soil and the many plants that will eventually settle in that meadow? I’ll let Dr. Wohl explain:

I never get tired of hearing that clip. That is the best lightening overview on beaver impact I have ever heard. Even better than Enos Mills, and that’s saying something. Ellen donated another book for the auction, this one looks like an excellent summer read.

A combination of travel writing, nature writing, and science writing, Transient Landscapes is a beautiful and thoughtful journey through the natural world.

Now on to my favorite beaver article this season, I have tried to track down the author but had no luck yet. This appeared yesterday in the News Tribune in Washington state. (Of course)

Eager beavers seeking summer fun can rely on these tips from the animal world

Here are five ways your kids can be more like a beaver this summer.

Tip 1: Create your own shelter

Have you ever pitched a tent outdoors, or gathered all the pillows and blankets in your house for an epic pillow fort? It’s amazingly satisfying to put a roof over your own head, even if it’s just for fun. Beavers are known for creating their own homes, called lodges.

Tip 2: Hang out with your family

If you spent the summer by yourself, you’d probably get bored. A beaver would feel the same way. They love to play and socialize with their family members every day. Beavers live in family groups called colonies.

Tip 3: Eat a healthy snack

 Nothing tastes better than fresh veggies found at the local farmers market. North American beavers have diets based on the plants found in their natural range, which includes Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. They love to eat bark, twigs, aquatic plants, and the leaves and roots of deciduous trees.

Tip 4: Go for a swim

What’s the best way to cool off in summer (aside from eating Popsicles all day)? Taking a dip in the pool, of course. Swimming is a refreshing activity for lots of animals and a major part of the beaver lifestyle.

 Tip 5: Help habitats

All living things are connected, and every animal needs a home. Protecting and creating homes for other animals is a great habit to practice every summer (and the rest of the year, too). You can try it yourself by planting trees, building bird houses or bat shelters, or volunteering for habitat restoration projects.

Beavers modify their surroundings quite a bit. In the process of creating lodges, dams and canals, they create rich habitats for other animals. Cutting down trees allows shrubby plants to grow, which are great food for deer and elk in winter. Beaver ponds also attract frogs that are hunted by weasels, raccoons, herons and others. Ducks and geese may build nests on top of beavers’ lodges.

A beaver colony is a good thing for a healthy forest.

I love. Love. LOVE. This article! How it of course PRESUMES that children might want to be like beavers. How it finds ways to educate children about beaver adaptions by pairing them with things they already know. And of course how the last paragraphs emphasize that beavers are GREAT for other animals in the forest.


I don’t know about you but I can see the beginnings of a beaver badge tied in with the festival, in which children show us they have taken beaver action during the season and earn something to acknowledge their role in the colony! Maybe they even get the list of how to be like a beaver at earth day, check the items off and turn it into us at the festival?

Hmm we’d have to add one of course. Teaching others what you know. Beavers do that all the time.

Wisconsin gets attention

Posted by heidi08 On July - 6 - 2015Comments Off

Looks like Wisconsin’s unique trout protection strategy is getting noticed. Yesterday I was sent this great article from the TU president who invited me to speak this year in Coloma. It’s from a beautiful outdoorsy website called “Cutter Light” in Alaska. Capture

Wisconsin Wildlife Services Removes 100’s of Beaver Dams Each Year, Many by Explosives

This video  showing a beaver dam being blasted sky high by Wisconsin Wildlife Services in the name of “improving habitat for trout” left us speechless. We’re interested to know what readers think of this strategy for managing wildlife and natural resources.

Barbra and I watched this video and listened to these comments with our jaws hanging open. Speechless. After about two minutes, the video came to an end.

 “Wow,” was all we could manage to articulate at first. And then again, “Wow.”

For the past day, we’ve been researching this issue as thoroughly as we’re able to, reaching out to Trout Unlimited groups in Wisconsin (at least one of which appears to support this management strategy) and kicking our own thoughts around between each other. We haven’t reached any conclusions. But we do have a few observations.

Beaver ponds represent biologically rich, exceptionally diverse, constantly changing micro-habitats within the larger forest.The many snags (dead trees) in this pond represent feeding opportunities for woodpeckers as well as potential cavity nesting sites for many species of birds and mammals. Eventually, this pond will become silted in, the beavers will leave, and a beaver meadow will replace the pond. These meadows, free from the shade of the forest canopy and with a bed of thick, fertile soil create places where unique species of flowers and other plants thrive. Black bears are among the many animals that visit these meadows to graze on the grasses and berries that may not exist elsewhere in the forest. The meadow itself will eventually be replaced by mature hardwood forest. So it has been in North America for thousands and thousands of years, with trout, beavers, bears and berries co-evolving.

Ohhh, I think this is going to get amazing. Pull up a chair and get comfortable.  I practically excerpted the whole thing. Feel free to go read it yourself. I’m sure Wisconsin is.

Beaver ponds represent dynamic, ever-changing micro-habitats that foster some of the greatest species diversity in the forests where they are found. We’re for biodiversity. As much as we enjoy trout fishing, we would never wish that our desire to catch a particular species of fish be placed above the overall health of an ecosystem.

 During the life of the beaver pond, it can provide vital habitat for all kinds of animals. As trees are drowned, they become snags. (One Wisconsin DNR report stated simply and that “beaver dams kill trees” – an example of how a statement can be both completely true and completely misleading. Dead trees are part of every healthy forest.) Pileated woodpeckers and other woodpeckers utilize these snags as forage bases and nesting sites. The cavities woodpeckers create in turn become nesting sites for flying squirrels, owls, wood ducks, and host of other mammals and birds. Meanwhile, these ponds become important stop-over or seasonal habitat for a variety of waterfowl and often attract shore nesting species. Tree swallows, flycatchers and similar passerines thrive in the edge habitat created by the beavers’ activity. Again, the snags provide nesting sites, and the cleared airspace above the insect-rich pond creates excellent feeding opportunities for insect eating birds as well as for bats.

 The pond itself becomes one the most biologically rich systems in the forest – perhaps the most biologically rich. Everything from burrowing mayflies to dragonflies and damselflies to a variety of aquatic beetles inhabit these waters. Amphibians such as newts, salamanders, toads and frogs inhabit these ponds as well, which provide vital nurseries for their young. Aquatic and semi-aquatic snakes take advantage of the smorgasbord, and in turn may provide a meal for a hawk. Deer, moose, turkeys and grouse are among the frequent visitors to the edge habitat found along the shores of these ponds.

 Silt prevented by the dam from moving downstream eventually creates a rich bed of mud which in turn fosters the growth of aquatic vegetation. This vegetation may provide a meal for a moose or a migrating duck, a nursery for the young of certain fish species, a place for a tiger salamander to attach its eggs, or an ambush post for a predacious diving beetle. What’s best for trout is not necessarily best for the countless other species that depend on the habitat created by beaver ponds.

Moreover, because these dams cause water to pool, some of that water percolates down into subterranean aquifers. This should be an important consideration in a state that is rapidly pumping its aquifers dry.

It’s important to keep one other fact in mind. Salvalinus fontinalis, the native char most fishermen refer to as the brook trout, has been co-evolving with beavers and beaver dams for longer than humans have been on the North American continent. This sudden need to “manage” wildlife is an outcome of an ongoing series of humankind’s mismanagement of this planet.

Let’s be clear hear, this wasn’t written by ME or Michael Pollock’s mother. Barbara and Jack Donarchy are fairly well known wilderness-living writers, fishermen and photographers.  Their blogs gets way more traffic than this old thing, and is followed by countless others. All of whom will now turn in shock to Wisconsin DNR and say in chorus, WTF?

Check out the full page of very supportive comments whose minds were equally blown by the practice. One of this is from John Sikora who was the chapter president that invited me to Trout Unlimited this year. I think if we listen very closely we can hear the rusted shut DNR wheels of change grinding into motion. Maybe they’ll take my advice and experiment with ONE SMALL STREAM this year and see what happens if they let the dams and beavers remain.

the missing piece

“And one Beaver in his time plays many parts”

Posted by heidi08 On July - 5 - 2015Comments Off

Another fourth of July safely passed. We stayed on sight until 9 and the beavers and kits wisely stayed upstream. Except for Junior who went down to the dam when everyone was on the bridge and demonstrated damming behavior. There must have been 100 separate photos taken of him as people stopped to watch on the way to the fireworks.  We made sure there were signs for the festival which people remarked on and stopped to look at too. The best thing heard were several comments of “Where else can you see beavers on the way to fireworks?”

No where, I think.

Lots of odds and ends to talk about to day, as my in box has been accumulating. Let’s start with the annoying and work up to the inspirational, okay? The first was reported this weekend in the Sacramento Bee. Remind me never to hire a lawyer or doctor that had such a hard time remembering things in school that he used lies like THIS!

Their video study guides aim to keep it sketchy


CaptureTwo video series, dubbed SketchyMedical and SketchyLaw, offer short, animated videos that illustrate biological or legal terms and concepts, using wordplay and nonliteral interpretations of the terms to help students better remember.

 The 11-video SketchyLaw series on criminal law features animated sketches of beavers chewing on bark to represent the various legal scenarios in felony murder; “BARRK” is the acronym commonly used by law students to remember the five felonies that can lead to a murder charge if someone dies in the process. As the animation progresses, Mueller narrates off-camera to explain the terms.

Beaver in trees so you can remember to watch out for murder charges? Call me a cynic. But I think in this world there are two types of brains. Let’s call them “Bowls” and “Colanders “. And if information is draining out of your head as fast as you put it in, you might be great at making spaghetti, but even if tree-climbing rodents can get you out of law school you won’t remember what your clients tell you anyway! Or what color tie the judge hates, or the best way to start oral argument with a mostly female jury. You get the idea. Law and Med school (and graduate school for that matter) are practice arenas. You have to make it there before you hit the big leagues.


Speaking of the big leagues, there’s a new kid on the beaver management block worth talking about. Jakob Shockey attended the State of the Beaver Conference this year, met with Mike Callahan and others, and decided the watershed group he worked with needed a beaver expert. Folks helped raised funds to send him off to Massachusetts to train with Mike which I wrote about here. Now he’s opened his own shop with website here.

Capture Flow Devices

Flow devices can be used in a variety of situations to keep a beaver pond at a certain water level, or to protect a culvert or spillway from damming activity.

These designs essentially trick beaver into believing that their dam is holding water while sneaking it out, either through a caged drainage pipe (pictured) sunk into the middle of the pond or a trapezoidal protective fence.

 Over time, these solutions are far more cost-effective than lethal management of problem beaver, while also retaining the ecosystem services of beaver on the landscape.

 Contact us for more information on a potential solution to your beaver issues.

Welcome to the beaver ‘hood Jakob! It’s wonderful to have another expert on the west coast. We’ll be sure to send lots of folks your way. I already added a link to our blogroll, but let Worth A Dam know if we can help get the word out or maybe with a beaver photo for your cover page. We are happy to assist friends!


Finally, I received this great paper from beaver friend close to home Jeff Baldwin at Sonoma State. In it he writes deftly about his idea of the way beavers shaped the country. It is a fairly intellectual paper, but you will be smarter at the end of it than you were at the beginning. Jeff already proved himself the intellectual heavy weight of the beaver crowd at the conference, where he thoroughly impressed everyone with his careful capacity to scour the literature and report unpopular truths even to a roomful of acolytes. He’s a brave man, and a very, very smart one.

Beaver as Historical Actors: In Theory and Practice

We now know that beaver dams change landscapes and hydrologies in important ways. Like the milldams on the Appalachian Piedmont they trap sediment. In north central Oregon, Pollack et al. found that in their first year beaver dams trapped enough sediment to raise the stream bed an average of 0.47 meters. Though stream bed aggradation slowed to about 0.075 meters (about 3 inches) in the sixth study year, the area of aggradation broadened significantly as sediment was increasingly deposited across the entire riparian area. Typically, given enough time beaver ponds fill in and become swales and then wet meadows.[4]

 Beaver dams essentially spread hydrologic flows across the entire flood plain. The surface of beaver ponds are typically at or near bank-full, meaning that a small increase in flow quickly expands the pond to cover its flood plain. Thus, high stream flows spread nutrients to riparian communities rather than washing them downstream where they have caused hyper-eutrophication and accompanying dead zones. Unlike incised streams whose surface is far below the flood plain and so drain water from the ground below flood plains, beaver ponds charge those soils and aquifers with water. Westbrook et al. explain that typically about one half of the water that flows through a dam-pool system travels through the soil. There it maintains moisture in wide riparian zones long in to dry periods. Typically water re-enters the stream at the temperature of the soil, a cool 54° F (12° C), conditions preferred by many fish species valued by Americans.[5]

Finally, when beaver are present, streams tend to have multiple shallow and shifting channels. For low gradient streams, ‘the model’ that conservationists have been working so hard to emulate bears little resemblance to an ‘un-disturbed stream.’ While one may be impressed with the extent of milldams in Appalachia, that anthropogenic environmental dialectic pales when compared to what beaver did, and still could do, to North American waterscapes. Yet very few historians, environmental historians, or environmental geographers take beaver, and other non-human beings to be historic actors, in and of themselves.

While beaver dams could help mitigate the effects of climate change, they could also help moderate the process. Because ponds are nutrient rich they become eutrophic, and as biota dies and decays anaerobically the ponds and meadows trap the carbon embodied therein. Similarly, the wetland soils around beaver ponds also work to sequester carbon. On a landscape scale, beaver ponds both moderate atmospheric carbon loading, and at local and watershed scales they mitigate increased seasonality. These biospheric relationships would, if allowed, respond in significant, novel, and historical ways to anthropogenic changes to Earth’s atmosphere and climate.[39]

Without the ecology background to inform my reading, I found this paper a little smarter than my brain could process. But I am happy to share it with s better minds than my own. On the most basic level, I am certain that Jeff is right and beavers function as actors on the human landscape and story. I am confident that if we read a little more of Dr. Baldwin we’ll be better equipped for these understandings. Thanks Jeff for your hard work!

Beaver Terrorists

Posted by heidi08 On July - 3 - 2015Comments Off

Did I really say for a moment we were winning? Silly, silly, me.
KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

 USDA exploding beaver dams to benefit trout

VILAS County – WI

Wildlife Services Project Leader Kelly Thiel directed the removal of the dam by blowing it up with explosives.

“The purpose of our work is to create a free-flowing stream for the benefit of the trout to be able to migrate up and down,” Thiel says. “If you have beaver dams in there, they can’t migrate, they’re locked in. To have a self-sustaining stream, it needs to be free-flowing.”

 Trout struggle to travel, spawn, and live without those cold, free-flowing streams.

 The U.S. Forest Service and Wisconsin DNR decide which streams Wildlife Services will clear. Of the approximately 1,500 miles of streams that Wildlife Services clears in northern Wisconsin, most of them are high-quality trout streams.

 The work leading up to a particular blast can take months or years. Wildlife Services surveys beaver populations on streams. Then, once it selects a stream for clearing, workers trap all the beavers near the dams in the spring or early summer. It blasts about 150 dams each year.

 ”This stuff detonates at 23,000 feet per second,” Thiel says, stringing a cord between containers of explosives.

 It took about three pounds of explosives to blow up this dam on the Little Deerskin River. Workers placed them strategically and double-checked all the equipment before clearing other people from the area and taking cover with a remote trigger.

 The explosion sent tree limbs, water, and other debris dozens of feet in the air.

Those lucky trout! Gosh,  I bet that water is so crystal clear afterwords when all that debris falls back into the stream. The fish must LOVE it, I mean not the baby fish that were hiding in the side sticks of the dam obviously because they were blown up, but the other fish that survive the falling limbs and rocks, they must love their new gritty home. And the predators must love it too because even after fish stop falling from the sky, there’s no cover left for the survivors. Easy pickin’s.

Ironically yesterday was the LAST day for Wisconsin to receive public comment on their truly disabled fishmisinformed beaver management plan. You remember, the one where they think even though research says beavers help trout in the wacky west, Wisconsin fish are weaker and their conditions are harder, and so they must be saved by painstakingly killing beavers and blowing up dams. I and others dutifully sent them comments containing actual science, but they will obviously ward it of with their powerful information-resistant shields and continue doing what they do.

At least USDA will get to keep having fun. For them buisiness is booming. BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Here are my submitted comments in case anyone’s interested. I was trying HARD not to be too sarcastic, but the last paragraph is my favorite.

Beaver Management Plan

 I’m interested in the research that has lead you to believe trout in Wisconsin function differently than trout in Utah, Colorado or Oregon. I’m surprised that no one in the audience of your webinar asked about this, or wanted to understand why you think the principles of hyporheic exchange operate differently in the badger state then in the west. Current research emphasizes the hydraulic pressure of water behind beaver dams push that water downward and promote exchange of groundwater into beaver streams, making them cooler.

 It surprises me that there is so much faith in the Avery study noting the co-occurrence of dam removal with trout population improvement. Obviously correlation doesn’t mean causation. A cursory review of the literature and periodicals of the time confirm that there were significant other changes to the watershed during that period, that could easily have affected fish health. To assume that this is reliably due to the reduction in beaver seems naïve and ahistorical.

 I was confused to hear that Wisconsin believes the population of beaver went up historically before this program was implemented, until I realized you were referring only to the baseline of the 1900’s – then it made sense. I’m not sure why you ignored the significant beaver population that existed before then. The fur trade brought the French to your state as early as the 1600’s I think, and obviously natives lived with beaver abundance long before that. In 1621 Samuel de Champlain described America’s pristine landscape and exclaimed that beaver occupied “every river, brook and rill.” Surely given the waterways of Wisconsin your landscape was no different. Your beaver population must have been prodigious, much, much higher than it was even before you instated the beaver management plan. If beaver really couldn’t co-exist with trout why didn’t the Dakota Sioux or Ojibwe complain about the abysmal fishing conditions?

 The attached study completed recently looked specifically at the issue of trout passage of beaver dams, and found that natives like brook and cutthroat passed easily in both directions, while nonnatives had more trouble. Are you suggesting that Wisconsin has fewer native trout? Or that the trout it has are disabled in some way?

It is regretful that when the issue of ‘protecting resources” was discussed in your presentation, you seemed fairly disinterested in the most impactful one you take for granted; the one that creates habitat, increases invertebrates, sequesters carbon, and stores water. As I just returned from presenting at the chapter presidents meeting at TU specifically on beaver and trout. I want to suggest that you select just one stream as a control to study what happens to fish population if you stop trapping beaver.

I think the results would surprise you.

Let’s cleanse the pallate with two lovely photos from Robin in Napa showing the barren ruined habitat that beavers leave in their destructive fish killing wake.


Kit in tulocay Creek – Photo Robin Ellison


Mink in Tulocay beaver pond – Robin Ellison