Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Sometimes Nature Wins

Posted by heidi08 On May - 1 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Sometimes I think about our tiny creek and dainty little dam and how disproportionately worried Martinez got when the beavers came. Even before the flow device the dam was never that big. I remember kicking the street-side mudded edge out with our feet in the morning because we didn’t want the city to be upset that it was growing. What would it have ultimately looked like if Skip had never come? Would Castro Street be under water? Would the creek Monkey? Would the county recorders office? You really get an idea of how much they can change things when you see things like this.

Ridgefield: Beavers are building; People get problems

“It’s an ongoing battle with the residents of Ridgefield versus the beavers,” said Beth Peyser, Ridgefield’s inland wetlands agent and conservation inspector.

“We have a lot of beaver activity and questions in Ridgefield,” she said. “Any homeowner that has a watercourse or water body could have a resident beaver. They kind of come and go.”

Beavers’ work can create flooding problems.

“The flooding happens directly above the beaver dam — when the beaver backs up the water, there’s a pond,” Peyser said.

“Flooding is always a concern when water is backed up by beavers. The term ‘busy as a beaver’ — they say that for a reason. Once you knock it down, a beaver’s going to rebuild it twice as fast and twice as sturdy.”

The town has sometimes gotten creative in responding to the beavers’ ceaseless dam-building, according to Marconi.

Picture1“I know in other parts of town we break them down quite a bit, and we put in what’s called a ‘beaver deceiver’ with a pipe — PVC pipe — and as the water backs up it flows into the pipe,” Maconi said. The pipe drains water away and limits the amount of flooding.

Jeff Yates, a Wiltonian who is director of volunteer operations for Trout Unlimited in the area, appreciates the beavers’ work.

“Ecologically, beaver dams are great for rivers and any kind of natural river system, because they help distribute the nutrients from soil and sediments across the floodplains, and cause new growth,” Yates said.

“All the sediments get slowed down when they hit beaver ponds because the water slows. … It’ll rebuild and regenerate the soil in the floodplain.”

Not bad for Connecticut in terms of accepting the things they can’t change. Beavers build things that save water, and if we rip them out they build again. And apparently some of them even know why it matters. Its all good for the fish, says Trout Unlimited. That’s about as good as we can hope for in that neck of the woods. I’m saving this article in my ‘good news’ hope chest.

Rusty of Napatopia has been enjoying better and better luck at the pond. Yesterday he saw three beavers at once, and one brave soul stayed to eat the new grass and allowed excellent photos. Thanks for sharing!

Rusty grass

Beaver in the grass: Rusty Cohn

One last sweet before I leave you. And its from Barbara of Marin via her friend JFG. It makes me very happy, and I’m pleased to think that it definitely proves that Nature is more powerful than Science. At least some of the time.

Large Hadron Collider on paws after creature chews through wiring

The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator has been brought to its knees by a beech marten, a member of the weasel family, that chewed through wiring connected to a 66,000-volt transformer.

The Large Hadron Collider on the outskirts of Geneva was designed to recreate in miniature fireballs similar to the conditions that prevailed at the birth of the universe, but operations of the machine, which occupies a 17-mile tunnel beneath Switzerland, have been placed on hold pending repairs to the unit.

The collider, which discovered the Higgs boson in July 2012, is expected to be out of action for a week while the connections to the transformer are replaced. Any remains of the intruder are likely to be removed at the same time.

In an in-house report on the incident, managers at Cern, the European nuclear physics laboratory that runs the LHC, described the incident at the transformer unit as being caused by a “fouine” – a beech marten native to the region. The report concluded it was “not the best week for the LHC”.


Hang in there, baby!

Posted by heidi08 On April - 27 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

We regret to inform you that yesterday’s mural beginning was a false alarm. We were informed midday that Mario could not come and start because the FINAL-final-final contract by the city attorney was still being completed and wouldn’t be back from Napa until the afternoon. Silly me, I was thinking that the ninety one pages we had signed already would suffice to paint 75 square feet of concrete, but obviously I don’t understand how government works.  I’ll let you know what happens today but in the mean time beaver supporters will just have to hang in there a little longer. This should help.

hang in there babyIn the mean time there is AWESOME news from just 300 miles away from that beaver-black-hole, Saskatchewan. Red Deer County in Alberta is holding a “living with beaver” workshop.

Workshop helps Albertans to live with beavers

Red Deer County is co-hosting a workshop at the Kevisville Community Hall on May 4 from 1:30 to 7:00 p.m. The day will include a light supper along with a short visit to a nearby pond leveler (a pipe system to drain water from a dam).

“It’s open to anybody in the county (and nearby counties) who’s interested in beavers and the impact that we both have on each other,” said Aimee Delaney, conservation assistant for Red Deer County.

Participants will learn about the role and impact of beavers in watersheds, techniques and technology used to manage and co-exist with beavers, beaver management choices and how those choices influence the broader landscape, research and case studies from other parts of North America on beaver management and reintroduction, as well as other important information.

I want people to (know) that we are able to live with them. We just need to properly understand how,” said Delaney. “By learning what the beavers are trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to accomplish, and how those interact is a good way to start,” she added.

How much do you love Aimee? I am guessing that she is or was a Glynnis Hood student at the University of Alberta student and the pond leveler they are visiting was built by Glynnis’ research project. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this story now, combating those horrific tail images from their neighbors.

In the mean time, TWC released the final flyer with active links and I’m off to Oakland today to preach the beaver gospel. Oh, and Robin sent a grand article on the suit against APHIS, which is using the same strategy that famous appellate beaver case used. I wrote the lawyer this morning and he was very interested to see what unfolded.

Willful Ignorance rally

Posted by heidi08 On April - 25 - 2016Comments Off on Willful Ignorance rally

You know that talk, you’ve been putting off with your co-worker or best friend. It needs to happen but the subject is likely to hurt both of you so you’ve been avoiding it. Meanwhile the pressure is building and building around you, and it’s getting harder to avoid comment.

Well, the ‘Saskatchewan derby’ is that talk.

Saskatchewan is considered a ‘prairie province’ in the middle of Canada. It is the size of Texas with the population if Rhode Island, and it is blessed with nearly as much fresh water as Michigan. It also has the beaver IQ of a three-legged pit bull with an eye infection. And this been going on for more years than I can count.

exploding beaverSaskatchewan is the source of sole dark passage in Jari Osborne’s famous beaver documentary. Long ago its outrageous allegations about the ‘exploding beaver population’ inspired one of my favorite early graphics. While Alberta and Ontario have been making real strides in progressive beaver management, it remains as mentally challenged as it can possibly be.   You know those articles you read in National Geographic about tiny tribes in the middle of the amazon that have never seen any part of civilization and don’t know how forks work? Well, every evolutionary stride in beaver management has entirely passed them by. They have only a single tool in their tattered collective box.

And it always looks like a hammer.

Saskatchewan beaver derby sparks fierce debate

It’s the first year for the derby, which runs until May 10. The competition offers cash prizes to hunters or trappers who kill the largest beaver or who come up with the most combined weight in beaver carcasses in 40 days.

The Saskatchewan Trappers Association says the derby helps eliminate bad hunting practices and teaches others how to utilize the entire animal carcass and fur.

It says at this time of year beavers are often killed and left in the field to rot.

“The main thing is that we don’t want to see these animals left in the field of decay and rot without using the entire fur resource,” said spokesman Ken Gartner.

Really? I’m pretty sure that main thing Saskatchewan wants to see is fewer beavers. But if the STA wants to say this ethnic cleansing is to teach hunters to use the entire animal carcass, go ahead.  That’s really the best you could come up with? Not preserving a way of life, or allowing other generations to learn from their fathers about trapping or reducing giardisis in the water or some such bullshit? I’m reminded of a favorite Leslie Knope quote.

Fur-bearer defenders suggests you write a letter to Herb Cox, Minister of Environment (regardless of where you live at I haven’t yet because I’ve been overwhelmed by the enormity of this level of ignorance. I can’t understand why the entire country isn’t humiliated by recurring national and international discussions of these problem-solving black holes and photos like these blasted all over the internet.

A fine day in which Mr. Muir was entirely surrounded by beavers

Posted by heidi08 On April - 24 - 2016Comments Off on A fine day in which Mr. Muir was entirely surrounded by beavers

CaptureYesterday we found ourselves surrounded by the very best helpers, which was just as well because the beaver hat activity was more successful than any we’d ever tried. Literally hundreds of children and their parents made and wore hats. We used up all our pre-cut bags, and two roles of craft paper PLUS scraps. Children worked with their parents or with our amazing helpers and independently. And they were delighted to put them on. i don't need teeth

Every where you walked around Earth day you saw a sea of beaver hats. People wore them when they ate lunch and when the browsed the other booths. They wore them with their own hats or with personal touches like flowers or buttons.

sideby side - CopyThere was bright weather and an awesome turnout. There were amazing beaver connections made at every level. And there were questions about our beavers and real hope that they would come back.  There were even people I recognizer as against the beavers who were sorry to see them go. And lots of people who knew why yesterday’s article was silly.

worth a dam awardOh, and there were awards. Which was pretty affirming if you think about it. Here’s Jon accepting the Conservation award with the president of the association and the superintendent of all the Bay Area national parks.

3There was also special recognition from Congress signed by both Saulnier and Thompson which Cheryl accepted. We missed George Miller by a year, but I know he knows about the beavers and likes us anyway.

And an unexpected award from the county commissioners specifically naming ‘Heidi Perryman’ and ‘her determination.’

Which makes me very happy. Because I didn’t even know they gave awards for stubbornness, did you?


And it should be, it should be, it should be like that!

Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat.

He meant what he said

And he said what he meant…”

And they sent him home happy

100 Percent.

What on Earth [Day]?

Posted by heidi08 On April - 23 - 2016Comments Off on What on Earth [Day]?

Yesterday I was irked beyond reason by this article, and ended the busy day of Earth Day preparations by knocking out a letter to the editor in protest. Clearly, somebody had to do it.

With beavers gone, fish migrating in creek

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Last week, another species of fish was spotted migrating up Alhambra Creek near Ward Street. The rare sighting is the second of its kind since January of this year, and is a positive marker for the local watershed.

While the January sighting was identified as a single Steelhead, the larger school of fish seen Saturday, April 13, were Sacramento Suckers. Several sightings of the suckers have since taken place in the pools near Ward Street.

The suckers are a native species of minnow. The hearty fish that thrives in warmer, muddier water, can easily reach over a foot long. According to Michelle Leicester, a biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, these fish usually prefer deep pools and undercuts common in reservoirs.

“More than likely, they will be able to complete their spawn and return to their pool habitat before flows drop too precipitously,” Leicester said.

But why the sudden reappearance of migrating fish? There’s some speculation it may be due to the absence of beaver dams in the creek.

“It’s a grey area,” said Gordon Becker, senior fisheries scientist with the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration (CEMAR). “If you have a narrow channel and good engineers (beavers), it’s possible passage could be restricted.”

After the deaths of several young beavers and the apparent absence of adult beavers that once populated the area, the City removed the dams and dug deeper channels throughout the creek last October. The alterations were performed in the hope that predicted El Nino rains wouldn’t flood the downtown business district. Since that time, no beavers have been spotted in Alhambra Creek, but more fish have begun to appear.

Now I realize that this well-intentioned article gives credit to the beavers for making the creek a better place to be. But it very clearly states that fish were prevented from going upstream to spawn because of the dams, and that beavers finished off their helpful cycle by leaving. All these fish they’re “suddenly seeing now” were there before, and we can prove it.

There’s a reason they didn’t notice them before. Can you guess what that is?

The editor wrote back in alarm last night and said they had talk to many knowledgeable fishermen to source this article including a “70 year old man who had been fishing the creek for 60 years and never seen spawning so high”. She was surprised I wasn’t pleased with the article and the way it credited the beavers! You know me, so unappreciative of damming with feint praise efforts in the media.

I pointed out the TITLE and the fact that if she had spoken to Worth A Dam we could have shown her a decade of footage documenting suckers AND steelhead in the creek WITH the beavers here. In fact the reason I even know about suckers is because Moses took footage of them spawning in the creek BEFORE the flow device, when the dam was 5 feet and I contacted folk to find out what they were.

I also pointed out, just because people were seeing MORE fish in the creek now that the water level was LOW didn’t mean that conditions were better for the fish themselves. Normally all those fish are happily in the water. Where fish are supposed to be.

facepalmWe’ll see if the letter gets published.  At least the expert they talked to wasn’t as ignorant as they were, and most of what they said made sense. In the meantime, we all need beavers and pizza to cheer us up.

So a beaver walks into a pizzeria…

THUNDER BAY – A beaver ventured far from home Thursday and eventually found itself outside of a local pizzeria across from County Fair.

The beaver tried to enter Franki’s Pizzeria via a back entrance when a staff member opened the door. The animal’s attempt to enter were successfully thwarted.

“How it got here, I do not know but it came from the gas station, apparently walked all the way down Regina Avenue and then ended up at our front door and ventured off into the back alleyway,” said Frank Franze who owns Franki’s Pizzeria.

I love the fearless purposefulness of that beaver, just heading were instinct leads him regardless of te concrete. Don’t worry about the fate of the little disperser. Apparently no one from animal control would come help, but a nice trapper brought him back to the water.

And your parents took that puppy to live at the farm. I promise.

salmon adOhh and I almost forgot, these AWESOME photos from the library event at Mountain House. Look familiar?

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Helping the Helpers

Posted by heidi08 On April - 22 - 2016Comments Off on Helping the Helpers

Tomorrow is Earthday Birthday celebration at the John Muir Historic  site and the AWARD WINNING nonprofit Worth A Dam will be on hand to answer beaver questions and do a fun beaver activity with the children.  Here is a noble volunteer demonstrating said activity.IMG_0768IMG_0770


Now usually our activities are run by a handful of loyals who form the backbone of Worth A Dam. But this year  two of our core members are literally out of state, and FRO has gotten so busy being an artist that we only get her for the festival, so I got a little panicky and started asking for help. I asked Deidre of Oakland who runs the silent auction at the festival. And she was doing another event in the morning but was happy to come in the afternoon. Then I thought of these charming girls and their hardy grandma. They have been beaver supporters since the very beginning, know everything about them, and even asked about doing a children’s booth at the next festival. Here they are on the footbridge after watching Jari Osborne’s “Leave it to beaver’ documentary on PBS. They will be helping in the morning with their intrpid grandma!

Not fully staffed yet, I thought I’d reach out to Caitlin McCombs of Mountain House.  She was very interested in learning about how to help and agreed to come all day! She even had the courage to be exited about it! So I felt pretty confident we could carry the day off well.

It never rains but it pours, they say. Yesterday I got an unexpected message from someone I never met who’s a student at UCB ‘naturalist’ program named Leslie. She lives in town, works for the city, and wondered if she could help in preparation for a presentation she’s giving in May that needs a service component. Surprisingly, she is coming to help us unload and staying all day tomorrow.

Well, okay then.

I figure if we end up with more volunteers than actual children, I’ll talk April and Alana to being undercover agents and get them to recruit.  Or just pretend their doing the activity and having ENORMOUS fun and make other kids come investigate. So it will all work I’m sure.

Or, we can leave it all to their capable hands and Jon and I can just drive to Reno. :-)

Just to keep us all on our toes, there was another dramatic story of a beaver attack yesterday. This one from Latvia. It hasn’t received multiple reports yet, but I’m waiting.

Beaver attacks Latvian man, who couldn’t be helped because police thought his report was a prank call

Inna Plavoka, editor at the local Seychas daily newspaper, told Latvian Radio 4 that the man, who was referred to only as Sergei, was walking outside late at night when a beaver ran up out of the bushes and bit him in the leg. Knocked to the ground, he tried to get up and run away, only to be bitten again.

The beaver then stood guard, refusing to let him get up. In the words of the Latvian Public Broadcasting report: “The beaver was in effect holding Sergei hostage.”

Sergei attempted to call police for help, but was hung up on because they believed he was making a prank call. So he then tried a friend, who also believed him to be joking, until Sergei finally convinced him he was in peril.

Then the beaver was holding him HOSTAGE and he couldn’t get away. His friend sped to the police to get help and was pulled over for speeding. When he told them what he was doing they thought he was drunk and asked him to submit to a breathalyzer.

I think I’m drunk just because I’m typing this BS.

So a beaver, leapt in the to attack a TWO MEN, bit one twice, and then HELD that man hostage?  And the police didn’t believe it because it was unbelievable? And the article reports its true but only manages the first name of Sergie? I find myself unable to offer a comment on this claim. I’m going to have to rely on my good friend Monty to help.

Ooh look! Another Theft!

Posted by heidi08 On April - 18 - 2016Comments Off on Ooh look! Another Theft!

It wasn’t three months ago that I last wrote the Bangor Daily News to inform them that this stolen photo was the property of Ms. Cheryl Reynolds. They assured me the error was unintentional and they would take it down. You can tell the quality of their sincerity and alarm with this new article this morning.


Last time they stole this photo it was for an article by Mr. Smith of how much fun beaver were to trap. This time he’s writing about how even though they’re annoying and stupid they’re still sometimes fun to observe.

Apparently, he has never found them ‘fun’ enough to take his own dam photos.

It’s always exciting to see bears and bobcats, but how about beaver?

Both Mainers and tourists love to see – and sometimes even interact – with wildlife. I’ve probably had more encounters with wildlife than many folks, given the time I spend outdoors in the wood, and on the waters of our state. Here is the second in a series relating some of my more memorable encounters.


Beaver can be destructive but fun. We have four beaver houses on Hopkins Stream that passes by our house. We had two relatively new apple trees on our front lawn one year, and when I went out to get the morning newspaper, I did a double-take. One tree was completely gone – a tasty treat for the family of beaver living on the stream. That year I put metal pieces around the trees I wanted to save, and that did the trick.

Beaver love apples, but they’re not smart. After they eat the apples, they also eat the tree! If you look carefully, every fall you’ll see a beaten down path from the stream across our side lawn to the apple trees, where the beavers chow down. One evening I pulled into the driveway and my vehicle’s lights lit up a huge beaver in the driveway with a big red apple in his mouth. Wish I’d gotten a photo of that!

Beaver are not great at sharing their space either. Quite often, fishing a favorite stream up near camp, a beaver will come out of its house to slap the water with its tale, a warning to me to get out of their water. One time I was standing in the water where a small beaver dam had created a nice pond full of trout, when a beaver came out of its house, slamming its tail on the water. When I didn’t immediately retreat, it dived and headed for me. I could see it coming. Not sure of what it planned to do to me, I quickly retreated up stream.

A few years ago beaver moved into the bog on my woodlot and built a dam on a tiny brook, completely flooding the bog and making it hard for me to get through it and to hunt there. I asked a friend to trap beaver there that winter, and he caught several small beaver, but no large ones. The flooded water now covers a huge area, so I asked my trapper friend to return this winter. He scouted around and reported that he’d seen no sign that beaver were still there, and recommended that I breach the dam and drain the water. I’m going to do that soon.

That’s right. George knows beavers are unintelligent because even though they like apples – they eat the apple tree! (We, of course, are certainly smarter, because since we like our scrambled eggs in the morning, we never, ever eat the chickens. Right?) He also complains that beavers flooded his BOG. Because you know it was such a nice dry patch of land before the beavers ruined it.

I can only assume he knows what the word means.

More secret messages for California. This time with some of my favorite antiquated images of beaver.



I’ve been happily enjoying Moby Dick, most recently because the narrator’s intelligent, critical voice when he reviews famous images of whales reminds me of Wikipedia Rick when he did the same thing with historic writing about beavers. I was especially moved by his words about the dangers of the sea and how ignorant we are of this from the land.

“That same ocean rolls now; that same ocean destroyed the wrecked ships of last year. Yea, foolish mortals, Noah’s flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.”

Herman Melville