Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Nativity Parade in UK?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 19 - 2015Comments Off

Beavers may get UK citizenship

BEAVERS could be declared a native British animal — for the first time in 400 years — after scientists found that at least three populations have become established in rivers from Scotland to Devon.

 The biggest group of 150 animals live on the Tay, where, as in the River Otter in Devon, they have become a tourist attraction. Both are thought to have been illegal reintroductions.  Another population is also growing at Knapdale in Scotland — the only one based on licensed releases.

The government had planned to classify beavers as non-natives under the Infrastructure Bill. This would have made future unlicensed releases illegal and prevented beavers from gaining protection in areas where they have become established.

Now Defra, the environment ministry, has said it will consider declaring them natives, subject to a study being carried out on the Knapdale population’s integration with other land uses.

What? DEFRA might call beavers native? After all of England spent centuries of extinction following centuries of economic harassment, it might at last recognize their rightful place? Be still my heart!

Oh right, it already is.

Wait, are beavers native to the United Kingdom. This is from the Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century AD. The illuminated manuscript descended from the Royal Library of Henry the VIII to the university on the east highlands of Scotland.

CaptureDe castore. Est animal quod dicitur castor mansuetum nimis, cuius testiculi medicine sunt aptissimi, de quo dicit Phisiologus, quia cum vena torem se insequentem cog novit, morsu testiculos sibi abscidit, et in faciem vena toris eos proicit et sic fugiens  evadit.

Of the beaver There is an animal called the beaver, which is extremely gentle; its testicles are highly suitable for medicine. Physiologus says of it that, when it knows that a hunter is pursuing it, it bites off its testicles and throws them in the hunter’s face and, taking flight, escapes.

Laying aside the obvious impossibility of this fanciful account, (Given the fondness males of any species seem to feel for their testicles) we can at least establish that the United Kingdom once had access to beavers, because they were, in fact, native, and if something WAS native, that means it IS native, and you dam well know it, so stop trying to pretend like it’s a big decision or that you’re being generous by calling it native. It’s as native as humans are on British soil, or more so I’d wager if we were looking at the fossil record.

So there.

CaptureFur- Bearer Defender’s Interview with Michael Runtz, author and photographer of Dam Builders.

Some unexpected rescues

Posted by heidi08 On January - 15 - 2015Comments Off

44-pound beaver captured at Tempe Town Lake


Click to go to video

Stay tuned for more exciting wildlife break thru’s from AZ Central, like deformed turtle body almost entirely engulfed with shell and 13 foot tall giraffe discovered to be too awkwardly shaped to reach water!   Thank goodness the team was on hand to rescue this little ‘fat mess’. I hope they found something actually WRONG with this beaver if they end up keeping him for a month.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Arizona. Just because we here in Martinez know that 44 pounds is the weight of a subadult, why should they?

Here’s a slightly smarter wildlife rescue from Virgina. Seems a beaver of almost exactly the same size was chewing a tree that fell vertically on his tail and trapped him there.


Between a Tree and a Hard Place

When I got there, I pulled around the corner and saw this small woman just pacing back and forth in front of a large truck; as soon as I pulled in the driveway, she ran up to my window and told me to jump in her truck because she didn’t think that my car could make it through the field without getting stuck. The setting was a wooded hillside, slippery from rain the day before. I parked my car, grabbed my capture gloves, a couple of towels, and my transport crate and off we went. We drove through two fields over to her husband’s truck, where the beaver was trapped under a tree next to the river.

I climbed over a short barbed wire fence and got my first glimpse of what I was up against. First of all, the poor little guy was not so little – the beaver weighed about 45 pounds. Knowing how some beavers grow to nearly twice that weight, I was fairly lucky on that count. Somehow, as this beaver had chewed through a 50-foot tall tree; the tree had “fallen” and landed on the beaver’s tail! The tree was still standing up vertically, about a foot away from the stump and was directly on top of the beaver’s tail, pinning him to the ground.

Poor little beaver! Fortunately for him the rescuer got the neighbor with a tractor to lift the tree so the beaver could be wrapped up in towels and brought to the vet. (If you read the story you’ll understand why I’m grateful his ‘first idea’ didn’t work – pulling straight back with the tractor!) The vet determined that the hardy beaver needed only single suture and was ready to be released the next day. Hurray for Virginia wildlife rescues!

Tomorrow we have a Very Important Meeting with the state agency that issued the most beaver depredation permits in California. Thanks to all our helpers and special thanks to Robin from Napa who got this started. Wish us Luck! But honestly, even if it goes spectacuarly badly, Lord knows it will still be the most informative meeting about beavers they’ve ever had.

Raise your hand if you think Worth A Dam’s meeting with Fish and Game is a strange marriage. Oh and Jean saw two beavers last night at the secondary dam at 5:15, Wishing us good luck?

We need an animator to do this right…

Posted by heidi08 On January - 13 - 2015Comments Off

key hole beaver message

New Jersey reconsiders old legislation

Posted by heidi08 On January - 10 - 2015Comments Off


Removes statutory limitation on number of permits that may be issued by Division of Fish and Wildlife for the taking of beaver. The Division of Fish and Wildlife may issue up to and not exceeding 200 permits in any one calendar year

In addition to the general permitting authority provided by this section, the Division of Fish and Wildlife may, in its discretion, issue permits to owners or lessees of land to control beavers that are destroying [said] the property.

Beaver trapping could be expanded in New Jersey

What might be good news for trappers across New Jersey could also be bad news for the state’s beaver population. Legislation under consideration in the state Senate would eliminate the 200-limit cap on beaver trapping licenses. The legislation, though, calls for a limit of five beavers per permit and sets fines for violating the measure starting at $100, with a $200 maximum.

Supporters of the bill say it’s necessary to help the state manage beaver populations. The Control Operators Association estimates New Jersey has around 10 million to 15 million beavers, mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Wow. That’s AMAZING 15,000,000 beavers in a small section of a state the size of a postage stamp is one big problem! I’m sorry to say it, but this explosive problem won’t be fixed by writing a few more permits. 15,000,000 beavers in a state with 1300 square miles of water is a national disaster. It’s going to have to be solved by military strikes and the navy. The population of HUMANS in new Jersey n the 2013 census was only around 8.9 million. In order for that to be true you’d have to have over 11,000 beaver per square mile of water. That’s pretty crowded!

Like penguin colony crowded.

Or I guess  you might be exaggerating.  You know, flat out lying to justify your case so that this reach-around for your trapper friends seems justified. Or maybe the reporter wrote down the facts wrong. We know that never (always) happens.

If all this is sounding vaguely familiar, it should. Because the honorable Mr. Sweeney has been trying to ram this bill through the legislature for as long as I’ve been on the beaver beat. Here’s what I wrote about it in 2013.

Congress may be unable to pass a background check, a budget or a resolution for more stalls in the ladies restroom, but a bipartisan group of state senators in New Jersey has decided that the old rule declaring that the division of fish and wildlife can only issue 200 depredation permits for beavers per year is insufficient to the numbers of beavers that need killing in the state. Remember that the state is the fifth smallest in the entire country and about the size of a postage stamp.

The white hats are on the case, and sent me an alert earlier in the week even before this hit the papers. Hopefully they’ll be able to slow this down, or just challenge the lies enough to make one legislator turn tail (so to speak).  The whole thing is on the floor monday morning.

Monday January 12
Senate Environment and Energy Meeting 10:00 AM Committee Room 10, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ
Chair: Sen. Smith, Bob

The paper points out that trapper Frank Speicker doesn’t want us to worry.

 Spiecker added that, if managed well, beavers can be a renewable resource. Plus, he said, they’re not easy to trap, frequently outsmarting trappers.

 ”Sometimes they win completely,” he said.


If you’re not quite reassured, you can send your letters here to the chair and vice chair of Environment and Energy here.   And then let’s just sit back and  enjoy the thought of what it would mean to really have 1500000 beavers in every state.


Beavers on the radio

Posted by heidi08 On January - 7 - 20152 COMMENTS

CaptureThis is half of a great interview from CBC and half an ad campaign for the trapping industry. The best part is with Michael Runtz, who’s book is coming out any minute. The whole thing is an interesting study on the unlevel playing fields between people who know what they’re talking about and people who make stuff up with regards to beavers. Here’s B.S. central:

“If we could find a way to keep beaver away from those roads, we wouldn’t have to destroy them. But there’s no way they have found that they can do that yet,” said Barnes.

 My posted comment

 ”If they could find a way?”

The ways of coexisting with beaver are known and documented, and expert Glynnis Hood located in his own province can install them. That makes as much sense as saying “If there were some way to look up for sure how to spell a word correctly, I would do it.

 Anyone smarter than a beaver knows how and why to live with them.

Beavers impact on forest and industry ‘dam’ complicated

Balancing the impact of beavers and their dams on the ecosystem and industry is a complicated process, according to a retired Lakehead University biologist.

The comments from Don Barnes come after an Alberta mining company was fined $1,500 for destroying a dam near Savant Lake in northwestern Ontario.

‘It creates water’

 ”It creates water, where there wasn’t water before so ducks get in there, muskrats. And all those dead trees that are flooded, they become homes for the woodpecker and pine marten,” said Barnes

michael-runtzMichael Runtz said the beaver pools are also vital to the health of moose.

Runtz is a wildlife photographer and lecturer at Carleton University.

His latest book, ‘Dam Builders: A Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds’, will be published in Feb. 2015.

 Runtz said the edges of beaver ponds are the preferred habitat for many sodium-rich plants.

 He said moose are particularly drawn to these salty treats.

 Michael Runtz has written, and provided the photographs for the new book “Dam Builders: The Natural History of Beavers and Their Ponds.” It will be available on Feb. 1, 2015. (Carleton University)

 ”And I dare say, if we didn’t have beavers and beaver ponds in the boreal forest, we’d have a paucity of moose. Moose get most of their sodium from plants growing in beaver ponds.”

This is Michael’s book which Amazon assures me is coming out ANY DAY NOW. He is a good friend of Donna DuBreuil of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, and we’ve corresponded in the past. It makes me insane that this article didn’t talk to a single person who knows how to solve the problems beaver cause. It makes me insane that Michael didn’t say it himself or that if he said it they edited it out.

But I am very picky about this subject, and I guess having the discussion is dimly better than not having it.

In case you missed it last night, Leonard Houston gave a great beaver interview on KMUD’s Environment Show with Kelly Lincoln. I thought her questions were remarkably water-astute and realized she must have some Brock-Dolman based permaculture training in her recent past. She’s interviewing Kate Lundquist next week.

Oh and there was a special surprise caller you may recognize.


Beavers Kill Cows and Goodbye to 2014

Posted by heidi08 On December - 31 - 2014Comments Off

It’s time for the annual year in review for beavers, but before we bask in our accomplishments, lets have one more dose of beaver-stupid from Iowa.

Beaver dam may explain death of 17 head of cattle

MOVILLE — Seventeen cows recently perished, apparently victims of a beaver dam. One bull and 16 bred females died, all owned by Dave Groepper of rural Kingsley. He found all of them in a creek bed early Dec. 6.

 “I think it’s safe to say that if a beaver dam wasn’t there, we’d be in good shape,” Groepper says.

 Beavers build their dam on the Davis farm one mile west of Moville. The beavers’ dam work slowed water flow in the creek, allowing 3 to 4 feet of water to back up and sit largely still immediately west of the dam. Ice formed atop this pool. All indications are that of 30 head of cattle in this herd, 17 of them drowned. It appears they walked out onto the ice, broke through and couldn’t get out.

First off, lets give credit where credit is due. I’ve been in the beaver biz for a long time, but that is the very best bit of bogus beaver blame I’ve ever encountered – better than beavers causing power outages, beavers starting fires and even beavers destroying medical files. Iowa you win. You’re the very best at this game. Bar none.

Second, why is it that you are so boldly willing to infer that beavers drown cows, while you’ve been so unwilling to say that smoking causes cancer, human activity causes global warming, abstinence counseling in isolation causes teen pregnancy, and voting ID laws target democrats?

You, Iowa, have a mysterious understanding of cause and effect. That must be why we let you vote first. Does it help to collect insurance money if you pin the blame on the beavers rather than the humans who were in charge of those cows?

Is their beaver insurance? Of course not. These animals are too dangerous, no company would carry that risk.


The year sure felt busy, but I’m never sure until I go back through the scrap book and see what happened. One thing’s certain: every time I feel like beavers have finally turned a significant corner and there’s no going back or we we’ve reached a tipping point or the top of the hill finally – there’s always another hurdle. Always. Beaver accomplishments happen in slow motion. Like the tar sands. (Or cows underwater.)

But we’re getting closer. Click on any story for the link to the article.


California cries drought, ignoring water-savers
Jari Osborn’s Canadian beaver documentary nominated for screen award


 Beaver sighting in Devon, England
Claudia Wong KTVU visits beavers to talk about drought


Beaver friends Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie win JMA Conservationists of year award
Beavers at Salmonid Restoration Conference in Santa Barbara
Conference Highlights


 International Nutria day
Jari Osborne’s Canadian Beaver documentary to air on PBS Nature


John Muir Earth day creates an amazing army of beaver supporters (READ this if you read nothing else)
Beavers at Wild birds mother’s day event
My proudest post of 2014. Show time!


Beaver benefits discussed in Carmel paper
Beaver Believers Documentary launched


 Glynnis Hood & students install flow device in Canada
Contra Costa Times promotes beaver festival


Beaver Festival VII a glorious success
Devon England stands up for beavers
Worth A Dam is given access to depredation records and starts analyzing


Martinez Beavers invited to Utah Beaver Festival
Worth A Dam wins Badger-Spirit Award
Martinez Beavers Safari celebrates Wilderness Act


Martinez Beavers at Sulpher Creek Nature Center
Beaver benefits in New York Times


Worth A Dam helps get a flow device installed in Rodeo
NYT reporter and Martinez Beavers on WNPR
We finish Analysis of beaver depredation and arrange to meet with the most deadly county.


 Martinez Beavers at the San Francisco Water Board
Martinez gets visitors from Atlanta and and offers Georgia advice
Thanks for a great year.

Hot Dam!

Posted by heidi08 On December - 30 - 2014Comments Off
DSC_5647And in that creek
(And in that creek)
there were was a dam
(There was a dam)
the prettiest little dam
(The prettiest little dam)
that you ever did see
(That you ever did see)

More work has been done on the secondary. And this time we can admit how happy we are about it. It looks like they are recycling old materials from the washed out dam and reusing them in this one, which is very green of them! I’m just happy to see that the water is backed up far enough now that they won’t need to WALK from the Marina Vista bridge at low tide.

DSC_5642They turned the old dam into a kind of hot tub annex which I really don’t understand, but I’m assuming it will all make sense in time. In the mean while  let’s just enjoy the beavers handiwork for what it is. I was talking to someone the other day who said, “beavers are about as smart as dogs, right?” and I thought about that and answered that they were “Different smart”. “Because we allllllll know dogs would never build a dam.”

DSC_5627A package arrived from England today. Devon to be exact. It was a large  breathtakingly detailed sketch from the amazing wildlife artist Emma Bowring who painted the beaver that was donated to the Devon campaign. I asked Emma for a beaver donation, but in all her career she had only painted one, (on account of there being no beavers in Devon for 500 years until now) so she after some discussion of meerkats and lemurs and she sent the painstakingly drawn sketch for this painting. You will not believe the detail when you see it. A limited print of this painting is a steal at 55 lbs, so the sole, signed original sketch for it is really valuable. Thank you Emma for your generosity and support of beavers.

1950927‘Yellowstone Rut’

 Limited Edition of 195
Image size 12 in x 9.5 in
Mounted Print – £55