Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Beaver Attack!

Posted by heidi08 On July - 29 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Aggressive ‘Justin’ beaver attacks dogs, scares swimmers

“He’s got some pretty big ferocious claws and teeth,” said Fiona Gibson, who said she was once charged by the aggressive animal. “He came at me! I was surprised, it’s not something you expect from a beaver or a rodent,” she said.

Justin’s aggressive antics are so well-known that he’s even been ratted out to the BC Conservation Officer service.“The Conservation Officer Service received a report that there was an aggressive beaver that possibly attacked a resident’s dog,” said CO Daniel Eichstadter.

But conservation says the rodent is just acting in defence, and the public needs to do its part to steer clear and keep dogs on a leash.

What a mean beaver! Refusing to play with that nice big dog they sent to wrestle with him. Why on earth would he ever, ever harm him? And what possible explanation is there for him coming out at dawn and coming out again in the mornings. Seems pretty darened suspicious if you ask me.


Olympic Village park welcomes new baby beaver

A young Vancouver couple is making a big splash with their first child, probably because this Olympic Village family has webbed feet, and a big tail. Park Board biologist Nick Page says a pair of beavers moved into Hinge Park last summer and have added another member to the family.

He says that while urban wildlife has been recovering in recent years, this birth is particularly exciting.

 “Beavers I mean, they’re sort of this iconic animal for Canadians generally, they were part of the fur trade and part of colonial development of Canada, and now they’re returning to the city after their populations had been trapped and hunted out in many parts of B.C.”

Ahhh I miss the kit-love of summer. Looks like we might not get any vicarious parenthood from Napa which appears to be taking the summer off. Still I’m hopeful that we’ll see kits eventually. Based on that mating Moses filmed I’m expecting bright shining faces in early October. Aren’t you?

Hostile Territory

Posted by heidi08 On July - 28 - 2016ADD COMMENTS
beaver dick

To read more about this photo click on it.

Ahh memories!

I haven’t addressed such a beaver-hostile room  since 2008.  You forget what it’s like, the rude ignoring of what you’re actually saying while they wait for their chance to explain why its not true. The ignorant questions that come right after you answered them because they weren’t really listening anyway. Let’s not beat around the bush. There’s a REASON Placer kills 7 times more beavers than any where in the state.

The most surprising part to me. and truly this wasn’t my first rodeo,  was the fact that 4 out of 5 of the commissioners NEVER EVEN LOOKED UP AT THE SCREEN to see what I was presenting. Seriously. Fancy bureaucratic leather swivel chairs never once swivelled to see the footage of beaver, otter, merganser, mink etc. I thought maybe there was another screen I couldn’t see hidden from my view. But no. They truly NEVER LOOKED. Just stared blankly at me with steely opposition.

Well, they were forced to listen anyway to  25 minutes of the best damned beaver information they ever endured. And after it was over and the stubbornest  ‘old boy’ of the resistance brigade said something about how the research didn’t apply to them because THEIR salmon had to go SO far and were too tired to jump a stinky beaver dam. No really. Tired aching salmon who didn’t believe that crazy NOAA research. At this  two REMARKABLE voices broke into the conversation from the back of the room: one was Damion Ciotti from Fish and Wildlife the other a reservation manager in Placer whose name I didn’t catch.

They addressed the unsootheable fears and talked about how even high beaver dams blow out and let salmon pass, and how much BETTER things were when they started to work with their beavers rather than trap them. The gave examples of specific projects in specific areas that had shown dramatically positive results. They were, in a word, wonderful beyond anything I could have hoped.

The resistance brigade coughed and asked  their credentials and then asked for their card, and then coughed some more. Then one of the thugs actually asked for MY number to talk to a Roseville colleague where they were having problems. He  explained that they  told them they had ‘moved the beavers’ but he thought they said they could use some help for next time. I said I’d be happy to talk to them, but that was unlikely they had been moved since beaver relocation was illegal in CA.

I commented that his friend may have told them they went to live ‘on the farm’ but in that probably wasn’t true. That got my only laugh of the day which I guess was something. Then Damion talked some more, they pontificated some more, and said that Jack Sanchez of SARSAS was wrong to be so excited about beaver, and mentioned the member who I’m sure is responsible for the Mary Tappel presentation every year.

beaverAnd tjanet eaverhen we were finished, and I got to chat a little with the wonderful supporters there who stayed behind to address the beaver dicks more. And supporter Janet Thew who bravely attended and helps at the festival every year told me to come to her car and showed me THE most amazing bronze beaver sculpture she had recently bought.This photo doesn’t do it justice, but believe me it was the best part of a long night!


Afterwards we asked ourselves, was it worth it? It was HOT in Auburn and we passed through temperatures of 111 to get there in our 1.5 hr drive each way. I still can’t believe they never glanced at the screen. I think maybe its like when you’re a child and your mom insists you try a food you KNOW you’re going to hate. You may force yourself to swallow it – but you NEVER taste it

Here’s what I am sure of. That last night the county that kills the most beavers of anywhere in the entire state received some of the very best beaver information they ever encountered and were forced to spend time actually thinking and talking about their irrational beliefs. They listened to beaver advocates and scientists from their own neighborhood and realized they weren’t the only opinion in town. Or possibly even the most informed.

And then I got to leave and come back to a city that had actually saved its beavers, and was having a festival in 9 days.



Into the Belly of the Beast

Posted by heidi08 On July - 27 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

agendaWish me luck!

Beaver Mania

Posted by heidi08 On July - 21 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Mania

Arriving at the beaver festival with all the parts in tact is no easy feat. It takes just about every skill I possess and the full help of every single person I can persuade to assist. August 6 becomes an end in itself. And there is no thought for August 7 beyond returning everything and taking back the truck. Certainly there is no thought for August 8.

But I’m inviting us all to see beyond that curtain and think of what comes next. A very special and unique event that’s part of this 10-day celebration of urban wildlife offered in conjunction with the Forestry Service and local businesses. Of course my favorite day will be this event on September 16th at the Empress Theater in Vallejo. As far as I can tell you don’t need to reserve a space and the event is free. The theater sits 400 or something so just SHOW UP and show your support for beavers.beaver mania



That’s right, a screening of our favorite Jari Osboure documentary,  a talk by Kate Lundquist of the OAEC and a presention by  myself of the Martinez Beavers.  Is there anything more exciting than THAT? So in August the beavers get a party and in September they get an onstage premiere. And in October there is a very good chance we’ll see kits.

Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen because this year the festival is just the beginning!

Farming Friends and Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 19 - 2016Comments Off on Farming Friends and Beavers

Oh the farmer and the beaver should be friends,
Oh the farmer and the beaver should be friends,
The beaver likes to build his dams
The farmer plants his corn and yams
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

You know I already did a complete rendition of this song for the salmon in 2011, but I guess the beavers have lots of friends, (and don’t it’s not my fault if dam just naturally rhymes with yam, okay?)




Pond and Slower Streams created by Beaver Serve as Nitrogen Sinks

Beavers, once valued for their fur, may soon have more appreciation in the Northeastern United States. There they are helping prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching the area’s vulnerable estuaries. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, they aid in removing nitrogen from the water.

Arthur Gold at the University of Rhode Island, along with his colleagues, studies how the presence of beavers affects nitrogen levels in these waters. “What motivated us initially to study this process was that we were aware of the fact that beaver ponds were increasing across the Northeast,” he said. “We observed in our other studies on nitrogen movement that when a beaver pond was upstream, it would confound our results.

Those darn confounding beavers, ruining Suzanne Fouty’s drought research and Glynnis Hood’s nine year study with their crafty, research ruining ways. Just look at our beavers in Martinez! Confounding their memorial by continuing to exist!

The researchers realized the water retention time and organic matter build up within beavers’ ponds lead to the creation of ideal conditions for nitrogen removal. They then wanted to see how effectively they can do this. The researchers tested the transformative power of the soil by taking sample cores and adding nitrogen to them. These samples, about the size of a large soda bottle, were large enough to incorporate the factors that generate chemical and biological processes that take place in the much larger pond. They were also small enough to be replicated, manageable and measured for numerous changes. Researchers then added a special type of nitrogen to the samples that allowed them to be able to tell if the nitrogen was transformed and how.

Bacteria in the organic matter and soil were able to transform nitrogen, specifically as nitrate, into nitrogen gas, removing it from the system. Thanks to the conditions brought about by the beaver ponds, this process can remove approximately 5-45% of the nitrogen in the water, depending on the pond and amount of nitrogen present.

“I think what was impressive to us was that the rates were so high,” Gold explained. “They were high enough and beavers are becoming common enough, so that when we started to scale up we realized that the ponds can make a notable difference in the amount of nitrate that flows from our streams to our estuaries.

Ahh those rascally beavers, fixing our nitrogen problems and saving our salmon. I’m sure farmers will be rushing to lay down their dynamite and welcome these flat-tailed eco-heroes, right? I won’t hold my breath. It takes a lot of effort on all sides to change hearts and minds about beavers – which we learned first hand in Martinez.

Speaking of which, the drama was apparently a big enough deal (even in Washington) that I’m allowed officially to say it will be recognized by our Congressman at the beaver festival with an award and visit, and some discussing of the slim possibility of adding the Martinez Beavers to the congressional record.

No really.


Beaver Mystery

Posted by heidi08 On July - 18 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Mystery

beaver mysteryYou would think, wouldn’t you, that after 10 frickin years of watching a single beaver family you would actually have a clue about what to expect. I mean after ten years of marriage there really aren’t many surprises, ten years as a parent you’re pretty much ready for anything, and after ten years at the office there really isn’t anything new under the sun.

But beavers, apparently, are an eternal mystery

We saw both Wayward Street beavers on Friday as you know and Jon saw them in the evening over the weekend a couple times. This morning we went down to see them again and say only one small cautious beaver. Where was mom? Was she hiding out? Then Moses drove up and said he had been filming mom working on the dam at the OTHER place down stream. (!!!) He showed me the footage, and thought she looked very pregnant, which I think she might be but can’t imagine it is late enough for her to show, since he just filmed them mating 5 weeks ago and she should be due until September.

Why didn’t dad go with her back to their old haunts? It was a very high tide last night, and will be again tomorrow. Will he move down to be with her eventually? Are they sick of each other? Are they taking a break? Has he met someone else? Or could this possibly be a whole NEW beaver?

We don’t know. We have no way of knowing, and the beavers obviously aren’t talking. Stay Tuned.

The Importance of being Ernst

Posted by heidi08 On July - 17 - 2016Comments Off on The Importance of being Ernst

Sometimes even the back of the class earns a gold star. The Ernst trail  in Meadville PA lies in the upper left hand corner of the state near Ohio. Neither state has been particularly progressive on beaver management issues in the past, so I was thrilled to see this. Remember the trapper who said he was only going to take the ‘soldier beavers’?

ON THE ERNST TRAIL: Importance of beaver pond outweighs potential flooding

In the spring of 2015 the water, in the wetland, just south of Bean’s, on the west side of the Ernst Trail, began to rise precipitously up toward the trail. The water was also rising on the east side of the trail. We were concerned that the water might flow over the trail and perhaps damage the trail surface.

A short investigation revealed that beavers had dammed up the two culverts that drain from the west side of the trail to the east side and that there were many small dams on the east side as well. The board of directors decided to act.

In the course of trying to figure out what to do I visited the trail one June day last year at lunch with Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Mark Allegro. He was busy with nuisance bear complaints and only had time at lunch to consider our beaver problem. Mark pointed out that there weren’t any good options; our best hope was to wait for trapping season and get a trapper to trap the beavers

Since it was a nice noon-time, many people were on the trail, several of them recognized Mark, who was in uniform, and commented on wildlife they had seen along the trail. One person pointed out a huge snapping turtle on a log in the beaver pond, about 30 feet from the trail. Another showed me a couple of snakes alongside the trail that I had walked right by. Others noted birds they had seen, signs of beaver activity and so on. Our beaver pond was generating quite a bit of interest for trail users.

To better understand what a beaver pond had to offer, I talked to Scott Wissinger, an ecology professor at Allegheny College. Here’s what he said: “Because beaver ponds create so many different types of sub habitats of different shallow depths, flow regimes, plant communities and invertebrate communities, they are considered hot beds of biological diversity. Even if people don’t really care about invertebrate and plant diversity, they might care because the invertebrates and plants (especially their seeds) are magnets for charismatic animals that people do care about — fish, waterfowl, songbirds, amphibians and reptiles.”

With all this life attracted to the beaver pond, our board of directors decided to let the beavers alone. We’ll take our chances on the flooding.

Yes, if you need advice on trapping, go to the Game Warden, but if you need advice on BEAVERS go to college. I’m so hopeful about this article and will be working hard to get in touch with the author so he can see how to prevent flooding AND keep beavers. I can’t tell you how impressed I am that the people on the trail got you thinking about the enormous impact a beaver pond has on wildlife. And so glad that you listened, and kept asking questions because that isn’t easy to do when a man in a uniform tells you to give up.

Shout out to Janet Thew who posted on FB about the beaver totem skins offered by Decalgal. Of course I wrote her WRITE AWAY and she said she’d be delighted to donate to the silent auction. How much do you love this?

Final gift from Moses Silva filmed at the noisy crane work station by the beaver home. I guess not everyone is intimidated by progress.