Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

In the Shadow of greatness, there oft Stupid lies

Posted by heidi08 On September - 24 - 2014Comments Off

I’m still scratching my head about this article on Port Orchard in Kitsap county. The area actually borders Kings and Snohomish counties which boast the most enduring record of progressive beaver management in the world. They are literally in throwing distance of better solutions everydirection they face. I recognize the reporters name because I’ve written about her glowing intelligent reporting on beavers before. And now this.

Persistent beavers frustrate county workers

PORT ORCHARD — It’s one dam problem that keeps coming back.

 Kitsap County crews have been battling beavers for more than a month below the Long Lake Bridge near Port Orchard.

 The persistent beavers keep rebuilding a dam, which the county removed last week for the third time since Aug. 8, according to Tony Carroll, with the county roads division.

 Beavers can cause roads to flood, endangering drivers.

Trapping and removing the animals has been the county’s answer, until its certified, locally contracted trapper was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leaving the county without a trapper.

 Now, the county is asking the department to help handle the beavers with a $15,000 contract through the end of the year.

So the previous county trapper loved his work so much that he got hired by USDA and now they are subcontracting the work out with a 15,000 a year contract. Hey, I bet you didn’t know that the old name for Kitsap county used to be SLAUGHTER county. Coincidence?

 Typically, the county has about two or three beaver incidents a year when it can trap and remove beavers, according to Andrew Nelson, Kitsap County public works director.

So 5000 dollars a family? That’s your budget? Maybe I’m in the wrong line of work. I couldn’t believe the article didn’t at least mention flow devices, and then I got to this.

Beaver deceivers, specialized fencing to deter beavers and allow fish to migrate, have been placed in some areas to prevent the animals from building dams.

The county and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe teamed up in 2010 to place a beaver deceiver by a culvert along 288th Street in North Kitsap.

 While the fencing is a deterrent, it’s not guaranteed to keep out beavers.

“Believe it or not, they still manage to build inside that culvert,” Carroll said.

Of course they do, those scheming beavers. with their cunning ways and wire-clippers. It couldn’t be that you put them in WRONG or anything, could it? You know, far be it from me be like the loyal republican who says, “Conservatism never fails, it can only BE failed” – but in this case the  tools are automatically suspect. I want to see that beaver deceiver that failed. And Beaver Deceivers helping fish migration? I blame Mike Callahan for that. I knew his specially adapted flow devices would give people the wrong idea. And here’s proof.

For the record, they’re helping fish maneuver the flow device, not the dam.

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On that note, we will say goodbye to the “you’ve got to be kidding me” in Kitsap story, and talked about our favorite topic. Citizens protecting beavers. This time in Milford, MA.

Breach of Milford beaver dam upsets some residents

MILFORD – A few residents joined environmental activist Suzanne Fournier Monday night as she continued to criticize town officials for breaching the dam at Heron Pond.

 Fournier, who wrote in a letter to the editor of The Cabinet last week that removing part of the dam will harm many animal species, told selectmen someone should have consulted the town Conservation Commission and teachers at the nearby Heron Pond elementary school before the work was done.

 “Many teachers are very upset about the loss of this beautiful pond,” she said, and the reasons given for the breach “are not credible.”

 There were complaints about turtles and frogs and a ruined Great Blue Heron Rookery. The Conservation Commission who gave the orders has little to say for itself, but gosh, they’re thinking about using a flow device next time.

Selectmen did not respond to the comments, but Fred Elkind, the town’s environmental programs coordinator, said last week that no real harm was done to the dam or the pond by the breaching, which was done in August.

 The Conservation Commission is looking into the possibility of installing a pipe and fence system, he said, that could help control beaver activity, as Fournier has suggested.

 Now you’re thinking about following her advice? Now that you’ve tried every conceivable way to ruin things on your own? I think your body is laboring under a misnomer.

You should be called the “Destruction Commission”.

And Suzanne, Worth A Dam is VERY proud of you and your neighbors. Your next step is to get the kids in those classrooms and bring them on a fieldtrip to the ruined dam. It’s a science project on habitat and ecosystems. Have them all draw something that was harmed by the damaged wetlands. You know, the frogs and the fish and the blue herons.  Invite the art teacher to cut them out and put them on a mural. And oh, call the media and invite them to photograph kids at the ruined dam.

That flow device will start looking better and better to those commissioners. I guarantee it.

 Final Mural

Beaver Cousins near and far

Posted by heidi08 On September - 23 - 2014Comments Off

These were among the dead trees that had to be removed from Tulocay Creek because a beaver dam downstream created a pond in the channel. The trees were standing in three feet of water which was likely the cause of their death.

Soscol Avenue’s beaver colony creates flood control issues

Protectors of a small colony of beavers on Tulocay Creek near Soscol Avenue became alarmed recently when flood control workers began cutting down dead trees in the middle of the beaver pond.

Ron Swim said he grew concerned when he saw trees being felled near the largest beaver mound, located adjacent to Hawthorne Suites. “I would like to see the wild beaver left alone to do what wild beavers do. They create ponds that will bring fish and ducks,” he said.

Until recently, Swim said he’d lived in Napa for 57 years and never seen a beaver. “It’s a nice addition to the community,” he said.

 Rick Thomasser is the watershed and flood control operations manager with the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. It’s his job to keep creeks clear of possible flood hazards.

 “The beaver habitat is great, but one of the downsides is they fell trees” for dam building, Thomasser said. This, in turn, causes a water back-up, which can drown tree roots and result in the death of the tree, he said.

 That’s exactly what happened near the beaver dam just east of Soscol Avenue. Thomasser said the flood district had been monitoring a number of trees that had been engulfed by the new ponds.

 A dead tree in the middle of a stream becomes a hazard and can collect debris. “We try to keep the center of the stream open to flows,” he said.

Proudly lowering the level of discourse, reporter Jennifer Huffman took the a phone call from concerned beaver friend Ron Swim who was worried Flood Control was chopping down the beavers’ trees and transformed it into a Beavers-are-Problematic article. She called Rusty several times for quotes and he mentioned keystone species, wildlife photographers, beavers saving water, etc. She was really only interested in the dog fight. Napa has been SO good about beavers up until now. I think she is hoping if she shakes the ants in the jar enough they’ll start fighting and make an exciting news story like we had in Martinez.

Rusty Cohn checks in on the animals five to six times a week. He hopes that as few trees as possible are removed near the beaver lodges.

 “I think flood control is doing their best to take care of the beavers,” while at the same time preventing flooding, he said. “I don’t think what they’ve done so far is causing too much grief for the beavers,” he said.

 “It’s a balancing act,” having beavers in an urban area, said Cohn.

Rusty is such an excellent beaver defender. I think he’s in that stage now where he can still recognize how bizarre it is to care about something this new this much, but is fascinated where the trail will lead. Obviously he’s reading everything he can get his hands on  about the topic. And he’s struggling to alienate no one while he steadily builds education and support. I sometimes fondly remember those days. I actually remember standing at the Escobar bridge to film the beavers in the beginning, which is where I always used to watch them. I never went any farther or down to the primary, maybe because I could sense it would push me farther into the story. I filmed from there and it seemed like the distance down to the dam was this magical, inviting  OTHER place. The beavers story, not mine.
Here’s a time capsule from those days, May 6, 2007. There is even a mislabeled nutria for you to spot. Ahh memories!

I have long since crossed the rubicon into the new world and there’s no going back for me. Maybe Rusty is tempted to go back while he still can? (We hope not!)

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In the other direction, the South bay is equally interested in beavers. Here’s a video that Steve Holmes of friends of los Gatos Creeks, (A truly heroic creek-watch group that does unbelievable cleanups with massive public support) just sent.

One comment: Those beavers probably weren’t building a ‘leaf nest’. It’s probably a scent mound to mark their silicon valley territory. Other than that I’m always happy to see beavers making a splash! Thanks Steve!

One final update of some not-so-local beavers. On Sunday we had another visitor from the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta, Georgia. This time the president, Kevin McCauley, who cycled from Bart to my house where he met Cheryl and I, had some lemonade and friendly  developer-taming conversation and then went down to the creek where he was delighted to see three beavers courtesy of Martinez.

I’m thinking the beaver festival in Georgia can’t be far away.

Orphans in zoos & Cities in debt

Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2014Comments Off

CaptureTurtle Bay names new beaver Timber

REDDING, California – Turtle Bay’s newest animal, a young male beaver, has a name, Timber.

The rodent came from the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minneapolis. Turtle Bay officials say the beaver will live in the Viewable River Aquarium inside the museum.

 The 22,000-gallon aquarium, which opens up to the outdoors on the other side of the viewing glass, will be enclosed with netting material to keep birds out. The park will also build a barrier so the beaver can’t dig out.

That’s right, we happily ripped this beaver out of his family imprisoned by Minnesota’s concrete zoo to bring him 2000 miles away where he will be the only beaver in OUR zoo. He’ll grow up without any family whatsoever and since he came at 7 weeks and never had the least beaver training, we hope he won’t dig or build dams. It’ll be fun to watch him grow up, and when he’s stopped being an attraction, we’ll just trade him or euthanize anyway.

Turtle bay reflects the mercenary vision of Redding itself and its CEO is the former city manager, who clearly understands and values wildlife. He took over for the original horticulturist who was mysteriously relieved of duties after only two years. The city  bailed out the money hole to the tune of 400,000 dollars. But couldn’t help anymore when the recession hit. Mr. Warren generated some controversy by doing what management types usually do, streamlining, lowering salaries and doubling duties. For everyone but himself that is – he still makes 7600 dollars a week for three days work.

The famed Sundial Bridge that we’ve all seen (funded mostly by the McConnell Foundation) connected Turtle Bay’s south campus to its Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. As a reward for the McConnell generosity, the foundation gets to buy 14 acres of land to build a hotel on, and since its part of the Turtle bay grounds they can avoid paying those pesky union wages. Mr. Warren has said this will keep Turtle Bay well attended, but the hotel will not contribute anything  financial to the park, so whether it will actually help is anyone’s guess.

The whole action was challenged as a major land grab and will be on the ballot come November.

And in the meantime, the park is building a NEW river habitat where it will house its lonely beaver so children can gape at him while he swims by underwater. You can imagine how enthusiastic I feel about that.

I have an AMAZING story of beaver resilience to share, but I’ll wait until tomorrow because this story bugs me too much.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Shifting Territories

Posted by heidi08 On September - 18 - 2014Comments Off

Remember that huge, undisturbed beaver dam visible from space in the Canadian wilderness? Well, consider it ‘undisturbed’ no more.

Rob Mark, an amateur explorer from New Jersey, recently became the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam. It took Mark nine days to cover the 200 km from Fort Chipewyan to the 850-metre-wide dam in Wood Buffalo National Park. Here he is in a selfie taken while he was standing on top of the the dam.

 U.S. explorer reaches world’s largest beaver dam

EDMONTON – An American explorer recently became the first person to set foot on the world’s largest known beaver dam — an 850-metre-long fortress built painstakingly over decades in Wood Buffalo National Park.

After four years of planning and nine days of bushwhacking through swampland and dense boreal forest, Rob Mark reached the structure in the northeast corner of Alberta on July 20.

The location is so remote the only previous sightings of it have been made by satellite and fixed-wing aircraft.

“It was incredibly angry I was there,” Mark said. “It kept slapping its tail against the water.”

Yes, that beaver was furious to see a biped in its territory where one hadn’t been seen for centuries. That’s exactly what beavers are feeling when they tail slap: anger, irritation, pique, rage. They are such resentful animals.

Not alarm.

Where are you going next? I look forward to your  many bold explorations so you can misunderstand some NEW species! Maybe the antarctic? Where you can keenly observe that penguins didn’t fly in front of you because they were secretive?

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More head scratching from Ramara in Ontario that can’t imagine why they’re not fixing the beaver problem even though its shelling out 150 per tail to trap them.

Ramara is losing a battle against beavers that are building dams faster than the township can remove them, says Mayor Bill Duffy.

Compared to surrounding municipalities, Ramara is “on the high side” when it comes to how much money it’s paying beaver trappers, Duffy said.

In 2013, Ramara paid $7,125 to trappers.

Sipos said the township should hire more trappers to tackle the problem.

“We don’t have enough trappers. We only have two. Each trapper has so many traps, but when we have a problem, we have problems at the same time, so we want to have more trappers,” she said.

 The township is looking a creating a beaver-trapping policy to determine when the township is responsible for removing beavers and their dams, when a private landowner is responsible or when both are.

When you’re completely failing it’s important not to try anything NEW. Just keep doing the same thing over and over, and maybe faster. I’m sure that will take care of the problem.

Sigh.

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There’s too much news this morning to cover it all, but we have local news to report. Last night we saw the ENTIRE FAMILY spread out across Alhambra creek from the railroad tracks to Green Street. 3 beavers by the footbridge and 3 beavers above Ward street. One beaver walked the dry stretch by Starbucks in between to get to family at Ward street, and one beaver was sleeping below the secondary dam and came up when we got there at 6.

Oh and one beaver scaled the bank wall like this. 9.9 from the German judge.

The kit was with Dad and a yearling at ward street and mom was keeping an eye at the secondary. There was a kingfisher diving from under the Marina Vista bridge, and when we watched at night above the ward street bridge we saw a number of bats making darts from underneath. Truly a beaver safari night.

Dad at Ward street

Dad beaver at Ward Street: Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Oh and I worked very hard yesterday on a new toy for us all to play with. Tell me how you do and try out the snazzy new SHARE buttons at the bottom of the page.

test1start buttonFinally, good luck today to our Scottish friends. Polls are open until 10 pm, and there is a whopping 80% turnout expected. For the first time 16 and 17 years olds will be allowed to vote and it should all be decided by tomorrow morning. We certainly know which side the beaver-protecting Ramsays are on.

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The new ‘Lily pond’ story

Posted by heidi08 On September - 16 - 2014Comments Off

Beavers invade Chico backyard, damage property

Capture

The funny thing is that I met a woman on the Butte county environmental team involved with this case on Sunday at the Optics Faire. She sent me the report and I tried to track down Mr.Barker through facebook. I suggested the best way to get rid of these beavers is to temporarily drain the pond and said if he does it without hurting them Worth A Dam will buy that chewed table to sell at the festival. It terrifies me to think of beavers wadering through the dry suburbs of Chico looking for a new home, but they did it once and it’s definitely better than their odds if USDA comes to the homeowners rescue. And who on EARTH said that beavers mate in September?

Stay tuned.

Yesterday I got some VERY VERY good news, that if it actually happens will be the coolest thing ever. I’ll let you know more when its firm. Fingers crossed.

The unfinished thought

Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2014Comments Off

A beaver lodge sits next to the partially drained pond, water from which was used to control dust from construction of a golf course near the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Editorial: Drained Trinity pond drains confidence

The work recently went off the rails when contractors began draining an environmentally sensitive pond in an effort to control dust elsewhere.

 This pond is a gem of the forest, where threatened wood storks like to fish. The contractors hired by City Hall siphoned it like a swimming pool. A witness, Ben Sandifer, said he saw fish huddled in the mud and remaining water with their backs exposed.

 Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan wrote that, while officials agreed to let contractors use water from the pond, they “never realized the contractor would be so insensitive as to attempt to drain an entire pond.

Right, because  contractors are usually such sensitive souls. I know mine went through a whole box of kleenex watching nature programs when our shower was installed. This is what you did to the Audubon center?  This is bad even by Texas standards.

The good news is that folks are mighty upset about it, so there’s a good chance something might change for next time. Too bad for the beavers and the wood storks though. I guess someone else will have to deliver all those babies to dallas?

(Have you ever seen a wood stork? They are deeply striking birds with featherless black heads and great long beaks. Here’s a photo I took in the everglades. You can bet something enjoyed an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with all those huddled victimized fish – and we know it wasn’t the beavers!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, is it me or has the Huffington Post finally maxed out on beaver innuendo?

HPNobody likes a stinky beaver.

 Just ask the people of Cumming, Georgia, who had to endure the filthy stench of rotting beaver carcasses, after one resident allegedly left them in a parking lot.

Police are fingering Chad Artimovich, 43, as the lead suspect in the case. Artimovich was arrested Aug. 23 after customers of a TitleMax complained about decomposing beaver carcasses in the parking lot, WSB-TV reported last week. Responding officers found several large bags full of maggots, fluid and rotting beaver, which gave off an “atrocious” smell, they said.

Get it? “Stinky beaver”, police are “Fingering” the suspect. Isn’t that hilarious?I mean if you’re a 12 year old boy?

Less funny is the tail bounty offered in Georgia that leads  to someone knocking off a few beaver, snipping free their reward hastily in the parking lot, and hurrying off to collect their 13$ a tail.

No word on when the Huffington Post will be reporting on that.

Oh, and speaking of wasted publications and and incomplete thoughts, how about Nina Keenam columnist for the Andulusia Star News in Alaska whose burning curiosity drove her to exhaustively research beavers – during which effort she determined they were BUSY.

Beavers worthy of ‘busy’ slogan

What animal do some people consider the “outstanding engineer of the wild” and the mammal next to man that alters the environment most to suit its needs? If you answered “a beaver,” you were right.

When I covered meetings of the Covington County Commission for The Andalusia Star-News, one of the commissioners often related stories about beavers in constant battle with his road crew. He said beaver dams caused flooding along county roads and bridges. As fast as crews destroyed a beaver dam, the beavers reconstructed it the same night.

 Beavers are definitely clever and persistent. I learned that beavers cut down trees, gnaw off the limbs, cut the main trunk into the right size, and dig canals so it can float to the dam site. Then it plasters the logs together with mud.

 I would say that the expression “Busy as a beaver” rings true.

I can just imagine those late nights of study, drinking iced coffee and charcoal biscuits next to a pile of ruffled volumes that lead you to this stunning conclusion. No wonder you didn’t have  time to talk about how important they are to salmon, or wildlife, or rivers. Your considerable research skills were already consumed by the jaw-dropping discovery that beavers are “busy”.

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Seeing is Believing

Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2014Comments Off

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The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the largest such body in the US. And look who’s on the back cover of their newsletter? Thanks Malcolm Kenton for sending it our way!CaptureSure there is nothing about beavers actually IN the newsletter, or partnering with beavers for restoration to repair damaged streams,and that neat tanbark sure looks like the home of a kit in captivity, but heck, it’s a start, maybe the beginning of one of those conversations that keep you up well into the night. There was a nice story from them on living with beaver last year when they noticed they’re population was going up.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve the conflicts without killing beavers, Griffin said. The answer is: beaver deceivers. These are cage-like devices that prevent the animals from blocking the stormwater pipes. The Humane Society has been meeting with state and local governments across the region to convince them to use this and similar technology – including underwater pipes – as affordable and non-lethal ways to foil beaver dams, Griffin said.

“A study we did showed that, over time, it is far more cost beneficial to install and maintain these devices than to kill beavers and then constantly go and clean out culverts over and over again,” said Griffin.

 One of the governments the Humane Society helped to convince to use the devices is Rockville, Maryland, which is planning to install a beaver deceiver in a stormwater pond behind Richard Montgomery High School, according to Heather Gewandter, stormwater manager for Rockville. There, a family of beavers gnawed down several trees, and built a dam and a lodge in a roughly 100-foot-wide urban stormwater control pond behind the school’s bike paths and trash cans. The dam is blocking the pond’s stormwater drainage outflow, threatening an adjacent road with flooding when it rains, and reducing the effectiveness of the whole runoff pollution control system, Gewandter said.

 ”We’ve noticed a real increase in the beaver population in the recent past,” she said. “But we have a live and let live policy for all wildlife – and so that includes deer, coyotes, and beavers. So we want to do everything in our power to co-exist with the beaver. We also do want to honor our obligations, when it comes to water quality. So we are really hopeful that these beaver deceivers will work.”

 The city is also wrapping the trunks of young trees in several parks with short bamboo curtains, to prevent the beavers from cutting them down. Trees, after all, are important not only for scenery and shade in the parks – but also to cool and filter streams.

No word in the article about how beavers are helping the streams you’re trying to save, and filtering the water you’re working to clean, but hey, I’m thrilled you’re using flow devices and wrapping trees. I’m sure you’ll catch on to the restoration story eventually.

On a lighter note Bobby posted this footage of a kit tailslap on the river Tay in Scotland and I had to share. Look at his muscles tense and twitch while he’s obviously gearing up for this heroic feat.

Much more talented than our kit, who wasn’t much younger. Not only does fail to get the required SMACK sound, he uses so much effort that he almost does a back flip in the water!

‘A’ for effort, though. That’s what I call enthusiasm.

Speaking of great effort, here’s a photo just sent from Rusty in Napa  at the beaver pond he’s watching up there. This green heron got lucky, and probably will again soon. I think he’s enjoying a bullfrog tadpole, which means there are more where this came from. If he waits a while he can get some with feet!

green heron catch

Green Heron Catch: Rusty Cohn