Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

Best Beaver Day Ever?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 25 - 20152 COMMENTS

So yesterday morning, former Martinez resident LB sent me this story from an elementary school right outside Seattle trying to get rid of its beaver. Apparently the state with the smartest beaver management in the nation has  a few large pockets of ignorance.

Wash. school district looking to get rid of pesky beaver

On an elementary school campus? With kids who love the beavers and parents who care? In Washington? So LB and I wrote the principal and media spokesperson for the district, and I posted  about it on facebook. Mind you, this is in Kings county which had one of the only websites about flow devices when we were looking for answers back in 2007. Shouldn’t they, of all places, know better?

I learned that in addition to being worried that ‘the beaver” would attack the students,  one of the concerns was about the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation which had just worked with students to hatch and release salmon eggs in the creek, and wouldn’t the beaver dam ruin everything?

No kidding. 12 miles from Michael Pollock’s office.

So I made sure everyone had a crash course in beavers and salmon and sent the salmon film and flow device information, and I added the LFPSF to the list of people I included in the little impromptu seminar. I sent along the kids power point presentation that I made for teachers to use in Contra Costa County and encouraged them to look at teacher materials on our website. And when I posted about this on the beaver management page several bold people actually CALLED the school to ask what the heck they were thinking-including an elementary school science teacher in WA who said he would love beavers on his campus to use in education!

And guess what? By midday the school had backed down and the traps were removed. Let me say that again. By midday the school had backed down and the traps were removed. The principal said he was  happy to know about flow devices. And this morning the director of LFPSF wrote to thank me for the all the information and said he was thrilled that when the reporters called this morning they knew much more than they did before about beavers and salmon and how to prevent flooding.

I think that makes yesterday the single most successful day we’ve ever seen on this website. I am so grateful so many people spoke up and they agreed to do the right thing. I have to admit I felt a little powerful yesterday. As if I had finally been doing this work long enough to make a difference.

ZUBR Beavers from Platige Image on Vimeo.

But that’s kind of silly. Honestly, I guess if you can’t save beavers near an elementary school just outside Seattle, you’re probably in the wrong line of work.

(H/T to RC from Napa for the ZUBR comercial. Which, in case you didn’t guess already,  is polish for Bison.)

A ‘Winters’ Tale

Posted by heidi08 On June - 22 - 2015Comments Off

Looks like the Putah Creek Beavers are getting some traction.

Winters in uproar over Putah Creek beavers, otters


 In this sleepy, orchard-ringed commuter town, a former newspaper reporter wondered aloud last week whether she ought to chain herself to a bulldozer.

 The source of her and others’ unlikely, new-found activism? A languid 1,000-foot stretch of Putah Creek and a group of beavers and river otters living inside a wide, deep pool.

 Some Winters wildlife lovers are pushing back against the last phase of a city stream rehabilitation project that will shoo the aquatic mammals away.

 Carol Brydolf was relieved. On Thursday, the former reporter had discussed with a fellow activist whether she had the fortitude to chain herself to a bulldozer to stop the project. She said Friday that the project’s managers were finally listening to their concerns.

 “They really, really blew us off,” she said.

The upheaval over the beavers and otters has spilled over into public meetings, newspaper letters to the editor, social media accounts and an online petition. City Manager John Donlevy Jr. said he is exhausted by the acrimony.

Donlevy said project managers have performed detailed scientific assessments and have gotten input from every stakeholder group, including the animal lovers. The beavers and otters won’t be harmed, he said. They just have to move somewhere else for a little while.

Oh is that all? They just have to pack the entire family in the station wagon and go to motel 6 for a while? I mean after the bulldozers make their roof cave in and they’re buried underground and a few lucky ones dig their way out and escape? As horrific as that sounds, something tells me they’re taking it to the next level in Winters. This article doesn’t even mention the piebald beaver, which means they feel better keeping their ace in the hole for now.


Click for video

Good, I wrote the mayor and city manager and maybe you should too. They need to be reminded that beavers are asleep during the day and that when their homes are crushed during their slumber they don’t “go somewhere else for a while”.

Unless they’re Uma Thurman, they suffocate and die.

Some opponents, including Tim Caro, a Winters resident and UC Davis wildlife biologist, are skeptical.

 Caro said it’s such a small section of the stream that the benefits to salmon likely will be negligible and not worth depriving residents of a fascinating window into the natural world from their neighborhood nature trail.

 “Schoolkids in the city of Winters could learn about biology by seeing these charismatic mammals,” he said.

For the time being, they still can. At least for another month.

School children, biologists, little old ladies. Just remember, you CAN stop city hall. But it takes many voices working together. Maybe that next meeting could look something like this.

Worth A Dam from Bill Schilz on Vimeo.

Beaver wanderer

Posted by heidi08 On June - 18 - 2015Comments Off

Dispersal is so harrowing. Maybe that’s why our 2014 kits decided to stick around.

Beaver blocks entrance to Chick-fil-A, gets courtesy ride from police

Beavers may be great architects, but perhaps they aren’t the best with directions. Bellevue police helped one such beaver Monday evening after it found its way into the Chick-fil-A parking lot, and had difficulty making its way back home.

“The beaver somehow got himself on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to Chick-fil-A and there was lot of traffic there,” said Amanda Jensen with the Bellevue Police Department.

“He seemed disoriented,” she said. “They were just concerned about him getting hit.” The other concern was the line of cars waiting to enter the fast food restaurant. Bellevue’s new Chick-fil-A location has become renowned for causing heavy traffic as patrons drive through.

Being a good neighbor, a Bellevue police officer gave the little guy a ride home, or at least to the front door of the nearby pond where he has taken up residence.

“The officers used a dog catching pole and wrangled him into the car,” Jensen said. “And they brought him to a pond area where it is known that beavers are.”

After hopping in, a short ride, and hopping back out, it was dam-sweet-dam for the clever rodent.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than being brought home in a police car after your first night out. But it could have been much worse. He could have hit by a car, mauled by a dog or remained at Chic-fil-A.

Martinez Beaver Festival promo 2015 from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.

/a>New promo thanks to Sarah Koenisberg who was kind enough to update her last one. Hopefully it will run on the Martinez channel soon. Feel free to pass it on!


Napatopia and Ohiotopia?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 15 - 2015Comments Off
blue heron on lodge

Blue Heron on beaver lodge in Tulocay Creek: Rusty Cohn

CaptureBeavers set up home in downtown Napa

Downtown has some new residents, and they’re not the two-legged tourist variety.  Beavers have moved into Napa Creek and built at least two dams visible from the Pearl Street pedestrian bridge and from the parking lot behind the former Napa Firefighters Museum.

 “I think it’s great. It speaks to the health of the watershed,” said Shaun Horne, watershed and flood control resource specialist for the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

 “It’s a good sign for the creek,” Horne said. “The whole beaver population seems to be spreading. These creatures are recolonizing some of these areas that maybe didn’t have the best habitat prior to this.”

Beavers change creek hydrology for the better, Horne said. Dams pool water, which is good for fish, birds and other wildlife. Beaver dams can also help reverse channel deepening, provide nurseries for fish, increase habitat for small mammals, contribute to the establishment of new vegetation and improve downstream water quality by trapping sediment.

 Napan Rusty Cohn is a regular beaver watcher. He’s seen the animals and their work at Tulocay Creek near Soscol Avenue and other river areas in the city. He gave the new dam on Napa Creek a thumbs-up.

 “They did a nice job of building it,” Cohn said. He has yet to spot the downtown beavers, but he has a theory about where they came from.

More remarkable beaver wisdom from Napatopia, with Flood control saying how valuable beavers are and Rusty getting some smart quotes in. I can’t figure out thought why they didn’t run some of his great photos, or the news that there are three new kits in Tulocay creek. Reporters remain a mystery to me, but you are encouraged to solve the puzzle for yourself.

More good news from places that aren’t here. Brace yourself. This is surprising. The state of Ohio (OHIO?) Department of Transportation has apparently contracted with Mike Callahan to teach them to install flow devices to control beaver damming rather than killing them Here is proof they’re listening.

A Possible Beaver First!

Last week in Cincinnati the Ohio Dept. of Transportation hired me to train their personnel how to manage beaver problems with flow devices. Is anyone aware of another state Highway Dept. that has committed to building and installing flow devices themselves? I think Ohio may be the first! Here in Massachusetts the MassDOT is very supportive of flow devices but they contract with me to install them. Ohio wants to start doing flow devices themselves which I think is pretty cool!

All this came about due to local beaver advocate Karen Arnett being persistent and lobbying the ODOT to consider flow devices as an alternative to trapping. Her dogged efforts bore fruit and the beavers, humans and ecosystems of Ohio are bound to benefit.

The ODOT training included a PowerPoint presentation tailored to ODOT needs, and a hands-on flow device installation where many ODOT staff participated. The flow device install site is a highway retention pond where unfortunately beavers were trapped last year. Since new beavers are bound to relocate here ODOT wanted a flow device to protect the drainage structure and prevent the need to trap in the future. I was very impressed with the level of interest by ODOT staff and their willingness not only to do the work but also get in the water. See pictures. Kudos to ODOT as well as to Karen for getting ODOT interested in flow devices!

Karen contacted this website ages ago, and Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife as well. She really did a stellar job of getting new ideas through thick skulls. And Mike did a great job convincing them once she got their attention. Great work team beaver!

Beavers: The future and the past

Posted by heidi08 On June - 10 - 2015Comments Off

Let’s start out with some momentous news. Last night in Napa they almost certainly saw three kits. HURRAY THREE KITS!!! One appears to charge off with the adults to feed, so missed his photo opportunity in his rush to maturity, but they are pretty sure it’s a brave little kit they’re seeing. Congratulations Napatopia, we’re excited for you!

two Rusty

Two kits – Rusty Cohn

close rusty

Close up – Rusty Cohn









Now its on to some inspiration from our great friend Camilla Fox who lent full ‘Project Coyote‘ voice recently to the Bobcat hearing in Santa Rosa. Great work team bobcat!

dubingiai-21-012Finally an update and a short poll. I know you all recognize the fellow on the left, but the gentleman on the right might be less familiar to our new readers. This is Alex Hiller a beaver supporter from Germany who once  came to america to visit a beaver family with Hope Ryden of the famed Lily Pond book. Alex was an early and dedicated supporter and attended the beaver symposium in Lithuania, shocking the heck out of Skip and Glynnis by wearing  his Worth A Dam t-shirt shown here.

I hadn’t heard from Alex in a while and I thought I’d send him the Geo article in case he hadn’t seen it and wanted to help with a translate. This morning he wrote back sighting an old German saying, “Some people you assume to have perished only got married.” He announced that he met and married a wonderful woman from Sri Lanka who was passionate about elephants so they were focusing their energies there for the time being. How cool is that? Congratulations Alex! We wishing you every happiness but we will miss our reliable foreign correspondent!

Lastly. if we were offering recycled bags for sale at the festival would you prefer a green bag with a logo or a khaki bag with this in brown? I like them both so you’re vote is needed. Let me know here. Thanks!

 logo bag Circle khaki

What is in a name anyway?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 3 - 2015Comments Off

Beavers take over SPVP

Dr. Heidi Perryman will be at San Pedro Valley County Park Visitor Center on Saturday, June 6, at 6 p.m., for a talk she likes to call “Ecosystem Engineers in Martinez: understanding how and why to coexist with urban beavers.”

Beavers descended on Martinez in 2007, and by October of that year they had built a dam that the City Council determined could be a flooding hazard; the little dam builders were slated for extermination. Did the people of Martinez sit on their hands on this one? Come to the Visitor Center and find out about the story of the beavers in this Bay Area town.

Wow great start! So far I’m really impressed with this article that calls me Dr. and puts the story in context, making sure to give credit to the hundreds of concerned residents who made the difference! I’m sure it continues on in this wonderful vein, right?

Perryman is the president of “Give a Dam“, the citizens group that fought for the beavers. She is a child psychologist who’s probably naturally attracted to the problems of little creatures and says that she is used to speaking to a mixed age group; so bring your older children with you–probably age 10 and above. Dr. Perryman is part of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, where she helps investigate and implement social action for ecological health. She was also on the committee that first responded for action for the beavers after meeting with the city council back in 2007, and which eventually gave rise to the Martinez beavers’ website.


ARRRRRRRRRG! What a paragraph. Easily and verifiably wrong in so may ways. Why does the world seems so quick to change our name? When I contacted them about the press release the author explained she saw on the OAEC website this sentence:

In 2012, Perryman, Lanman and Brock Dolman from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s Water Institute wrote their first paper reviewing the evidence for beavers in the Sierra Nevadas.

To wish I can only say, sheesh. Don’t colonize me with those your dangling participles! Rick and I were not from the OAEC (and by the way there was another author listed too). And as for the name of our ACTUAL organization – we aren’t stupid in Martinez. We know our city will NEVER give a dam.  I have Ann Cameron Siegal to thank for this apt musical response.

On the “Worth a Dam” internet location you can investigate more about this industrious engineer: just how it contributes to the health of any area in surprising ways, why beavers are valuable to all of us, and where their original distribution was in California before these large rodents were devastated by the fur trade and habitat loss.

It’s a nice article and should bring a good turnout, which is good because Pacifica will have beavers of its own soon enough. And I can take a few moments to correct the misunderstandings.  Of course I sent copies to the mayor last night, so he can see their publicity in action. Wish me luck. I HAVE to practice today. I’ve spent too much time lately mooning of the images of the Napa kits and wondering when ours will show. And yesterday I had an useful burst of beaver begging for the silent auction, where I found THIS wine label that made me laugh as hard as I can remember doing in a long while. I sure hope they donate.



Martinez Beavers go to Pacifica

Posted by heidi08 On May - 18 - 2015Comments Off

June 6th is my final beaver talk for a while and will be at the San Pedro Valley Park visitor’s center in Pacifica, ending one of the busiest 6 months of beaver-speaking I’ve known. It started with the SF waterboard in Oakland, then the State of the Beaver in Oregon, then the salmonid federation in Santa Rosa, then Trout Unlimited in Coloma, then SARSAS in Auburn and Safari West in Santa Rosa. Now there’s just one left and then I can focus on the festival.

San Pedro Valley SPV is a county park in the peninsula hills described as A vast area embracing the middle and south forks of San Pedro Creek, which are Steelhead spawning grounds, this park is nestled amongst the Santa Cruz Mountain range and the foothills of Pacifica. “ They also happen to be interested in having beaver, and originally contacted me thinking relocation might be an option. I explained that the only way to get beaver in California right now is to let them come to you and they invited me to come talk about benefits and solutions. They did an awfully nice blurb on their newsletter. I especially like “repatriated”.nice bioThey might not have all that long to wait. We have a beaver sighting 5 miles east at the water treatment facility, and a beaver killed on the highway 5 miles south. Since several forks of the San Pedro Creek flow through the park, the odds are good beavers will find their way eventually. underwater adaptions Since it’s a new crowd I thought I’d work on some new graphics, which is always fun.  This should remind me not to leave anything out when I discuss their physical adaptions! And this could be a good prompt for discussing beaver chewing of trees and why not to panic.

chewedBut the last was the most fun to do.  And really will be the most powerful. Because, in the end, it isn’t science that saves beavers. Even though it should. People don’t change their minds because of data.  We all learned first hand in Martinez, it’s not brains that convince. It’s hearts.

kits get a lift