Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

View from Beaver Mountain

Posted by heidi08 On August - 16 - 2014Comments Off
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Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
The Beavertown Beaver rides a motorcycle in the Beavertown Centennial Parade during Hillbilly Fever Days Thursday evening in Beavertown. Beavertown Borough is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Mind you, this Pennsylvania Beavertown mascot looks nothing like a beaver, but I suppose it looks exactly like the kind of beaver who would ride a motorcycle.  And besides, I’m in the mood for a parade. A lot of very good things about beavers have been happening, and last night it was making me feel a little dizzy. So let’s celebrate!

Tale 1:

Let’s start close to home. We found out about the beavers in Rodeo from the environmental scientist of Phillips 66, who’s property they’re on. She wanted to talk to us about flow devices so they could keep the beavers there. No, I’m not kidding. Jon went out and saw the site and gave her Mike’s DVD. And she went to work persuading her employers to go for it. This was a while ago.

Recently, her efforts were successful and she got the go ahead to install. I introduced her to Kevin Swift from OAEC who trained with Mike Callahan. Things were all in place but the county commissioners of Rodeo got cold feet and told her that Phillips 66 needed to add a rider covering the city in case something went wrong. I asked around and everyone said that was unheard of, and that liability insurance for the installer was all that was needed. Things looked kind of stuck, then I met Fran.

She approached me at the beaver festival and said she wanted to help the beavers in Rodeo where she lived and had been watching them. What could she do? I told her what I knew and introduced her to the woman I’d been working with. She said she knew the commissioners well, and would get on the job of persuading them otherwise. She was a big fan of the community-based pressure Martinez used and she had many tricks up her sleeve.

With two strong allies for these beavers (who could be Martinez progeny!) I am very, very hopeful for Rodeo.

Tale 2:

Our VP who works in Cordelia at International Bird Rescue has been keeping her eye on a beaver who has been flooding a road near Suisun. She has heard that a Cal Trans biologist  has been unplugging his dam so that he won’t need to be trapped, and she’s wanted to connect with him. Recently a very happy accident fixed that problem. I’ll let her tell you about it.

Timing is everything, especially when there is an unexpected schedule change that led me to finding this injured Golden Eagle. it also gave me the chance to meet the Cal Trans biologist I’ve been trying to find for months because of a local beaver issue in the same area. He was also the one to help free the bird from the barbed wire fence. 

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So Cheryl can help the nice biologist find out what he needs to know to keep that beaver from flooding the road. Which means one less dead beaver, and since Caltrans is a big organization and can’t have too many biologists, this might mean less dead beavers all over California.

Tale 3:

You met Rusty and Hank at the beaver festival. They are among the heroes looking out for the beavers in Napa. Well the other day at the dam, Rusty met a gentleman he thought he recognized, so when he got home he googled him. He was pretty certain he was the former mayor of Napa coming to watch the beavers.

(And let me interject and ask you to guess how many times the current mayor of Martnez has come to watch the beavers? I’ll give you a hint, it’s a round number. Just sayin’.)

The next night he met him again and was told he was right. Not only was he the prior mayor he is a sitting county commissioner.  He thought the beavers were incredible to watch, noticed the amazing wildlife, asked for more information about beavers, said he had planned to come to our festival, and knew the developer of the land next to the creek and would ask that access stay open to the public when the hotel was built. Rusty gave him info about beavers, told him about our website, and then gave him the records of the three depredation permits pulled in Napa county. Which the commissioner said he’d look into.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know how it is. You plug along from day to day trying to make a tiny difference in the lives of beavers, and wondering if what you do matters at all. And then one day you wake up and look around and you are surrounded by an army of foot soldiers doing the  same thing. You aren’t the only one anymore, there is a steadily advancing troop of beaver advocates spreading out from Martinez like an water seeping through a towel.

And suddenly everything looks a lot easier.

beaver army

 

In Texas?

Posted by heidi08 On August - 15 - 2014Comments Off

Beavers trapped, relocated from Keller neighborhood

The beavers had dammed up a creek in the northwest Keller subdivision of Marshall Ridge, and for about six months, when it has rained, the creek overflows into yards and sidewalks.

 So a manager of the development, whose website promotes wildlife, saying Marshall Ridge is home to a “number of animals native to the area,” contacted Plano-based A Wildlife Pro DFW to trap and move the beavers to a human-free environment.

  ‘Animals have feelings’

 Fink said she checks the traps twice a day. Beavers typically work more at night and once they are captured, Evans will move the animal the next morning.

 “The traps you want to use for them are big enough for a person to fit in,” Evans said. “You have to have some room for them to move around and fit comfortably so they’re not struggling as hard to get out and hurt themselves.”

I don’t mean to be state-ist or whatever, but this actually surprised me coming from Texas which isn’t exactly known for it’s beaver compassion. Beavers  have feelings? And it’s better to relocate than trap? But these took the prize for the most unexpected paragraphs of 2014.

 Prudi Koeninger, president of DFW Wildlife Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission “is to reduce … the incidence of orphaned or euthanized native wildlife” in DFW, said capturing and moving isn’t always the best option for beavers.

 “Most of the time you don’t get the whole family, so they’re separated,” Koeninger said. “Beavers become independent at age 2, and before that the whole family takes care of the babies. Animals have feelings, family and commitments just as humans do, and there’s emotion if they lose a member of that family.”

 Koeninger said one option for coexisting with beavers is to create a “beaver deceiver,” a device that uses PVC pipes to route water underneath dams in whatever direction the community needs.

 “What beavers respond to is the trickling of water,” she said. “If you create a pathway underneath where there’s no trickling, you can get it flowing the way you want and the beaver will have no reason to keep working on the dam.”

 Some wildlife companies also offer a kind of color-matching “tree paint” mixed with sand that deters beavers from eating the bark and prevents trees being torn down. surprised-child-skippy-jon

Remember that DFW is Dallas Fort Worth wildlife rescue, the director of whom I had a long phone conversation in June when beavers were unwelcome in Irving. Which just goes to show you should always take time to try even when the odds of success seem bleak. The Irving beavers couldn’t be protected, but DFW really listened to info about beavers and co-existence. Which made them great communicators to the reporter of this article who actually did a stellar job.

Maybe next time the beavers can stay?

_________________________________________

And on our less-humane-than-Texas end of the spectrum you might check out this proud announcement of the new orphan arrived at Turtle Bay in our own state of California.

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The weird part of this is, with the depredation permits we just got, I can see that if this kit is 7 weeks old in Redding that probably means the warrant that killed his parents looked like this:

Shasta Redding Crop/Landscape/Garden Damage (Landscape trees) # allowed = 2trapped by Bob Hassel permit issued by Pete Figura 6/23/2014.

You might want to save this somewhere in case he ever asks about his mom or Dad when he grows up.

A Dissertation of Death

Posted by heidi08 On August - 10 - 2014Comments Off

CaptureSo yesterday morning our Napa Beaver friend RE sent me the results of her public records request from Fish and Game. She was trying to figure out if any depredation permits had been taken in Napa County, but of course that’s not the way bureaucracy works. So they gave her a pile of all the depredation permits in the state of California from 1-2013 to 8-8-2014. They are actually organized unhelpfully by the last name of the person who obtained the permit.

Robin, Jon and I spent yesterday going through the records and making a spread sheet so that we could see what was issued where, by whom, for how many beavers, and because of what problem. It was a horrible, grisly, unpleasant day, so you have to forgive me if I am more sarcastic than usual. Remember that Depredation permits can be issued for 1-2 beavers or for an unlimited number, for a few weeks or for the whole year or more. But what we learned is that the VAST majority are issued for an unlimited number of beavers to be taken during the span of an entire year. I’m putting the finished list online here by county.

Counties in CA by Number of Depredation Permits Given 1-01-13 to 8-8-14

Alpine 4
Amador 1
Butte 8
Calaveras 1
Colusa 6
Contra Costa 18
El Dorado 9
Glenn 4
Lake 2
Lassen 5
Merced 13
Modoc 6
Napa 2
Nevada 7
Placer 50
Plumas 8
Sacramento 30
San Joaquin 8
Shasta 12
Sierra County 3
Solano 7
Sonoma 3
Stanislaus 3
Sutter 13
Tehama 5
Yolo 19
Yuba 7
Total 254

Before you turn your head away in horror, pause for a moment at the staggering number of permits issued in Placer county: FIFTY in all, each for a year and only 9 of which had any limit at all to the number of beavers that could be taken. This, for a county which is only 1500 square miles – fewer than 100 of which are water.How could this be?

I have a theory.

Remember that the county seat of Placer county is Auburn, where our long standing nemesis recently gave her umpteenth presentation on how bad beavers are – I’m referring of course to Mary Tappel who long ago took time out of her busy beaver-killing schedule to come all this way to try and get Martinez to kill ours. I know she recently presented at the Salmon meeting because someone from Fish and Wildlife who was there wrote me and said in disbelief, wow, there was this woman there who was soooo negative about beavers!  And when I looked at the schedule I knew who it was. I’m thinking Mary’s done many presentations in Placer county and her icy fingers have pushed the kill permits for thousands of beavers.

August 26, SARSAS 2013, Beaver Specialist Mary Tappel, “Beaver Management in the Age of Salmonid Restoration with Focus on Beavers in Auburn Ravine”

In case your a visual person, here’s the county count. There were no permits issued for Southern California in the records we received, but the woman who released the data did say that the department is in the process of transitioning to electronic files, so some lovingly hand-written death warrants may not be included. I’m sure Fresno killed some beavers. They always do, so maybe they aren’t using computers yet?

by county

 

Wow. Since the highest number of specified beavers issued in a permit was 50, that must mean UNLIMITED is >50. So if the total number of beavers listed to be killed is added up with that change the number for just Northern CA is at least 7958.

 

 

 

England, get ready to YOP!

Posted by heidi08 On August - 7 - 2014Comments Off

Public meeting over Devon’s first wild beaver family in 300 years

A PUBLIC meeting is being held in Devon to ask local people their views about the future of the first wild beaver population in more than 300 years.

 In July, Defra announced its intention to catch and remove the beavers, citing the risk of disease and the animals’ potential impact on the landscape as reasons.

 However, a growing number of voices have stated that the beavers should remain; saying that beavers were once a part of the English landscape and that they could be again.

 The meeting to discuss the beavers on Tuesday August 19 will be held at The Institute in the east Devon town of Ottery St Mary (EX11 1HD), close to where the beavers are believed to be living on the River Otter.

4d3ac5e6I’m curious why DEFRA, the harshly tone-deaf agency that is willing to kill badgers that the public reveres, has decided to hold a public meeting on the fate of the beavers they already said they would put in zoos? Even I, with my trusting beaver nature, can’t imagine the decision is open for review. But maybe they were scared at the public response they got. Or maybe they hope no one is going to come and thereby justify their decision?

You can guess what I want to happen.

Worth A Dam from Bill Schilz on Vimeo.

(I’m very grateful to Bill Schilz for making this for us. It’s a terrifyingly large file and I never could process it myself.) The odd thing is that my comment is missing! Coincidence? Hmm…

 Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey urged people to attend the specially convened meeting: “The wild beavers on the River Otter have certainly attracted a lot of attention. We’ve had media interest from as far away as New Zealand and the USA wanting to know what their fate will be. This event is the opportunity for the local community to now make their views known.”

 Steve continued: “We need to hear from people whether they think the beavers should remain as part of their local landscape, or whether they think they should be removed.”

  “We want the event to be a chance for people to ask questions and to tell us their views. As an independent charity working for the county’s wildlife, Devon Wildlife Trust thinks the beavers should remain but only after it’s been established if they are disease free, and only if the local community wants them there. This event will help us get an answer to the second of these two questions,” Steve continued.

 The event is free to attend and there is no need to book in advance. Those unable to attend can still give their opinions using the dedicated email address devonwildbeavers@devonwildlifetrust.org or by letter to Devon Wildlife Trust, Cricklepit Mill, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AB.

Now Devon, you know your lines. And readers of this website, your letters go here. I believe you all know what to do!

(Does anyone else almost feel a little sorry for DEFRA?)

On a separate note, I have another interview with Fur-bearer Defender’s Radio this afternoon on the role of anger and compassion in advocacy. It’s the first time I’ve talked like a shrink about beavers (well, on purpose), so it’s a little weird and worlds-collidy. Wish me luck!

I’m thinking of calling it the “Psychology of Ecology.

Appreciations

Posted by heidi08 On August - 6 - 2014Comments Off

It’s been a week of treasures and it’s only Wednesday. Yesterday I received this email from a family we met at the dam two weeks ago. They were from Long Beach and eager to see the famous Martinez beavers. Of course our mascots did not disappoint. Since our visitors were so delighted with the show I suggested they might write the mayor and let them know how pleased they were.

Yesterday Michelle sent  the  entire city council this:

Dear Mr Mayor,

My name is Michelle Lee and I live in Southern California with my family. We’ve done a couple of great American Road Trips in the last twenty years, but this year, we were privileged to witness one of the most emblemic of all Northern American wildlife: the hardworking, family-oriented and stoical Martinez Beaver.

Prior to setting out on our trip this summer, a few weeks ago, we had only ever seen American beavers on film in movies. There is apparently one homed in the Singapore River Safari theme park, but knowing beavers to be highly social animals, we were disappointed but not surprised when we failed to spot it in its enclosure during our visit last year. Imagine how thrilled we were, then, to discover, while researching for our summer trip, http://www.martinezbeavers.org, the Worth a Dam web site put up by Heidi Perryman. We have beavers, thriving in their natural environment, right here, in our own backyard!

Martinez was immediately included on our itinerary. Your location was perfect, for us visiting college towns like Stanford, Berkeley and Davis. You have one of the best Thai restaurants in all of California, north through south: the Lemongrass Bistro. Muir Lodge, which provided us with a most tastefully decorated and comfortable room, was just what we needed for our layover. Sal’s Family Kitchen was the perfect breakfast wake-up in the morning.

And you have the beavers. And they were wonderful. We waited at the secondary dam right by the Amtrak station on 14 July 2014, around 6:30pm, and managed to see three beavers, including the kit. Not knowing as much as we could about the habits of these nocturnal mammals, though, we were pretty bummed we didn’t stay till 8 :-( That said, the beavers we saw kept us entranced for a good hour or so, just swimming about, nibbling in the rushes, doing generally beaverly things.

Now that we’re home, and able to more fully process our summer vacation, which included visits to the Carlsbad Caverns and the Grand Canyon, we can honestly count the Martinez Beavers as one of our most satisfying wildlife experiences. We in Southern California are used to the arid desert, even in this ongoing drought, with our well-watered landscaped city and suburban lawns, so it was quite distressing to see how devastated the land around us was while driving through NorCal. Those tenacious beavers, as corny as it sounds, gave us hope that this drought will eventually pass. Our only regret was we were not able to spend longer in your lovely town than one night. Now, our true regret is having missed this year’s Beaver Festival!

The fact that Martinez has a Beaver Festival indicates that many people do share our fascination with these enchanting animals. However, we were a little surprised, that, of the people we talked to in town, only one person was able to point us in the right direction to the beaver dams, because you have a real treasure in the beavers, and in Worth a Dam. This is such a unique situation you have in Martinez that people are able to observe outside of the artificial and expensive set up of a zoo. We are hopeful that continued education and increased appreciation for the Martinez Beavers will be encouraged to perpetuate and grow. We cannot thank Worth a Dam enough for their information-packed web site. We came from Long Beach just to see this happy beaver family!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Michelle Lee, with Kevin Traster and Loyalty Traster-Lee
Long Beach, California
5 August 2014

Now tell me that wasn’t the best letter you EVER read! Not only did it remind the mayor that the beavers and Worth A Dam are an asset, it must have made those little dollar signs appear in his eyes like on cartoons. She did such a good job that I told her to share it with the local papers so I’m hoping we see it again very soon.

The only part that kind of bugged me was that only one person in town could tell her where the dam was. But when I thought about it I realized that’s actually wonderful. In 2007 when every shop owner on main street was terrified of being flooded every, Susie, Stacey or Sam could have told them. Now the fact that the story isn’t news anymore means that the beavers are no longer a threat and that’s just what we wanted to happen. I thought of Carl Sandburg,

 Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.
 
 And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?
 
I am the grass.
Let me work.

Carl Sandburg

Well, I suppose the grass has worked in Martinez. Even I can barely remember the injuries of a city who wanted to destroy its treasures. Now I simply bask in the glow of a job well done and a chapter well written.

And this delightful epilogue about “Joe” made me smile.

Martinez Beaver Festival celebrates beaver family living in downtown creek since 2006

Dam fun

 Children parade to the strains of Bruce Maxwell’s bagpipe, above, at the start of the seventh annual Beaver Festival on Saturday, in Martinez, that celebrates the beaver family that has been living in Alhambra Creek since 2006. The event, sponsored by Worth A Dam, attracted visitors from everywhere for activities, music and tours of the beavers’ environment by Joe Ridler, right center.

 They don’t show the photo on line, but something tells me I’ve seen Joe before.

Beavers in the News

Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2014Comments Off

Chip Ward’s article is marching through the liberal hemisphere – now on Salon and Axis of logic.  I’m very thrilled for the promotion but I sure hope it gets picked up by a conservative website soon. We don’t want liberals to be FOR beavers. Because then of course conservatives will be AGAINST them. Let’s emphasize their money-saving, small business owner expertise and get them on National Review Online or Red State soon!

On Axis of logic the editor offered these remarks:

Editor’s Commentary:

Timber is a Canadian beaver. That might not be his real name, but it’s what we call him nonetheless – and he responds to it. Timber was orphaned and successfully raised by a friend of mine, Michele.

 It was once thought by scientists that beavers orphaned at a young age could not survive because of the intense family structure of these critters, and the fact an orphan would be shunned by other beaver families. We learned through another friend, Audrey Tournay, that this is untrue. Audrey is renowned worldwide for defying the biologists and showing that beavers can indeed survive and thrive with human nurturing.

 Timber became one of the stars of two television programs.

 I am in the process of working with Michele to write Timber’s biography and it should be ready later this year (I’m the writer, she’s the story teller – the tentative title is Beavers Never Read the Operating Manual). It will be a book aimed at encouraging young people to learn about, and develop a concern for, the environment all around them. It is not yet too late to save ourselves from ourselves, but we’ll need to engage young people to do it.

 - prh, Editor


I’ll look forward to the Timber-files soon. I loved Audrey Tournay’s
beaver tales (Audrey was the founder of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary where Michelle Grant worked)  and I know you did too. In the mean time, two behind the scenes reveals are that the editor PRH is actually Paul Richard Harris who is the husband of Debbie Harris who we helped with beavers in Ontario way back in 2012, (because it’s a very small beaver world and all roads lead to Martinez).

And btw his original editor’s note credited David Suzuki for the documentary and didn’t mention Jari, which I replied to. So this old comment

Timber became one of the stars of two television programs. One, here in Canada, was a David Suzuki produced program called The Beaver Whisperers. The second was produced in the United States by PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating.

Got magically edited into this one:

One, here in Canada, was a program aired on CBC called The Beaver Whisperers. The second aired in the United States on PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating. Both documentaries are produced by Jari Osborne.

Which is a kind of reminder that one can make a difference in this topsy turvy beaver world, if you needed one. I myself made a snippet of difference last night on channel 7, but was disappointed my “amazing” interview in the blazing sun was shortened to 15 seconds. Still, its a great plug for the festival anyway, and they snagged tuesday’s footage, gave us credit, got our name right and linked to the right page of the website so I’m very happy.

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MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) –

The famous beaver family in Martinez is still at it and now officials say they’re actually good for the drought.

 Experts say the beaver dams are helping water stay in the creek year round, despite the drought and that’s helping preserve fish and other wildlife.

 The group “Worth A Dam” is dedicated to maintaining the beavers in Alhambra Creek.

 The president and founder of the group, Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., says, “They’re kind of doing a restoration job for the town of Martinez. They working 24/7. And they’re doing it for free.”

 A “Beaver Festival” is planned for this Saturday. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Marina Vista and Alhambra Avenue in Martinez.

‘A’ Beaver festival? A? Not THE beaver festival? I guess we should be proud of the fact that there are now SO many beaver festivals in the world we don’t merit the definite article anymore.   Hrmph!

A picture’s worth 1000 words…

Posted by heidi08 On July - 29 - 2014Comments Off

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Aquatic life near a mine pit lake underwater beaver lodge

Steve Kohl

Brainerd Dispatch staff phtographer (and diver) Steve Kohls filmed the aquatic life near a mine pit lake underwater beaver lodge. See suspended sunfish, thousands of minnow and lurking bass all hanging out in their aquatic underworld.

The powers that be will not let me embed that video, so click on the picture and go see it yourself. Honestly, it’s worth it. Just look at the biodiversity of life near that beaver lodge, and remember the amount of mud and soil beavers excavate to maintain a lodge or access a food cache in winter. Beaver digging makes diverse invertebrate communities which make divers FISH communities.

Now remember that this is the Cuyuna Mine Pit lake in Minnesota. Cuyuna was a mine dedicated to excavation of iron ore which like most mines has all kinds of pollution fallout – including something charmingly called “acid mine drainage”. Could Cuyuna do anything better to restore those damaged pits? I think not. Thank you Steve Kohl, for this great proof of beaver biodiversity!

Castor Anglicus took my advice and set Adrian’ Forester’s recording to photos. Love the headlines and the awesome images.  I’m wishing it had some video and slicker editing, but I’m very picky and the news stations should leap at this.

Speaking of news, yesterday I met with ABC channel 7 down at the dam to talk about beaver, water, and drought – as well as plug the festival. It was one of those fun interviews where the interviewer started out disinterested and nonplussed by his assignment, and ended up eager and fascinated, running up and down the creek photographing birds, talking to onlookers, and asking for a bumper sticker.

I hope his conversion means there will be a nice segment on prime news, but you never know. He kept shaking his head and saying “You’re amazing on camera! You answered every question so succinctly!”Which made me smile a little and think of the old Paula Poundstone line….

“Last night’s show was an amazing crowd. I did an hour and a half. I could have done more, but the club had really bad security and a lot of the audience got away”.

I’ll let you know when it’s airs. Hopefully Thursday.

Oh, and in the mean time you need to see this. Honestly. You. Just. Do.

 Public Works: The Amazing Self-Powered Garbage-Trapping Machine

Meet the trash-collecting contraption that’s cleaning up Baltimore’s harbour.

 

 Invented by Clearwater Mills LLC, the Interceptor floats at the mouth of the Jones Falls river, through which garbage used to flow into the inner harbour. Now booms (floating barriers) direct debris towards the 4.3-metre-tall garbage collection machine. Spring-charged rakes claw the refuse onto a conveyor belt, which is powered by a water wheel spun by solar-powered pump. The belt carts the garbage into a dumpster, which, once full, is dragged by boat to a waste-to-energy conversion plant.

How awesome would this be at the Marina? Some adaptions would let it run on tides twice a day. Shell could pay for it, New Leaf Academy could promote and maintain it, and Martinez could be the east coast premier of another dam good idea.