Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

New website and old complaints

Posted by heidi08 On April - 29 - 20161 COMMENT

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Let’s start the day with the appropriate mocking of Mr.  Settlemeyer of Bladen County North Carolina. And believe me, his complaint is a doozy.

Carver’s Creek running over with beavers

Settlemeyer said when he first saw beavers on his land back in the 1970’s he thought the critters were kind of cool. “The first time I saw a beaver I said, ‘Oh man this is wonderful, we got beavers!’” Settlemeyer said.

But that opinion quickly changed when he said the rodents took over. In fact, Settlemeyer said if he were to guess he’d say there are about 200 of them on his property. “It’s good for the ducks, good for the turtles, but it’s not good for your timber,” Settlemeyer said.

He said some of his roads have been washed away because beaver dams prevent water from flowing the way it naturally would. He said there is little he can do to stop them.

“Back before 9/11 we could go buy dynamite. We dynamited the beavers. We’ve got heavy equipment and dug the dams out, we’ve trapped, we’ve shot them, but they’re so prolific we’re not gaining any ground,” Settlemeyer said. “It’s an aggravating problem. They’re like fire ants and coyotes, they’re here to stay. I don’t know what kind of alternative we have.”

He said almost every stream in the Carver’s Creek community has a beaver dam in it and it’s causing big changes to the ecology of the area.

Just for clarification, Bladen county is in the lower right corner of the state with 874 sq miles of land and 13 sq miles of water. Even assuming his property runs that entire length of the creek, and allowing 7 beavers to a colony, he is alleging he has  a beaver family every .15 miles of water, which, if it were true, would deserve a federally funded research project and a documentary. It is far more likely that he found 10 dams on is land and just calculated in his folksy way that there were about 20 beavers to a dam, don’t you think?

Love the part where he blames 9/11 for keeping him from blowing them up though. I guess they’re right, every great tragedy still has a silver lining.

On to the sublime. Let’s welcome our friends at Sierra Wildlife Coalition to the beaver website neighborhood! They just launched a very lovely new sight with excellent info and Sheri Hasenfus fantastic photos. Take them for a test drive and enjoy the view. Click below to visit their site and help them establish some links, but don’t get so dazzled you forget who sent you there. (Remember to notice who is listed as the FIRST resource on their contact page.) Ahem.




Busy as a you know what!

Posted by heidi08 On April - 26 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

We are FINALLY paintbrush-ready on the mural project. Mario will come today to start priming, but tomorrow there are supposed to be thunderstorms so more delays are imminent. I’m just happy the city was able to finish all the contracts, waivers and ryders necessary to undertake the dangerous painting of a two foot wall of concrete. Hurray for beavers not giving up!

about timeThe timing works out well enough because on Wednesday I’m back to the SF Waterboard to talk more about urban beavers! New folks heard my talk was so good they wanted it too so I’ll be with strangers on a different floor than last time. I think I’m ready, but it’s a little harrowing going to that tall building and through security on yet another rainy day!

waterboardsAnd it never rains but it pours, because I just got the event flyer for Portland, which looks amazing. The final PDF will have working links and go out soon. But I thought you deserved a preview. In between events I’ll be talking to Kiwanis and watching our Mural unfold. And then it’s time to start getting ready for the festival! Isn’t that exciting?

portland flyer

Guess who’s insured?

Posted by heidi08 On April - 21 - 2016Comments Off on Guess who’s insured?

And no, that is not the name of an exciting new  game show about driving in LA, it’s a question about OUR MURAL and tw 8 delay days we have endured so far trying to get this thing done. Well, it’s more done, and because its a rider attached to our existing insurance with ISI, it cost us a whopping total of 50.00. I couldn’t be happier.

insuredNow we just have to wait for the very busy city attorney to reissue the contract to include Worth A Dam, THEN have Mario and us sign it, then get “Exhibit E” completed to exempt him from covering employees, THEN turn it all in and get a nod from the raja and THEN start painting!

Believe it or not we are closer to this all happening than we have ever been before. And thank god – because this was starting to feel like planning a second beaver festival.  You know it reminds me of this post from 2014 about the first book I learned to read as a child.

The woman finds a crooked sixpence while sweeping her house and decides to go to the market and buy a pig, but on her way home the new pig won’t go over the stile, (which is a little english wooden platform that allows people on the public footpath to get thru the gate, but keeps livestock from getting out.) It looks like this.

After trying to push and coax him onto it, she goes to a nearby dog in frustration, asking “Dog, dog! Bite the pig! Pig will not jump over the stile and I shall not get home tonight!” But the dog won’t cooperate. Is this ringing a bell yet? You should be hearing it in your head soon. She goes to a stick and says “Stick, stick! Beat the dog. Dog will not bite my pig, pig will not jump over the stile and I shall not get home to night!”

Of course the stick won’t cooperate either, but she keeps asking for help – first for fire to burn the uncooperative stick, then water to put out the vexing fire, then an ox to drink the uncooperating water, then a butcher to kill the stubborn ox, then a rope to hang the difficult butcher, and finally mouse to chew that lazy rope.

The mouse is the only one who’s ready to consider her offer. He asks pragmatically “What’ll you give me if I do?”

Surprised, she reaches in her apron pockets and finds a tiny crust of bread which she lays in front of the mouse. He nibbles appreciatively, then agrees. And after all that asking the mouse begins to gnaw the rope. and the rope begins to hang the butcher, and the butcher begins to kill the ox, and the ox begins to drink the water, and the water begins to put out the fire, and the fire begins to burn the stick, and the stick begins to beat the dog, and the dog begins to bite the pig, and the pig decides to finally go over the stile…

And that little old woman really does make it home that night!

Consider the pig half way up that stile today.

A little project this morning, because I saw a cute scrabble tile design and it gave me an idea. This was fairly easy to adapt for beavers. Now I just need to print it and try it out. I could think of the first four historical books, but couldn’t come up with the fifth. I of course went to Bob Arnebeck’s remarkable beaver page and found as usual, just what I needed. What do you think?beaveryybooks


Those Nobel Prizes are a SMOKESCREEN

Posted by heidi08 On April - 20 - 2016Comments Off on Those Nobel Prizes are a SMOKESCREEN

Beavers Returning to Sweden’s Capital Can Be a Dam Nuisance

Walking along the Swedish capital’s famous shores and canals, you can see its presence in the gnawed trunks of large willows, surrounded by fresh wood chips, and the stumps of damaged trees cut down with chainsaws.

The Eurasian beaver is back.

Though the furry urbanites had an ideal base to explore the city, it took decades for them to get established in Stockholm.

“From the late ’90s to 2011, we didn’t see very [many] beavers … about three or four a year in the whole Stockholm area,” says Tommy Tuvunger, who, as Stockholm’s viltvårdare, or game warden, is tasked with keeping tabs on the city’s wild residents. 

In the last four years, “the population has exploded.” 

But the beaver boom has a negative side: The rodents have done extensive damage to the city’s trees.These teeth-carved trees are a safety risk, especially in a city with so much green space. 

“People are going there with small children, walking dogs, jogging,” Tuvunger says, adding that a gust of wind could bring a weakened tree down on someone.

In addition, there have been two reports of beavers biting people in Stockholm—one of which occurred after a man took a picture of the animal with his phone.

In their efforts to keep the public safe, Tuvunger and his colleagues have shot about 10 beavers over three years. (See “Killing Wildlife: The Pros and Cons of Culling Animals.”)

“Keeping a very low profile, we use silencers, so the public don’t know what were are doing,” he says.

 Surprised GirlThat’s right. Arguably the smartest country on  the entire planet, that takes it upon themselves to hand out awards for the most brilliant scientific minds across the globe, kills beavers for chewing trees with a SILENCER because they can’t possibly discourage chewing by wrapping them and they don’t want to upset the public.

It’s not surprising that Stockholm’s beavers have bounced back, the experts say.

“Beavers are like all rodents—they are really good at reproducing. If they have a good environment and good opportunities, they do well,” Jennersten says.

If the sight of Castor fiber swimming around in central Stockholm is the ultimate proof of success, Hartman is heartened by this latest chapter in its comeback story.

I’m tempted to hate the author of this story very much, but when I read those sentences back to myself it occurs to me that he might be deliberately not getting in the way of the Swedes making themselves look bad. Not because he agrees with them – but because Mr. Owen assumes the public won’t. You know, kind of like that famous Sarah Palin interview.

Anyway, this was an annoying way to start the day, which is already  annoying because of the unecessary mural delays and the first reviews coming back on the urban beaver chapter – one of which edited MY section with a red pen and said it was “Poorly worded“.

Hrmph. Poorly worded!

Lets cheer ourselves with some good news, shall we?

Poplars popular with Seine River beavers

 The beaver is one of the few species on Earth that modifies the environment to suit its needs. Unfortunately, the beaver’s needs sometimes bring them into conflict with people — especially in cities.

Beavers cut down trees for one reason — survival. They use large branches to build dams across streams. This creates a beaver pond, where the water becomes deep enough for the beaver to survive the winter.  They use some branches and mud to build a lodge. The lodge has a central chamber where they are safe from predators.

 Beavers also eat the trees’ inner bark. They stockpile branches in a food cache at the bottom of the pond. While beaver eat many aquatic plants during summer, their main winter food is the inner bark of trees. Their favourites are aspen, poplar, cottonwood, willow, birch and alder. Beaver do not hibernate, so the pond must be deep enough for them to swim from the lodge to their food cache beneath the ice.

My advice to anyone living near the river is to wrap the bases of the trees that you treasure. A few dollars of mesh can protect your $140 tree. Hardware cloth (with a square mesh) is tough enough to deter beavers.

Don’t wrap every tree. Wrap some of the larger trees and newly planted trees of all sizes. Leave the rest for the beavers. After all, the beaver is a Canadian icon.

This year, let’s celebrate the beavers that share our urban rivers. Take pictures of the amazing river engineer that we commemorate on the “tail” of our nickel. Post them on the Save Our Seine Facebook page. Volunteer to wrap some trees or join the SOS team as a 2016 River Keeper (job posting on the SOS Web site).

Did you know that Winnipeg was smarter than Stockholm? Fantastic article and fantastic idea for encouraging folks to appreciate urban beavers. Now a final piece of better news to cheer those of us waiting impatiently for better days. Jon  took these photos yesterday down stream. Sure starting to look familiar isn’t it?

IMG_0862 IMG_0865

The sound of the other shoe dropping….

Posted by heidi08 On April - 13 - 2016Comments Off on The sound of the other shoe dropping….

Admittedly, all that happened on the mural yesterday was that money changed hands and discussions about first steps were made. The good news is that we have our ‘Whereas‘ contract which Mario  needs to sign and return, and public works is supposed to contact me today regarding the power-washing. Nothing gets done without starting I guess, so I’m not complaining.

CaptureWhat absorbed my day primarily was the PTSD flashback triggered by the release of a very negative staff report from Mountain House discussing the fate of the beavers and their water-ruining ways. You know how it is: 15 pages of alarm and acronyms so that the whole problem sounds so complex you really shouldn’t worry your pretty little head about it. And an obviously manufactured possible ‘compromise’ offered with such a HUGE price-tag on it that everyone will want the beavers killed. Honestly, I thought the days of panicked research were behind me – but after an afternoon of labor I managed to issue a fairly intelligent response to their ministerial hysterics. This sentence was, of course, my chief motivator:

“It is clearly evident that in controlling the sequence of repairs and the financial burden that follows, beaver removal is the only option.”

It’s actually in moments like these that I’m happy that beaver relocation isn’t legal in California. The only real power that can motivate enough public backlash to get this staff report challenged is the distaste people feel about killing things that are in their way.  If there was an option to just ‘move’ them into someone else’s way, and folks could fantasize that they’d done the right thing because the beavers would be happier in the forest or whatever –  support would dry up pretty fast. Here’s my response if you’re interested. I’m sure there are all kinds of typos. Their report was given to me at 3 pm and I was pounding out my response until 7.

The MOST interesting part of this report to me was the part where they say staff already had an ‘expert’ come out and advice them about the beavers in 2011. Hmm. I’m laying a finger aside my nose and predicting that we can GUESS who that ‘expert’ was. The same ‘expert’ that advised our public works that flow devices always fail.


Posted by heidi08 On April - 8 - 2016Comments Off on GUESS WHAT?







Mario will be here tuesday morning to start prepping the bridge. Why not celebrate by sharing this tweet to help pay him! Three days left!

CaptureFinal panorama

Auguries for International Beaver Day

Posted by heidi08 On April - 7 - 2016Comments Off on Auguries for International Beaver Day

Red sky at night, sailors delight.

Yesterday or today is International Beaver Day. I always thought the seventh, and BWW says the 7th, but yesterday the examiner said the sixth, and a very strange thing happened out out of the blue. Two days is certainly better than one. But certainly far short of the 365 that beavers deserve.

Limited Edition Loggly Hoover Tee

In celebration of International Beaver Day, Loggly’s very own Hoover CaptureBeaver is offering a limited-edition super hero Hoover shirt to support our local beaver nonprofit, Worth A Dam.

Don’t miss out on the chance to look cool and give back — 100% of each purchase will go directly to Worth a Dam to help fund beaver management (kinda like log management maybe?), tree replacement and education efforts here in the Bay Area!
Loggly is a cloud data management company based in San Francisco. And they were oddly inspired to do something generous for International Beaver Day because they work with ‘LOGS’ and their logo is the beaver. Because they’re in SF they thought of us. No kidding. All proceeds go to Worth A Dam until monday, and they’re going to donate regardless. Talk about strange blessings you never imagined.  I can just barely understand what they do, but this video helps a little.

surprised-child-skippy-jonOkay, this is strange. But stranger STILL was sitting at the city council meeting last night and listening to every single member say nice things about the beavers and the mural and, frankly, me. Really.  What weird energy is at work when an entire city council, stops to shake the hand of the burr that’s been under their saddle for nearly a decade. “You did a fantastic job, burr.” They inexplicably said. “Your energy and commitment really made something beautiful in Martinez, and inspired us all”.

Burr was very pleased.

We retired to toast the artist on the porch before they actually voted, and I won’t believe everything is progressing until I see it in print, but the meeting went very very well. And all winds seem favorable at the moment.

NCaptureear as I can tell Lara moved they took staff recommendations for items 2-11 (we were six) and the council gave a unanimous vote in agreement. So it happened. Is happening.

Looks like Martinez gets another dam mural!

Now any normal person would be saying, wow, great job. Give yourself a  glass of champagne. That was frickin awesome. Nothing else what so ever is going to replace this moment in your day. Just stop and bask for a while.

And then I read this headline this morning.

Who on earth KNEW that ‘Perryman’, in addition to being the last name of the burr in question, was also an incorporated area of Maryland? Not me.  I’m fairly certain this is the finest headline I will ever read.PERRYMAN