Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

Orphans in zoos & Cities in debt

Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

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 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

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

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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

Another difference between Iowa and Washington

Posted by heidi08 On September - 11 - 2014Comments Off

News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Neighbors Want Solution For Beaver Dam Flooding

Just up the creek from where the water is backing up is a beaver dam, possibly more than one. It’s just north of Interstate 80 near the Davenport Municipal Airport. A resident who lives nearby and is dealing with water on her family’s land took some pictures. The problem is that the dams aren’t on her property and it’s been a struggle to get something done.

 ”It’s been going on since April. We’ve had water up to our knees almost,” said Lindsay Andrews. She says last year there was barely any water in the creek at all. Now there seems to be a bit of a beaver problem.

 ”We’ve seen a couple of beavers. My mother in law seen one. We watched one swim upstream not too long ago,” said Andrews.

 Their dams are leaving stagnant water and a muddy mess in area her family mostly uses for recreation but on a regular basis.

 ”We used to do cookouts, can’t do that. Kids used to ride the trails, can’t do that,” she said, “the bugs are a big concern… Safety is a big concern with the kids.”

My god the horror. Our kids haven’t been outside in 5 months because we’re terrified of the westnile-virus mosquitoes or some such nonsense those rotten beavers have brought into our bright green fertilizer-ruined stream. I have only written about beavers in Iowa once before in 8 years of coverage so that means they aren’t even enough of an issue to hit the news cycle.  I’m honestly not hopeful for these beavers, but I dutifully posted my comment just in case some landowner wants to be in touch about options.

The only other comment is about how dynamite will fix things, so I ain’t hopeful.

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A better use of our time is the youtube account of Ben Dittbrenner, who’s dissertation on beavers and climate change was mentioned a couple days ago in the news. He wrote back after my comment and said that he is thoroughly enjoying this part of his work, and his close contact with the beavers. He’s particularly struck by what a mollifying effect their adorable presence has on even the most hardened maintenance crew.

Of course Worth A Dam knows all about that. Remember the crane company that put in the sheetpile?

cooper craneYou should subscribe to Ben’s youtube account right away so you see the cool stuff he encounters during his project. I just wish data collection on MY dissertation looked like this!

Published on Sep 2, 2014

 This video is from our animal husbandry facility. Beavers are temporarily housed as part of the Skykomish Beaver Project. The goal of this research is to relocate nuisance beavers, which would otherwise be killed, into headwaters of the Skykomish River Basin to stimulate habitat improvement and climate change

Beavers at Sulpher Creek Nature Center

Posted by heidi08 On September - 10 - 2014Comments Off


From the SF Gate, May 4 2011

Tucked in a woodsy canyon in the Hayward hills, the Sulphur Creek Nature Center treats as many as 900 injured and orphaned wild animals every year. A wildlife education and resource center, it also serves as a permanent refuge for several nonreleasable birds and mammals.

 1. Sulphur Creek Nature Center

 Operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, this center offers classes, a year-round school science program for teachers and their students (preschool through sixth grade), an Animal Lending Library teaching the responsibilities of caring for a pet, and more. (510) 881-6747. www.haywardrec.org/sulphurcreek.html.

Think Lindsay Museum in Hayward and you’re close. And come this saturday think this:

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Beavers are “nature’s engineers” in providing habitat for a diverse eco-system. Learn about this “Keystone Species” from Heidi Perryman, founder of “Worth a Dam” and discover how beavers are “key” to a rich environment.

 28273 18yr+ $18

This all came about because one of the folks who used to regularly watch beavers with us is a volunteer there and after years of persuasion they agreed to finally host a program on beavers. I’m kinda surprised it’s so pricey and ADULT ONLY but I’ll try to be worth it, with lots of after hours adult only information!

(I only have on explicit beaver picture, but I’ll eek it out.)

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Ooh there’s a new video from the wild beaver folks on the Tay, although I hope the date is wrong. Beavers mating in September means babies in late December? Ohhh just got an email clarifying that the date this was taken was Feb 2. Much better!