Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

Rolig bäver skämt!

Posted by heidi08 On December - 6 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Apologies in advance for using google translate but my Swedish is -er- rusty. Yesterday I received an email for the owner of an ecotour company in Sweden asking me what the best beaver tours were in the west. Could I recommend some for his itinerary through the western states? I politely explained that I had friends dotted around that could show him local colonies but as far as I knew there were NO professional tours in the US. He was surprised and said that there were at least 20 in Sweden!

calvin-and-hobbes-laughIt took a while to catch our breaths again after the hearty chuckle to think that of the day when California (about the same size as Sweden) sported 20 professional  beaver tours. (That would be like four in the bay area alone!) I, of course, went to check out his website.

captureThe1 tour runs 5 hours and costs around 150 dollars per person. It is lead by strapping young wildlife guides who know what to look for and are wonderfully fluent.   The tour includes an outdoor meal by the lake and advice on how to get thcapturee best photographs. Their website says that beavers are seen most nights and often feed near the boat.

Just like a visit to the footbridge in Martinez except fewer homeless and 150 dollars a head.

Marcus thought it odd that there were no tour programs and suggested he might be able to help us start one? Just our luck because we’re such fools in Martinez we’ve been giving free tours to 500 people a year at the festival and on call when we could have been making top dollar! (500 x 150 x 10) adds up to nearly  a million dollars!

calvin-and-hobbes-laughCertainly we know in Martinez that folks are interested in Beavers and appreciate the chance to see them or see evidence of them. Jon could tell you how eagerly folks listen to his many tours and crowd for a chance to see a chewed tree or dam. Maybe there is a future for us in beaver tourism? Ahh Marcus, you have made us dream of the possible and reach for the stars! Thanks for that!

Speaking of glimpses of rare wildlife I was particularly moved by this short celebration of reintroducing fishers on Mt. Rainier tribal land this Saturday. Fishers were all trapped out like beavers for their rich fur and hadn’t been seen in hundreds of years. We know from our beaver mileage that sometimes the easiest way to get around the feds and bring back a species is to just do it on sovereign land where federal rules have no jurisdiction. Then wait for the successful animals to reintroduce themselves over the borders.

Surrounded by riches and treasures

Posted by heidi08 On December - 5 - 2016Comments Off on Surrounded by riches and treasures

It’s Monday, you have tons of Christmas wrapping and decorating to do, so you need this. Really.

cutest-kit-ever

Back when famed wildlife photographer was photographing our ill-fated baby beavers, she would Suzi at workhave to leave occasionally to go to Washington where Sarvey rehab facility had a very small baby beaver that she needed to include with the photos for the beaver story for Ranger Rick. I remember because in the beginning she talked about filming him in a ghillie suit because he shouldn’t learn to trust humans. The timing is right and I think this little guy was it.

Never A Dull Bling

I work at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a rescue and rehab facility for wildlife.

In May 2015, this baby beaver was discovered by some campers.  He was without his mother and too young to survive on his own, so the campers brought him to us.  We actually already had a female beaver with us who was rehabbing from an animal attack, and the two beavers were eventually put together.  The older female became a surrogate to the baby male. The two beavers spent a year with us.  This past spring they were both released, together, in a secluded area with lots of access to trees, water, and natural habitat.

Beavers play a crucial role in biodiversity.  Many species rely on beaver-created habitat, and a lot of these species who rely on beavers are threatened or endangered.  This year, the baby American beaver was made Patient of the Year at Sarvey. Ornaments and cards were made to celebrate this particular animal.

BENEFITS OF BEAVER PONDS

  • Decrease damaging floods
  • Recharge drinking water aquifers
  • Remove pollutants from surface and ground water
  • Drought protection
  • Decreased erosion

Sarvey does excellent rehab work and has earned a reputation throughout the world for their wildlife care. Aside from having the very cutest kit photo I have ever seen, they understand why beavers matter, which isn’t always the case. If you want to send them some love donate here because they deserve it.

Now there’s something that I’m even more excited to talk about. It’s an article in the very respected magazine Natural History that a beaver buddy alerted me to yesterday. The article is by Katy Spence and she obviously  spent some quality time with our beaver friends in Alberta with Dr. Glynnis Hood and Lorne Fitch of Cows and Fish. You can’t believe how great this article is. Guess what the title is. Go ahead, guess.

hydroDing! Ding! Ding! That’s the title I have been waiting for a decade to read! Somebody give Katy a Worth A Dam t shirt! Unfortunately the very impressive article isn’t online and doesn’t want to be shared with the likes of people who haven’t purchased a subscription, so it required stealth to obtain and sharing it with you requires stealth as well. I figured I’d put the cute baby photo on the top and all the copyright police would walk on by saying ohh, just some cute animal loving website; nothing to see here, move along.

Are they gone? Shhh. It starts with the account of Pierre Buldoc, who wanted to use beaver on is private land.

Sometimes called “nature’s engineers,” the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is one of the few mammals — including humans — that substantially alters the landscape to suit its own needs. In fact, ecologists consider beavers to be a keystone species because their presence or absence will drastically change an ecosystem. With increasingly extreme weather events, ever-growing human populations, and declining freshwater sources, some beaver advocates believe the animals offer a vital, natural solution for retaining water in ponds and mitigating floods in other riparian ecosystems.

When Bolduc first proposed reintroducing beavers to the landscape, his neighbors — not to mention county officials — were not happy. Beavers had previously clogged a nearby culvert, which, in turn, often washed out the road. They were a nuisance, so the county removed them. Property values, crops, and roads in many rural areas have suffered damage from beaver construction sites. Sometimes, the territorial rodents will cut a favorite tree or even kill curious pets.

Yet, the rodents have had a tremendous impact on Bolduc’s pond. After approaching each of his neighbors individually about the beavers to convince them to try his reintroduction experiment, they eventually agreed. He even suggested an alternate solution for the county road: beaver-proof culverts. Unlike standard culverts, which run parallel to the water, these culverts are perpendicular — letting water rise into them like a straw in a glass. If the water gets high enough, it will drain through a connected horizontal pipe that runs underneath the road, preventing floods. Even when the beavers’ dam breached in May 2016 and drained hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, the culvert prevented a flood.

As climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events, some scientists are eyeing beavers as a tool for maintaining volatile watersheds. In 2008, Glynnis Hood, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta-Augustana who specializes in wetland ecology and the impact of beavers, published a paper describing beavers’ unprecedented ability to mitigate drought. She and her team analyzed fifty-four years of drought data from Elk Island National Park in Alberta and found that where beaver dams were present, there was more water-up to nine times that of a pond or water source without beavers. Because beaver ponds are so much deeper than other ponds, water lasts longer, even in times of drought.

Hood has continued to examine the nuanced effect beavers have on a landscape, as well as how humans respond to them. She’s completing a study that compares costs of different beaver management efforts. The study will contribute to a larger project, called Leave it to Beavers, which aims to reduce human-beaver conflict. The Alberta-based, inter-agency effort uses citizen science to gather information about the long-term effects beavers can have on a landscape. The project is composed of several agencies, including the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, a non-government agency informally known as “Cows and Fish.” Cows and Fish works with landowners and stakeholders to clarify how water flows through different landscapes, especially agricultural areas.

A riparian specialist for Cows and Fish, Lome Fitch, is trying to spark discussions about living with beavers. He offers a voluntary workshop on how beavers affect the landscape and how humans can peacefully coexist with them. He isn’t interested in pushing people to accept beavers, necessarily. He’s simply holding the door open. “You don’t bring people to the middle,” Fitch said. “You just start them thinking about where their position is and, hopefully, use that and expand their information sources. Maybe they’ll continue to migrate towards the middle.”

Fitch developed a ten-step list of goals, the first of which is building tolerance. Perhaps the most formidable step will be to change government policy in Alberta. The province has no clear policy concerning beavers, leaving confusion over what is permitted and what is not when it comes to relocation and rehabilitation.

The article goes into a full description of flow devices and how they work, and talks about how Glynnis and her students are using them effectively and teaching others how to use them. It even talks about how polarizing beavers are, Rachel Haddock of the Miitakis Institute calls them the ‘Wolves of the watershed’ because people either love them or hate them. Ahh! Sounds familiar!

Then it ends on this POWERFUL note.

If people are willing to compromise with beavers now, the result could be a new narrative in which humans and wildlife co-engineer a healthier, more resilient landscape. The big unknown is whether or not we can move past old assumptions.

That sure is the big unknown alright. But wowowow! What a fantastically public place to put this out there. We can only hope it gets read and circulated in all the right places. Lets hope someone leaves it on the governor’s desk right away. And decorates the halls of congress with it. And forces everyone waiting in line trying to get a depredation permit to read it. And if, btw,  you work somewhere someone needs to read it email me, and we’ll see what we can do.

 

Hoosers wrapping trees?

Posted by heidi08 On December - 3 - 20161 COMMENT

Don’t say it never can happen Now we’re wrapping trees in Indiana. YES Indiana!

Beavers becoming a gnawing problem along rivers in downtown Fort Wayne

Volunteers have begun wrapping the base of large trees with metal hardware cloth to protect them.

City officials still are debating and discussing downtown riverfront development, but some of Nature’s engineers already have bit into the project with their own plans.

Several beavers living in the rivers in downtown Fort Wayne have been gnawing the bark off the base of large trees along the riverbanks, which eventually kills the trees and can lead to the tree falling into the river, said Dan Wire, a lifelong user of local rivers and executive director of the locally based Tri-State Watershed Alliance.

“What we have found is the beavers really like the cottonwoods and willow trees,” Wire said. The loss of the trees also causes other problems, because river willows are really good at stabilizing stream banks to prevent erosion, he said.

That’s why he and several students from The Crossing braved the cold Friday to wrap hardware cloth, a type of metal fencing, around the bases of large trees growing on the east side of the St. Marys River along the grounds of the Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave. The Crossing works with students who have struggled in traditional school settings to improve their academic success, provide job training and offer faith-based character education.

The hardware cloth prevents beavers from chewing on the tree bark underneath, protecting the tree, Wire said. People aren’t allowed to hunt or trap wild animals in city parks or within 500 feet of them, which would include the area around the Old Fort and Headwaters Park.

Okay, first of all, we’re really happy you’re wrapping trees instead of trapping straight outta the gate. Maybe the photographer is confused but that’s not a beaver chew mark. Beavers don’t just take the bark, like  nibbling the chocolate outer coating off an oreo. They want to sharpen their teeth on the creamy inner goodness too, and they want that tree to fall so the part they REALLY want, all those leaves and little branches, falls down where they and their kids can reach it.
Second of all, we’re not wild about hardware cloth. It’s a pain to cut for one – and fasten – and I’m not convinced its strong enough to discourage some really hungry beaver in winter. And btw you should leave room for the tree to grow. And for Pete’s sake your name is WIRE so wtree_wraphy didn’t you use WIRE like almost every smart person who wants this work?

Well, we’re glad you’re wrapping trees, anyway. Baby steps, right?
mathTrying out a new simple graphic for kids this summer. What do you think?

Things that shouldn’t be and things that should.

Posted by heidi08 On December - 2 - 2016Comments Off on Things that shouldn’t be and things that should.

Some things just shouldn’t happen. Really. And I say that as a woman with a lot of patience for ridiculous things. But some things just shouldn’t even exist. Like this, for instance.

Rogers Mayor pardons “Bart the Beaver”

Rogers Mayor Greg Hines pardoned “Bart the Beaver” in a comedic Facebook post Wednesday.

“Mayor Hines and Councilman Kendall met with Bart the Beaver tonight to talk about the trees at Lake Atalanta,” the post reads.

“Bart decided to turn away from his life of crime, and was given a full pardon. We wish you the best of luck, Bart! #RogersRocks

The post referenced a satiric Facebook page called “Save Bart the Beaver,” which has gone viral in the wake of an investigation at Lake Atlanta.

Tuesday, the city and police held a press conference saying someone used a hatchet to chop down trees around the lake.

But Wednesday, Ben Cline with the City of Rogers said experts came in and determined a beaver or multiple beavers could possibly be to blame instead.

“We had Arkansas Game and Fish come down here and take a look, and they found some more evidence there might possibly be some beavers down here at Lake Atalanta.” The city said it’s not ruling out vandalism just yet.

The city planted thousands of trees in the park, so the cost was relatively low because they bought in bulk. But it could still cost thousands of dollars to replace those trees, White said.

Lake Atalanta was closed for a year of renovations. It was reopened with a ribbon cutting celebration on October 30th.

If our mayor posed for this photo, Jon would be deciding whether to pay my bail. There’s no question about it, because I would have created a crime. Would you like to see the evidence their ‘experts’ can’t identify definitively? You know you would, so don’t even bother answering. Here’s the head-scratching crime that leaves all of Alabama confused about the cat burglar’s identity.

Gosh, I wonder what that could be? Apparently the hatchet-wielders took down several trees that same night. They obviously were trying to show off for each other.   Almost like a gang activity. Sheesh. Just so you know in advance, if holes ever show up in your trees Atalanta think woodpecker, and if all the leaves suddenly fall off, think AUTUMN.

Meanwhile the Mendenhall beavers will be at the Mendenhall library Wednesday night along with our old friends Bob Armstrong and Mary Willson. We’re so proud of the wonderful work he’s done with the beaver patrol. Our own Lory met Bob in Juneau and he showed her around.  If you can’t make it yourself you should really just look at the book on the left margin.  It remains my favorite collection of beaver photos and my screen saver to this very day.

Wildlife Wednesdays: beavers at Mendenhall

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance presents its speaker series, Wildlife Wednesdays, at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library from 7-8 p.m. on Dec. 7. The presentation “Beavers of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area” will feature guest speakers Mary Willson, Bob Armstrong and Chuck Caldwell.

Wildlife Wednesdays are free and open to the public. Willson, a retired professor of ecology and columnist for the Empire, and Caldwell, Vice President of Juneau Trout Unlimited, both volunteer for Juneau’s “Beaver Patrol,” a group of naturalists and concerned citizens who have been working in the Dredge Creek and Dredge Lake area for about seven years. Armstrong is a photographer, author and retired fisheries biologist.

mendenhall

Beaver dam at Mendenhall glacier: Bob Armstrong

Another Origin Story…

Posted by heidi08 On November - 19 - 2016Comments Off on Another Origin Story…

I am hard at work on the newsletter for our tenth anniversary, and I spent most of yesterday writing the origin story of Worth A Dam. As nothing else seems to be happening in the beaver world at the moment, I thought you might enjoy it.

origin-storyIt was certainly unusual to have beavers in the middle of town, as our city suddenly did in 2007. Maybe if nothing else had happened that’s all it would have been; a passing interest that eventually –  passed.  But when the city announced that flat-tailed residents would have to be eliminated people started talking: to their neighbors, to each other, to their representatives, and to the media.

Eventually the city was forced to hold a meeting to discuss the beavers’ fate. There were too many people interested to fit into city hall and the forum was moved to the High School Auditorium. Some 200 people showed up – coming from uptown, downtown, and out-of-town. There were representatives from the Sierra Club, the Human Society, local news and a documentary filmmaker. The vast majority overwhelmingly demanded that the city solve the flooding risk without harming the beavers.

Faced with such vocal public support, the city council agreed to form a subcommittee to study the issue further. I was thrilled to be invited aboard the task force which consisted of council members, creek professionals, beaver supporters and concerned property owners. We had 90 days to address the pros and cons of possibly living with beavers in an urban stream. We quickly recommended hiring Skip Lisle to install a flow device that would prevent possible flooding.

The success of that first big meeting originally left me with euphoric hopes for a positive outcome. I was surprised to learn that even after we succeeded in persuading the city to hire Skip and even though his device worked entirely as promised, there was still uncertainty about the beavers fate. Addressing the real (and imagined) concerns in the subcommittee soon made me realize that the fight was a long way from over. It was Skip Lisle who initially suggested that a nonprofit might be necessary to advocate for the beavers and direct funding over time. After watching the acrimony of those meetings even after flooding was averted with his help, I could see he was right.

In choosing a name for the organization  I remember thinking that the struggle was too bitter for something benign like “Friends of Martinez Beavers” or “Wildlife Protectors”. It seemed the name needed to be something snappy with a little feisty backbone to get us thru the long struggle that lie ahead.

Thus “Worth A Dam” was born.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

From Massachusetts to Methow

Posted by heidi08 On October - 3 - 2016Comments Off on From Massachusetts to Methow

Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions just got back from Washington where he worked with the Methow Project and highway workers training folks to use flow devices. I think its pretty wonderful to have Kent and his merry band interested in solutions that allow pesky, trouble-making beavers to stay put instead of just whisking them away. I thought you’d want to see and hear about it. So these are Mike’s own words.

The Methow Beaver Project

completed-keystone-fence-in-winthrop-wa-with-oranogan-county-highway-deI was recently privileged to travel to north central WA State to train Okanogan County Highway personnel how to coexist with beavers. My thanks go to the Methow Beaver Project’s (MBP) Kent Woodruff and Julie Nelson for working to arrange it. We installed trapezoidal culvert fences at a couple of sites the County had been battling beavers at for some time.

kent-woodruff-and-julie-nelson-methow-beaver-projectKent, Julie and Josh Thomson (County Highway Engineer) were instrumental in the planning and execution of these two projects. I was very impressed with the County Highway workers and of course the MBP personnel who jumped right in the water to help construct these flow devices.

chesaw-wetland-upstream-of-cuvlert

 

That part of the country is so beautiful! I also got to see the Methow Beaver Project in person as they relocated beavers to their new habitats saving them from being killed. Their program is awesome and I have many great memories, such as Kent open flame grilling some fantastic Steelhead Trout!

Thanks for sharing your skills and letting us watch Mike! If you want to stay abreast of Mike’s work you should join the FB group “Beaver Management Forum” which always has interesting things.

Now for me, we’re still on vacation. And while it was uncomfortably warm on Saturday, I awake to rainstorms in the morning. So of course I did the only reasonable thing a person could do in the rain at the ocean. I played with my toys.

Beavers in Wales

Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2016Comments Off on Beavers in Wales

A very nice interview regarding beaver reintroduction of beaver in Wales from CoutryFocus deserves your attention. I’ve taken out all but what concerns us here. I especially love the farmer interview when he explains they were willing to try reintroducing beavers as long as their was an ‘EXIT STRATEGY’ – meaning they could kill them if they caused trouble. Apparently England isn’t even willing to attempt coitus without that these days.

capture

CLICK TO LISTEN

I especially like the part were he explains the unrealistic concerns anglers had – that beavers would eat all their salmon!

Meanwhile there was a very interesting discussion in Iowa where a county supervisor’s meeting was forced to consider what to do about a problematic beaver dam. And they didn’t discuss the options you’d expect.

Beaver Dam discussed during short Board of Supervisors meeting

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors met in a short session Monday with the major topic of discussion a beaver dam in a ditch along 41st Street. The dam had been cleared three times this year at taxpayers’ expense but the board chose not to continue removing the dam until the backed up water threatened the roadway.

“As long as the dam and the water behind it is not affecting the roadway it is county policy to leave the dam alone,” Jeff Sorensen, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said.

“If it is determined that it is threatening the roadway then we can either remove the dam or remove the culvert and close the road.

Remove the culvert or close the road for a beaver problem?

Umm, there’s one other thing folks usually remove when that happens, but shhhh don’t tell them. I’m enjoying this moment. I want to read that sentence again over and over.

surprised-child-skippy-jon