Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

Beaver Fireside Chats

Posted by heidi08 On May - 2 - 2017Comments Off on Beaver Fireside Chats

Three beaver stories you don’t see every day…from places you truly expect to know better. The first is from Maine where a man believes he saw castoroides in person. Yes, really. He doesn’t want to give the location to make sure no people want go hunting for him.

Maine Man Claims to Have Witnessed Giant Beaver

A man from Maine claims to have seen a gigantic beaver. His estimations of size were about 14 feet long and weighing over 350 pounds. The man didn’t want to give away the exact location, for fear someone would try to harm the giant rodent.

“It was about 30 years ago,” he told Crypto Crew researcher Thomas Marcum. “It was a very general geographic area,” he added.

The anonymous eyewitness says he doesn’t want to give too much information about the area of the alleged sighting in order to protect this “rare animal” from “unwanted” human activity.

The man believes the rodent was about 14 feet long with an estimated weight of 350 pounds. It is believed that giant beavers, also known as Castoroides, went extinct about 10,000 years ago.

You saw a giant beaver 30 years ago? That’s nothing, a mere 47 years ago I could fly down stairs! I carefully explained to my disbelieving sister that I could only do it when no one was watching, because mysteries must be protected you know. Which I think makes my story more believable. To be fair, people were certain the ivory billed woodpecker was extinct until someone found one lurking in the back woods. I guess it’s theoretically possible castorides could be hiding in Maine.

Well, maybe not Maine.

Onto Montana where a wastewater staffer who has been told to protect the precious levys by killing beavers. A lot of beavers.

Pat Brook has nothing against beavers, but Hurricane Katrina forced his hand

Up until six years ago, though, Brook says, he’d never given beaver a second thought.

“Why would I?”

The answer is Hurricane Katrina. After New Orleans’ levees failed in 2005, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began reevaluating other levees across the country, identifying deficiencies and tasking local officials with fixing them. When Missoula’s time came in 2011, the feds found that beavers were burrowing into a portion of the levee stretching from California Street to Russell. Their directive: Get rid of the beavers. And so, over the past six years, Brook has trapped 21 beavers near the California Street footbridge with the help of Dave Wallace, a Kila-based private contractor who specializes in wildlife control and removal.

“Let’s face it, you’re right on a primary corridor there,” Wallace says. “Basically, trapping is just preventative maintenance.”

Even so, Brook hates to call what they do trapping. It’s a practice he doesn’t support. “I mean, what’s the word I’m looking for? Barbaric?” From day one, he’s bucked the advice he says he received from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to simply kill the critters. Instead, he’s insisted on releasing the captured beavers at either Kelly Island or Fort Missoula, the two sites that FWP, which issues his permits, instructed him to use for relocation. Keeping the beavers alive carries an additional $50-per-beaver charge, and Wallace says Missoula is “the only place [in the state] where that’s carried out.” Brook sees it as money well spent.

“It sucks, but I gotta do it,” he says. “There’s a reason I’m here doing it, but I’d rather leave them alone.” According to Brook, the city’s bill for beaver relocation since 2011 totals $15,023.03.

City officials haven’t exactly been keen to discuss their approach to the beaver problem, fearful of how the trapping might play with the public. In fact, Brook found himself at the center of a dust-up in early April after two women confronted Wallace while he was setting cages. Brook says the situation escalated rapidly, drawing in both Missoula police and FWP.

The April incident has made increased public awareness inevitable. So Brook is now crafting a new plan, one that calls for installing large beaver-resistant rocks, or rip-rap, along the threatened stretch of levee. The project will have “a hefty price-tag,” he says, and would have to get the OK not just from city administrators, but from the feds as well.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still scratching my head about this article even though there not a word I disagree with. The waterway would be full of beavers using it as a freeway on their way to disperse, and killing every single one and throwing away the skin isn’t ‘trapping’ by any stretch of the word.

But the odds of him getting approval for  the rip rap plan are pretty slim. Just  like the odds of relocated beavers dumped in a neighboring lake surviving are also pretty slim. The army corps of Engineers were always crazy about their levies, and since Katrina they’ve become downright levy nazi’s. Remember a couple years back when they told California that if vegetation was left standing on a levy it wouldn’t be treated as their responsibility in a flood?

Sure, more erosion. That’s what levy’s need.

Well I wish Mr. Brooks all the luck in the world on his quest, and wrote him some advice about cost saving arguments to wield. In the meantime we should just all appreciate the fact that there is at least ONE wastewater operator in Montana that thinks endless depredation of beavers is cruel and pointless, and that’s something.Capture

Finally, CBC radio is fondly remembering one of their most famous stories today. Apparently this story was listened to and shared more than any other. The narrator is a mild-mannered canadian man who apparently wished the beaver no harm, and holds no grudges. I found the whole thing grizzly in the extreme, but I was somewhat touched by his comments at the end. Listen if you dare.

Stepping up for beavers

Posted by heidi08 On April - 29 - 2017Comments Off on Stepping up for beavers

Beaver benefits are on Utah public radio this morning. Let’s hope that helps his case for Kelly’s visit to the court house next week.

The Beaver: Helping Keep Water On Drying Lands on Wild About Utah

Installing a pressure transducer (inside the white pvc pipe) which is used to measure flow. Restoration treatments are assessed through monitoring water flows.

Beginning as early as the 17th century, beavers have struggled to find safe places to build their homes. Initially, hunters trapped beaver extensively to keep up with the popular beaver fashions in Europe.Then as settlers began moving west, they considered the beavers annoying because of their tendency to cause flooding and damage trees – so the trapping continued.

However, today in many parts of the American West, the beaver’s 400-year-old struggle is fading, because of their ability to keep water on dry land in an efficient manner.

While beavers may not be welcome in most city limits, ranchers and wildlife managers are re-introducing them to rural areas where the benefits of their dams far outweigh the inconveniences.

When Jay Tanner learned of the potential benefit of beavers, he drove to Utah State University and met with scientists and researchers who had experienced success in restoring beavers in the west.

Eric Thacker, Rangeland Management Extension Specialist at USU said, “A beaver dam provides a buffer or mitigation for drought.”

Kent Sorenson, habitat biologist from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources described the financial benefit of the beavers, “[When beaver manage the dams] our operation and maintenance costs go to zero — they do all the work. They are 24/7 – 365-day maintenance crews that do not require a Corps of Engineers 404 permit.

And that! ladies an gentlemen, is what we call “good beaver press”. Share this site with your friends or nonbelievers because its a good big of persuasion from a pretty rugged source. Hopefully the judge in the McAdams case will accidentally hear it over coffee and waffles this morning. I don’t think it counts as ‘ex parte contact’ since it doesn’t star Kelly or his beavers, right?


Another nice beaver report in the form of a letter regarding depredation from the president of Protect Our Wildlife in Vermont.

Off-season trapping doesn’t help

Some of you may be familiar with official trapping season each year, but did you know that trapping occurs all year long under the guise of “nuisance” wildlife control? This unregulated, year-round trapping and killing occurs at biologically inappropriate times when animals like foxes, raccoons and others are raising their young. This means, among other things, animals are left orphaned with little chance of survival when their mothers are killed.

There are no set parameters as to what constitutes a “nuisance” animal. A warden once told me that a raccoon could be defecating in your garden and that could be considered a nuisance and therefore an excuse to kill the animal. There are many non-lethal ways to address wild animals causing damage that don’t involve killing, but the state seems to be mired in a trap/kill/repeat loop. Tragically, beavers are one of the most heavily trapped animals, leaving entire family units broken. Beaver kits stay with the parents for two years so the loss of a parent can be detrimental to the survival of offspring. Water flow control devices, exclusion fencing and wrapping trees are all long-lasting, humane options to address beaver damage.

Not only is this unjustified trapping and killing bad for wildlife, it’s bad for people. Unlicensed, unregistered “nuisance” wildlife control operators can collect payment to trap and kill animals, but these operators are not even required to have a trapping license. This means that they haven’t undergone the trapper education program nor are they familiar with best management practices. Animals trapped and killed as “nuisances” aren’t reported to the Fish & Wildlife Department so there is no data collection or controls in place to monitor what kinds of animals are killed, how many and why. For a Department who is responsible for protecting wildlife for the benefit of all Vermonters, including future generations, this seems to be a lapse in responsibility.

We are thankful for bill, H.262, An act relating to the licensing of nuisance wildlife control operators, introduced by Representative Jim McCullough, which will hopefully close some of these loopholes, if the bill is successful. When unlicensed trappers set leghold and body gripping traps during the warmer months when people are out recreating with their dogs, that presents an unintended threat. A baited trap for a raccoon will just as likely trap a dog or cat. We must emerge from the dark ages and find a better way.

 Brenna Galdenzi, president of Protect Our Wildlife POW

Good letter Brenna! We here in California agree that beaver nuisance depredation is the unregulated, unobserved practice that kills far, far too many beavers. Near as I can tell looking at the text of the bill, H. 262 requires even nuisance trappers to have a license and to show the reason why lethal means are needed  and what will be done to discourage wildlife in the future.

Since depredation takes resources away from EVERYONE in the state, it seems pretty reasonable to ask for these things, doesn’t it?

Insert stuck beaver joke here

Posted by heidi08 On April - 27 - 2017Comments Off on Insert stuck beaver joke here

What I want to know is Who decides these things? What all-powerful overseeing force determines how every reporter is going to talk about beavers in every region and every country with the flick of a finger? Is there some giant war room where multiple screens determine the headlines on every news source in the hemisphere? I guess it could be something as simple as a press release, but maybe it’s a whole underground beaver cabal string-puller we don’t even suspect. Case in point:

Fat Beaver Stuck In Hamilton Fence Rescued By Animal Services Officer

This chunky national symbol has Hamilton Animal Services to thank for seeing him through to Canada’s 150th birthday.

The service responded to a call on Tuesday reporting a beaver wedged in a wrought iron fence. In their news release, the agency said they suspected the animal tumbled part-way through, but then found itself unable to wriggle its winter-heavy posterior between the bars.

Animal services officer Sarah Mombourquette freed the portly beast with the help of fast thinking and a common household ingredient – a little bit soap slicked him up enough to slip the rest of the way through

While beavers don’t hibernate, this adult male was clearly carrying a bit of extra weight after a less-active winter season. Slightly above-average temperatures across southern Ontario this past winter may have helped him along in packing on the pounds; the winter of 2015/2016 saw an epidemic of fat squirrelsthanks to milder weather giving them more access than usual to food through the winter months.

After the rescue, animal services transferred the beaver to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge in Jarvis, where he’ll spend some time recovering from his injuries before being rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

“Conservation efforts have led to a healthy beaver population and in honour of Canada 150, Hamilton Animal Services is thrilled to give this beaver a happy ending,” said Paoila Pianegonda, the city’s Manager of Animal Services. “We believe that no beaver should be left behind.”

Even if his behind is what got him in trouble in the first place.

Ha ha ha! Get it? Because he’s a pudgy beaver! Right? We all know beavers are skinny and fluffy little rabbit sized rodents with long tails. Because the warm winter meant that the beaver was awake and eating all winter. Like YOU you lazy couch potato. Because under normal conditions a beaver would easily pass through a wrought iron fence.


First of all, I hate to break it to you, and forgive me for interrupting your little castor fat-shaming session, that isn’t a fat beaver. It’s a grown up beaver. Maybe not even grown up. Maybe a disperser. You forgot how big an adult beaver is because we killed them all. Second of all, beavers get THINNER in the winter not fatter. The winter freeze means they have to live off the food they stored, so as the winter drags on the is less and less to eat. Third of all, even if there was a very, very warm winter and the lucky beaver could go get fresh food all the time because the water was never frozen,  there is still no reason he would put on more weight in the winter because he would be doing the same things he normally did.

Instead, of accusing that beaver of sloth, I wonder, if you could for a moment, just remember back to the days of your childhood where you were certain that your head would easily fit through the stair banister railing, or your brother’s headboard, or the fence slats in the garden. Do you remember what a shock it was to find that not only could you not get through, which you had been certain you could do,  you could even not get back out? Your friend Whitey tried to pull you out and failed, then your brother and finally your dad. Do you remember how lonely and cold it got waiting for the fire department to come and set you free?

As horrific. terrifying and humiliating that fateful day was, aren’t you glad there wasn’t an international headline the next morning saying it happened because of your pudgy head?

With me it was my right thumb. And a very inviting and mysterious hole inside the handlebar of my highchair where the tray table usually snapped in. We didn’t have enough chairs at for our big (Catholic) family for me to sit on one at the table for a while, so I stuck with the highchair longer than most. I remember my mother telling me, when I poked that inviting opening curiously, “Don’t put your finger in there!” Ah, whose life wouldn’t have been different if they had listened to that advice?

So obviously I never got my thumb stuck in the whole one night after a particularly unappetizing dinner. And I never had to tell my parents the awful truth after all the plates were cleared away. And my father didn’t have to try vasoline and finally ice to ease it out. What I can assure you, is that my 2 year old thumb was not pudgy from winter, and I certainly wasn’t happy about those long hours I waited for the swelling to go down so I could get it back.

Something tells me that beaver wasn’t either.

Children's paradeOn to wiser things. (And pretty much anything is.)

Believe it or not, the bagpipe player who helps out at the festival found this in his Canadian nature news feed and shared it with me. Small, small world. This is the Michel LeClare workshop we talked about earlier.