Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

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.



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.



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.



Beavers created community

Posted by heidi08 On August - 30 - 2016Comments Off on Beavers created community


The DCaptureaily Citizen in Wisconsin released a series of 12 photos chosen to represent the beavers of ‘beaver dam’ which is just outside Milwaukee. I think their beaver imagery leaves a lot to be desired but I was impressed with the fireman who looks more hound than beaver. Capture1

Lory wrote last night that her neighbor, Martinez lion and former EBRP ward supervisor Ted Radke had died. Ted was a champion and one of our first official beaver supporters. Many years ago he invited myself and Igor to present at the 70th anniversary of the EBRP and I wrote about it here:

Ted has high regard in my book, as he was one of the first “big names” to show support for the beavers. I read in an EBRP newsletter nearly two years ago that he had shown my beaver videos to the board, and quickly wrote him in appreciation. I got back a lovely handwritten card, thanking me for my work and saying that he and his wife, Kathy enjoyed visiting the beavers from time to time. I was so tickled the card went straight into the scrapbook. One farmer’s market Sunday he strolled by and flipped through the book appreciatively, and was startled to find his own handwriting. (It had to go in the book, was all I could say. Honestly his support was the first indication I got that we might prevail.)

I am more than a little grateful for his help over the years, and saddened by this passing. The list of former beaver champions that have died is getting longer and it’s startling to think about how long this story has been playing out. The original beaver mother died, the original beaver father probably died, and some of their early supporters too. Still, the story marches on.

It comforts me that his bright, honest environmental lawyer son, chairs the PRMCC that has been called many times the best governing body in Martinez.  He was clearly raised to respect the city his father loved. It’s the group that approved the mural, all the festivals, and that we see the most of. Ted we will miss you, but your spirit will live on.

A treasure box of beaver stories

Posted by heidi08 On August - 26 - 2016Comments Off on A treasure box of beaver stories

There are quite a few beaver treats to enjoy today. I guess we should start out with the ‘day off’ I gave myself after Placer. I had been waiting to try this and just needed the space between deadlines. From now on I’m officially working on the beaver mania clock, but this was pure enjoyment. Alert readers might recognize the audio from earlier in the year’s Scientific American podcast. But the graphics are all mine.

I sent this to Nick myself and Michael Pollock did told me he did too, but the champagne and thank you bouquet hasn’t arrived yet. I’ll let you know when it does.

Here’s another remarkable treat that arrived yesterday, this one completely without Heidi’s fingerprints. The funny thing is that my father worked for PGE all his life from the lowest oiler in Oakland to the coporate office on the 35th flood in San Francisco as General Manager of Operations. This  is how he found a job for his shiftless immigrant son-in-law 30 years ago when the green card finally landed. Both men went on to retire from the company with generous pensions and mostly fond memories but maybe a little beaver intelligence survives in their absence?

Shasta County: PG&E Moves Gas Line to Prevent Beaver-Caused Leaks

ANDERSON — PG&E crews responded to a seemingly routine report of a gas odor on a rural residential road outside this Shasta County city. But what they found surprised them. PG&E crews recently relocated a gas line in Shasta County because of beavers chewing the line.  They located the leak and dug to expose the gas line for repairs, revealing a void around the plastic line and chew marks on the pipe.

The void was a beaver den, which had likely been abandoned as the beaver came across the gas line and perhaps thinking it was a tree root, chewed away. As soon as the rodent punctured the line releasing gas, the beaver apparently gave up and left the unfinished den.

We knew the first time it happened it was a beaver,” said David Ferguson, a gas maintenance and construction supervisor in Redding. “We made the repair and thought it was an isolated incident,” he added. “But after it happened a few more times, about once every one or two years, we realized we needed to find a solution.”

Cherokee Drive on the road in southern Shasta County. The gas line lay next to the banks of Anderson Creek Overflow, which in recent years has had an incursion of beavers as the industrious rodent reclaims developed areas. On Wednesday (Aug. 24), PG&E crews finished the relocation job and began serving the four residential customers with the new gas line at a safe distance away from the beaver habitat.

And no I’m NOT making this up. I guess the explosions in San Bruno a few gave them so much trouble they are bending over backwards to show they’re nice guys? Maybe the decision was purely fiscal since sending someone out year year after year to fix the chewed pipe cost money. Whatever the reason I’m dam proud of PGE this morning!

Now, if you regretted not being a fly on the wall for the Placer presentation you’re in luck. I think this should be cued up right to watch on your own. There are only a few places where I flubbed up, but I’m still quite sure its the BEST beaver presentation Placer County as ever had.

(And I’m looking at you, Mary Tappel.)

Outlasting the Outliers

Posted by heidi08 On August - 24 - 20163 COMMENTS

I was never very good at math, but for some reason I really got statistics. (Unlike Jon who is excellent at math and dismal in is stats class. Go figure.)  That way of thinking about numbers just made sense to me. I could put the formulas together and analyze what came out. That said, I would be the first to admit that I remembered only what I needed to know to graduate and retained a chalk outline of the information in my brain once the dissertation was signed.  But it generally helps me read research better and understand what was being done.

What remains of the chalk outline tells me that regression analysis is something you do when you have a bunch of numbers you’re trying to tease out the most significant factor that makes them different from each other. Why do some kids drop out of college and others succeed? Is it money? IQ? Parental support? Social skills on campus? etc. And of course identifying the primary cause is important because you want to use that in making future decisions down the line. So when a friend of a friend in the field of social stats for medication offered to work with the county portion of our depredation stats I was very excited.

This is what he wrote at the time:

I used the square miles to predict the expected # of permits for each county, bases on the square miles of water.  Then I looked at the actual number of permits, and calculated a ratio of the two.  The data and graph are attached.regression analysis

You have one county that is clearly an outlier – Placer. This country issued almost 7 times as many permits as expected. 

So yesterday I spoke to the Board of Supervisors of the outliers in question. The county chambers were  high tech – there were four large wall screens and the entire meeting was streamed to Tahoe where it aired live with participants. There were two computer/media guys on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly and two women taking notes up front. The Commissioners filed into their seats on the dais and the meeting started a little after nine. There was an award for a stalwart Rosie the riveter airline mechanic who had worked for years and years at the historic society, and then several multi million dollar contracts were approved for snow plow equipment and police squad cars. You really got the impression that this was a county with discretionary funds.

And then there was me and beavers.

A CDFW supervisor from Tahoe introduced me and then Jack Sanchez from SARSAS added a nice introduction as well.

Heidi  has become the nation’s foremost beaver specialist as a result of a beaver family moving into Martinez Creek in front of a Starbuck’s and producing kits.  She started Worth A Dam and has spread the beneficial aspects of beavers in waterways worldwide.

Because Placer County allowed housing development too close to its waterways, an adversarial relationship has developed with beavers.  I believe if the English, Russians and beaver trappers had not exterminated beavers in Ca in 18th and 19th centuries, we would have no need for our Rim Dams, Shasta, Folsom and Oroville.

I present with great pleasure Dr. Heidi Perryman to talk about beavers.

My talk went as it was supposed to, and everything worked the way it was supposed to. The four screens displayed my slides which were also streamed in Tahoe, and even without video and 8 the last minute surprise I think the message really got across. When it was over several commissioners asked questions and repeated the phrase “Seven times more”  with horror. I really had the impression that the talk registered with them and left a mark. Vice chair Jennifer Montgomery even said she remembered our friends at the Sierra Wildlife Coalition in Tahoe saying something similar years ago when the beavers were killed at Kings Beach.

When I left the meeting I was followed out by the CDFW man who thanked me for an excellent presentation and talked about how they had made a mistake in Tahoe years ago because they didn’t understand and now knew better, and a reporter for the Auburn newspaper who wanted to talk about 7 times more and ask about mosquitoes. Jack and his wife came to say what a good presentation it was and so did one of is board members. They had already scheduled a private meeting tomorrow with one of the commissioners to follow up!

Honestly, we floated home feeling that we had really done something useful. I thought about Robin from Napa getting the PRA in first place so we could analyze the data, and Jon and I slogging through all those grizzly permits, and me writing my grad school friend in a panic about the data, and her asking her friend from Infometrics who generously donated his time and my meeting Jack when I presented at the salmon conference in Santa Barbara, and us all collaborating to prove that beaver belonged in the sierras, and I really felt like all the piano strings had pulled in just the right way to make this happen.

Afterwards Commissioner Jim Holmes sent me this very nice note.

Dear Dr. Perryman,  Thank you so much for your very informative presentation on Urban Beavers. It gave me a wonderful overall picture of the importance of beavers in our ecosystem.

The recorded meeting should be available soon, and in the meantime I am definitely very aware of the step they took forward and the role we played in making that happen. Sometimes I think what I like best of all about this beaver chapter of my life is the self-guiding interdependence of it – weaving the help of friends into a creation of my own imagining without anyone telling me what I should do and letting that make a difference.

Feel sorry for the trapper in New Hampshire

Posted by heidi08 On August - 17 - 2016Comments Off on Feel sorry for the trapper in New Hampshire

With Pelt Prices Dropping, N.H.’s Beaver Population Grows

New Hampshire NPR would like you to consider the poor, unappreciated and undervalued trapper this morning. Because you know, those icky beavers can’t be regulated in any other way. Everyone says so, Even the NH Furbearer biologist Patrick Tate, whose salary is paid by selling trapping licenses. Go figure.

CaptureWell sure, this report contains a brief ineffective interview with a ‘save it all’ vegan at the end, and no discussion whatsoever of the valuable services beavers provide or the fish and wildlife that are harmed by their removal, but the real issue of whether this is a trap-happy report or not comes down to this essential question: A) Does it feature a sympathetic photo of the trapper? And B) is he presented in some humble, hardworking way like sitting on the stairs, writing a letter to his mother or standing on the street in his socks? Answer here:


If only there were a hole in his stocking! That would be really effective story telling. Because OBVIOUSLY no one else in the ENTIRE state can manage the voracious beaver population without help from trappers! I mean it’s not like our NH friend Art Wolinsky as been living peacefully with the flow device he and Mike installed and his beavers for half a decade right? Icing on the cake: Art just wrote me that they invited Mr. Tate to watch Mike install this flow device in person. No kidding.

Well the important thing is that the trapper is knowledgeable about what he’s doing. He clearly is very informed about beavers, right?

Kaska’s not sure how many beavers are in this pond. He should be able to tell once he catches one—by looking at its tail. Beavers are territorial: they fight by biting each others’ tails.

If tomorrow I find a beaver in one of my traps that has bite marks out of his tail, that will tell me I have two different family units in this area. Maybe I’ve got the stranger; maybe I’ve got the resident. But that tells me that I maybe have more.”

Yup. Because tail marks always mean that a stranger beaver is snooping around the area, right?

Mom's tail

Mom’s tail


Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2016Comments Off on Reparations

Feedback from  the lion’s den. Imagine how happy I was to get this from the commissioner who invited me.


Hi Heidi,

 Your presentation was right on – just what the Commission needed to here. I really enjoyed your style and the Point-on photos too. Also appreciated that you often included information from research. Thanks too for the brochure, very helpful, I will put it to good work. … I had a little chuckle when you mentioned that some commissioners were not watching the screen – you could not see it, but each of us has a private monitor directly in front of us on our desk. It mirrors what is shown on the big screen. We can see the presentation much better, especially the details,  when we watch it from our own monitor. J  … I believe you captivated us all.

With deep appreciation for the work you do on behalf of Beavers, and also for coming such a long way to share your knowledge us. You did a fantastic job!

Whooo hoooo! Now this truly makes me happier. And certainly makes me feel like I didn’t waste my time or theirs. I really couldn’t believe they wouldn’t look at all. I’m glad to know they  were able to watch without swivelling. Good then, time for me to get over any hurt feelings and buckle down with Deidre and Leslie to organize the Hundred and twenty items we have for the silent auction today. We have wonderful items grouped by Household, Things to do, Jewelry, Artwork, Apparel, Books and Toys. Some 4500 in value and I’m hoping we generate a nice amount of funds for the mural and festival, You’re gonna help, right?