Archive for the ‘City Reports’ Category

The Best of ‘Times’

Posted by heidi08 On July - 23 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

bay nature ad

 Martinez: Beavers in festival spotlight

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MARTINEZ — A segment of Martinez’ wetlands will soon be teeming with life, along with its myriad microorganisms, lush foliage and robust array of fowl and creatures that are already present.

 The public will once again gather Saturday, Aug. 2, to celebrate an ever-expanding family of beavers who play a key role in creating such diversity — from one end of the food chain to the other — at the seventh annual Beaver Festival, featuring live music, wildlife exhibits from throughout the world, children’s activities and tours of the beavers’ environs.

This is a very good article. Not only does the author, Jennifer Shaw get the details right on the festival, she nails them remarkably on BEAVERS in general. The only thing this article is missing is photographs. Maybe they’ll be in the print version? But maybe there wasn’t space with all Jennifer’s awesome words. I’ll add some. Go read the whole thing. (The CC Times has a very bad habit of only keeping the article viewable for a month, so I’m making a backup right now.)

This year, an Amtrak train car of folks will be part of the coterie of beaver fans, as a retired curator of aquatic biology at the Oakland Museum of California — and self-proclaimed “chief creek snooper” at Flow Back in Time — helps to open their respective eyes about the eco-vibrancy of creek life.

straight train

Christopher Richards will lead the group out to Alhambra Creek’s inlet to put into context just how an industrious group of sleek-coated beavers have stabilized creek banks, decreased flooding risks through fostering the growth of the natural riparian vegetation, and assisted in restoring the natural function and hydrology of the stream.

 ”(Beavers) are the productivity, the agriculture for the critters in the creek,” he says, citing the beavers’ habitat as an illustration of how “we can manage, neglect or restore creeks in the urban Bay Area landscape.”

That should get some attention! I hope it gets picked up by a paper on the other side of the tunnel! In the mean time a huge round of applause for Deidre Martin who made the entire thing possible. She brought her children to see the beavers last summer and the furry ingrates didn’t even show up! But she decided then and there to contribute.

Deidre Martin, a San Francisco resident and volunteer natural sciences docent at the Oakland Museum, is among those beaver enthusiasts who will board the Wetlands Express, already championing the sanctity of this native animal.

 ”We need to dispel the notion of beavers as pests … They’re a keystone species. They create habitat for other animals,” she says.

Can I get an Amen? Deidre came to our planning dinner and was a delightful contributor -and that night she got to see the beavers before catching the train home.  A San Francisco resident, Deidre first heard of our beavers from Kate Lundquist of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and decided she needed to come see for herself.

Jennifer also talked to Worth A Dam pillars Cheryl and Fro.

“They’re a family unit. They all work together,” says Cheryl Reynolds, a Worth A Dam board member, describing the beavers’ lodge-dwelling digs, vegetarian diet, and their average 35-pound size.

kit and mom

New mom and Kit – Cheryl Reynolds

And, Pleasant Hill resident and artist Frogard Butler will once again facilitate a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity for the younger set.

tailssewn tails

 Young artists will be making leather, textured, crisscross-patterned beaver tails in three sizes — adult, yearling and kit — and decorating them. Some participants have been known to return to the festival, sporting attached beavers tails.”

I love to see how everything comes together. I sure hope this article seeps outside the Record, But shhh this is my very favorite part!

 The Martinez resident quickly segues from cute descriptions to basic science, always lobbying for the beavers that play a key role in creating the overall health of the ecosystem.

 ”The beavers are changing the invertebrate community; they’re forming nooks and crannies; and constantly moving mud,” says Perryman, noting that different insects flourish at different elevations of the terrain, and thus account for an ensuing “fish bloom,” and a greater diversity of birds.

I love segueing from cute to science! And I ADORE being called a beaver lobbyist. Let’s face it. When she’s right, she’s right.

Beaver Beatitudes

Posted by heidi08 On July - 21 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Let’s start Monday right with some good news for a change. How about this story from Oregon of a culvert repaired to allow salmon passage. Don’t worry, it gets more interesting.

Easier migration for salmon in east Multnomah County’s Beaver Creek: $500,000 fix for troublesome culverts

A coho salmon nears the end of its life’s journey in the spawning gravel of Eagle Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River in Oregon. Salmon and steelhead trout have trouble reaching their historic spawning grounds in Beaver Creek because of a culvert that makes it difficult for fish to swim or jump upstream. (The Oregonian file photo)

Culverts are box- or pipe-shaped openings that roadbuilders install to allow streams to pass underneath, but often their configuration makes it difficult for fish to swim or jump upstream. Fish ladders built into culverts to help can break over the years.

Metro awarded the county a $579,500 Nature in Neighborhoods grant July 10 to replace a culvert under Cochran Road with a bridge, allowing fish to more easily reach areas upstream from Mt. Hood Community College’s Gresham campus.

Roy Iwai, the county’s water quality manager, said a variety of local government and nonprofit groups are working together to make the creek more hospitable to its 13 species of native fish.

The water upstream from the culverts also includes plenty of natural dams from the creek’s namesake beavers, but those are passable for fish and beaver ponds provide ideal rearing habitat for young coho salmon, Iwai said.

Ohhh Oregon! You are so much smarter than most. We are all inspired to see Mr. Iwai understanding the importance of beavers to salmon. From scientist to city worker, you know that beavers are Worth A Dam. It’s so impressive. California can only hope to get there one day. Well done Beaver State!

Now we’re moving East towards Montana where they are getting a bit smarter as well.

Animal Wonders is a fully licensed and insured educational outreach organization. We provide educational presentations with live exotic animals for schools, summer camps, community events, birthday parties, and other special occasions. We travel to your location with some of our very special animal ambassadors to teach about wildlife, conservation, and a love of nature.

As you may have guessed, I am not a huge fan of slick operations that bring live animals to elementary school auditoriums to teach them an “appreciation of Nature”. I think children (and animals) are better served when  we open our front doors and let them go see for themselves – say by standing on the footbridge and watching the Martinez Beavers. (Of course it helps if folks don’t kill everything that wanders into their town so there’s things to see.) But this video,  SciShow made by Animal Wonders (because the young people like those abbrevs). isn’t bad. In fact it doesn’t have one fact I disagree with.

Just two photos. (See if you can play “Spot the Nutria”.)

Well? Did you find them? I can only hope they bring the right animal for their costly presentations! I wrote them about the mistake and said if they re-edit to include how important beavers are to fish, water and birds, we will give them amazing photos of actual beavers for free! (If you’re still puzzled, look for stiff white whiskers and narrow eyes.)

Last night our kit was up early, and out at the secondary on his own for a while doing very beavery things. Several people got to see him, including visitors from Golden Gate Audubon that missed the Wednesday walk but wanted to see for themselves. Dad beaver even showed up to take the little one past the secondary and down to where he was chewing willow. He swam along side adorably and even rode on his back for moments. Then let Dad go on his own and came back upstream to forage.

We thought how heartening it is to see Dad be so nurturing after at least seven years of kits. Apparently he still feels paternal even after all these years and 20 youngsters.

Oh we also thought it was great to see the new kit embracing prohibition and rejecting the wicked influences of alcohol.

2014 baby

2014 Kit – Heidi Perryman

Protecting Banks from Money…

Posted by heidi08 On July - 10 - 2014Comments Off

Campaign to keep Devon’s beavers from being evicted

Yet despite this, the apparently thriving beavers on the River Otter are being handed an eviction notice. Last week Defra announced it would round up the errant beavers.

 “There are no plans to cull beavers. We intend to recapture and rehome the beavers and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so,” Defra said in a statement.

 The stated reason for their decision is that the beavers, if introduced from an eastern European country, could be carrying an undesirable tape worm.

 The tape worm called Echinococcus multilocularis is a nasty parasite, mainly if you’re a fox or a coyote. In North America and Central Europe, where it is endemic predators, can pick it up from rodents like mice. The worm slowly works its way into organs like the liver and can, if left untreated, kill. Very rarely it infects humans.

However, all the beavers imported into England are from Norway or Bavaria where the parasite isn’t found.

Wildlife groups say the parasite is a smokescreen for a government acting in haste to placate a well connected angling lobby that is opposed to the animals returning.

 For their part anglers told Channel 4 News they have nothing against beavers themselves, its their impact on England’s poor-quality rivers that must be avoided.

 “Beavers could have lots of benefits for rivers, like bringing in woody debris,” said Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust. “But our rivers have other problems like low flow, pollution and habitat damage. But by putting in barriers to fish migration right now beavers bring more minuses than pluses.”

That’s right, the fishermen of England have drawn a line in the sand and said, we’ll put up with concrete and pollution and shopping malls but dammit! We won’t tolerate beavers! Milling about and mucking our damaged creeks doing who knows what to our migrating salmonids.

How many times have I written that protecting fish from beavers is like protecting banks from money? A million?

Just because some crazy American (and Norwegian, and Canadian, and Dutch) scientists have consistently argued that beavers have a hugely positive impact on salmonids by creating deeper pools, more food, cooler temperatures and essential habitat, never you mind. English fish are different. They’ve been without beavers for 500 years and they like it that way!

“Mis-placed concerns over fishing have superseded all of this,” said Derek Gow. “There is a huge opportunity being missed here.”

 Mr Gow had just returned from a meeting with Defra ministers about the beavers. He said he was hopeful that a way could be found for the animals to be tested for the disease but remain, under close observation, in the wild.

DEFRA wrote me and everyone else this week defending their decision and pretending not to understand why it was outrageous. They are clearly hell bent on making the broadest mistaken intervention since we went to war with Iraq. And like that botched decision this one is being fueled by yes men, ignorant advisers and bad science. And will be paid for for years to come.

If I were DEFRA I’d be very, very careful moving forward.

Ask the Experts

Posted by heidi08 On July - 9 - 20141 COMMENT

Beaver proves to be nuisance neighbour for Bathurst-area man

Hazen McCrea wants the province to deal with beaver dam blocking a culvert for fears of flooding

Beaver dam blocks culvert by Hazen McCrea’s home

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

The structure is starting to interfere with proper drainage of the 81-hectare property and if the beaver continues construction, McCrea worries about where all the water will go.

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

But he says every time he calls the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, he gets the run around.

Department officials told CBC News the beaver dam is not in the department’s right-of-way and suggested contacting the Department of Natural Resources.

New Brunswick is on the other side of Maine located about 500 miles from the inventor of the beaver deceiver which protects culverts (Skip Lisle in Vermont).  I’m not clear why New Brunswick is so totally unprepared for beavers, except that its very near PEI which is NOTORIOUS in dealing with beavers. Maybe all that helplessness and beaver stupid  floated in with the tides?

anne-trapping(Indulgent aside: This is one of my first and favorite graphics in the history of my beaver life. I couldn’t find it at first in my files – but no worries. I just googled PEI Beavers and it was the first image that came up.

Hahaha. I must be very popular in the region.)

beaver taking bath

Lory sent this photo the other day and it deserves our adoring attention. It also reminds us that it’s kit season and well-meaning rehabbers from  Calgary to Kentucky are inheriting the orphaned beavers of a trap-happy world. It turns out taking care of kits is a lot more complicated than most people realize. I do all I can to funnel information to our good friend and adviser Cher Button-Dobmeier of the Abbe-freeland Animal Sanctuary. She has rehabbed thousands of beavers and realizes the mistakes folks are most likely to make.

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Cheryl and I have been begging her to write something for the rehab section, but she is resistant. “Every kit is different” she says. “And I don’t want people to feel like they are confident in what to do. I want people to ASK and keep asking, so that we can spot the problems before they become un-fixably fatal.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

Cher Button-Dobmeier, Director
Abbe-Freeland Animal Sanctuary, Inc.
8104 Terwilliger Rd.
Angelica, NY 14709
585-808-3231

Beaver Independence

Posted by heidi08 On July - 5 - 2014Comments Off

Beaver Believers has hit the final 12 hours of their Kickstarter, and producer Sarah Koenisberg says she’s proud, humbled, and excited by how it’s gone! Someone has stepped forward and will match all  funds raised above $15k – pretty awesome!  So we have until 3pm today to make one final press to support this important film – the only film to feature our own Martinez Beavers and their festival! Please check your penny jar and see if you have anything left to spare.

Jon and I were on the bridge last night watching out for beavers with the massive foot traffic that was making its way down to the fireworks. Many surprised passers-by saw 4 beavers, including the little peanut who was taking advantage of the very high tide to get out of his playpen, over the secondary and swimming through the secondary to look for treats!  This is the most horrible footage in the history of the world with all the bouncing foot traffic on the secondary, but at least he had the good sense to go back inside after this. Fun to hear so many visitors saying they saw the documentary on PBS about beavers and they couldn’t wait to come back to this years festival! Even a family from Walnut Creek who were all members of the SF Scottish Fiddlers and wanted to play this year but there wasn’t room!

It looks like Derek Gow in Scotland is thinking about a legal battle over the Devon beavers and that’s music to my ears. The sinister part of DEFRA’s decision is that the conclusion of the Scottish Beaver Trial means the final decision will be made in 2015, which means beavers will be formally back in the UK and protected. So they want to get rid of these refugees NOW while they’re still unsafe. Isn’t that rotten?

Expert may mount legal challenge to Defra’s beaver removal plan

Mr Gow said: “The Eurasian beaver is a former native species. There is significant national and local support for the restoration of this species and a wider appreciation within society of the ecological benefits that would accrue from its presence. Britain is now the last large western European nation state where the species has not been reintroduced.”

 In conclusion, he said the beavers on the Otter should be captured and tested and – if clear of the EM disease – be tagged and re-released following a survey to ensure the river was a suitable home for them.

 Mr Gow added that he and his colleagues would consider a legal challenge if Defra went ahead with the capture and re-homing programme.

 Go Derek Go! He has been lone voice for beaver in the region for so long, but the tide is changing and he’s not alone anymore. And this is just the kind of negative ad campaign Martinez learned was so effective in raise public support for beavers! Nice work DEFRA!

I was a little more surprised to see the Austrian version of this story running Cheryl’s photo! But it’s on wikipedia so that means everyone in the world can use it. Your welcome!

Capture And even if you had your share of fireworks last night, you HAVE to watch this because it’s a historic first that was never possible before and may never be legal again. This was filmed by drone last night from INSIDE the explosion of fireworks in West Palm Beach Florida in May. It had a couple thousand hits when I first saw it last night, now it is cresting 2 million. Aside from being the single best use of a drone ever, watch all the way through, because it will blow every part of your mind.

Apparent this amazing use of the drone caught the attention of authorties and is illegal. Check out the disapproving article on Forbes. But if Jos Stiglingh does ever get in trouble for this his attorney only needs to show the video to the jury. Because it’s awesome.

Beaver Investments with Joe

Posted by heidi08 On July - 3 - 2014Comments Off

Restoration Ecologist Joe Cannon, standing on a beaver dam in Liberty Lake Regional Park, searches for solutions when beavers become pests.

Man vs. Nature

The outdoors can be a bit hard to tame — but for restoration ecologist Joe Cannon, that’s part of why it’s worth preserving

That’s where Joe Cannon, restoration ecologist for the Lands Council’s beaver program, comes in. It’s his job to be an advocate, of sorts, for beavers — to show that, as irritating and destructive as nature can be, it’s worth protecting.

 When beavers chew up a farmer’s orchard trees or wreak havoc on local infrastructure, Cannon meets with the landowners to try to find a solution. That may mean wrapping fencing around certain trees or running pipes through the beaver dam in order to shift the flow of a river.

 About a third of the time, when beavers are too much of a nuisance, he traps them, brings them home and keeps them in his backyard, until he can trap the rest of the family. Then he and other volunteers transfer the whole beaver clan up to the Colville National Forest.

Ideally, though, his advocacy pays off. He’s able to convince the farmers and homeowners that beavers play a starring role in the local ecology. “These conversations are really important to have when someone is losing thousands of dollars in property,” Cannon says.

Joe Cannon of the Lands Council has earned this lovely article which emphasizes solutions, beaver benefits, and nature being natural. The Lands Council has been a beacon on the hill to beavers supporters for more years than I can count. Joe started out as an intern through Americorp for them, and it transitioned into a career. With them he has helped make national news, creative legislation, and ground-breaking policy with neighbor-to-neighbor level interventions. And they made this, which remains one of the most awesome things you’ll ever see.

Joe and Amanda came to Martinez to see our beavers in 2011. We had dinner, talked beavers and did a post mortem on that year’s festival. Then we went down and watched the beavers in person. They were both amazed at how closely and easily they could be observed. The next week there was a huge article about their work in the Wall Street Journal!

Yes, the beaver is disruptive. But that’s why it’s valuable. It dams rivers, redirects streams, digs side channels, fells old trees. A little gnawing, and — timber! — it has altered nature’s rhythm.

 ”They add fish habitat, they add fish streams, cover for fish and perches for birds to hunt,” Cannon says. “When they’re taking down cottonwoods and aspens, a small forest comes up from the roots.” As beavers paw at the sediment that collects at the back of their dams, they’re spreading seeds.

Great work Joe! If you’re hungry for more here’s the interview I did with him back in 2012.

Joe Cannon Change

Deadly Counsel

Posted by heidi08 On July - 1 - 2014Comments Off

First wild beavers in England for 800 years to be caught and sent to live in a ZOO after ministers decided they are a danger

 Beavers living in the Devon countryside are to be rounded up by minsters and sent to live in a zoo, it can be revealed.

 Instead of ordering them to be killed, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is trying to find a home for them in captivity, to the anger of wildlife campaigners.

Does this song sound familiar? It’s the same dirge they sang in Scotland when the free beavers of the River Tay came to the attention of the authorities. The first beaver they captured (remember Eric? Who upon examination became Erica?) died quietly in the zoo. And once they realized there were more free beavers than there were zoos/graveyards, they abandoned the idea.

I think I am as mad about this as I am about the Supreme Court’s indefensible decision to allow employers to deny birth control coverage because it’s ‘icky’. Maybe even madder. After the enormous gala all of England (and the world) threw for these plucky beaver volunteers the notion that they’d conclude that welcome home theme with incarceration makes me want to throw plates at parlimaent.

Or at least write letters to Parliament.

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 7032
george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk

You should too.

Wild beavers spotted in Devon to be ‘rehomed’

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said they could be carrying a disease “not currently present in the UK”.

 Environment Minister George Eustice said the government was considering “the best way” of rehoming the animals.

I’m serious. Go write the Honorable Eustice and remind him the voters are very good at RE-HOMMING politicians out of office when they implement stupid plans. Let’s make them require an intern to handle all the mail they’re getting over this egregious decision. It’s the least we can do to respond to this traitorous crime.

 george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk

 

 

 

 

 

You need something good to wash out that very bitter taste. So celebrate Canada Day with Fur Bearer Defender’s program on beavers. (Everyone else is great, but I sound exhausted so I can only assume I must have been doing something very important.)

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CLICK TO PLAY

Oh and Cheryl saw the elusive  little peanut last night and snapped a photo which I ruthlessly brightened. Isn’t he adorable?

2014 kitkit2