Archive for the ‘Creative Solutions’ Category

“Ohhh the beaver and the rancher should be friends…”

Posted by heidi08 On October - 15 - 2016Comments Off on “Ohhh the beaver and the rancher should be friends…”


Tcapturehe Seventh Generation Institute in New Mexico does remarkable work on a pretty fierce landscape. They’ve been interested in the role beavers can play repairing water systems for a long time, and now they are working with Jon Grigg and the ranchers in Elko to release this new film on the subject. I for one  can’t wait to see it. They are using CROWDRISE to raise funds for a screening tour around areas that need it most: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and oh yes CALIFORNIA.

Maybe after you see the trailer you’ll want to help get them started?

Trail Center presents film on ranching and beavers

ELKO — The California Trail Interpretive Center will present a free screening of a one-hour film that explores the pros and cons of beaver on ranch lands. “Rethinking Beaver: old nuisance or new partner?” will show at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The film features local ranch manager Jon Griggs of Maggie Creek Ranch. It draws from real life experiences and unscripted interviews with him and other ranchers.

“Rethinking Beaver” explores the use of beaver as a tool to repair erosion, increase forage and overall productivity, and improve wildlife habitat on ranches.

The film was produced by Seventh Generation Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

smallerIf Elko Nevada doesn’t have the highest beaver IQ in the state -let alone the entire west I’d be very surprised. It was where I first read about the remarkable work of Carol Evans of the BLM which introduced me eventually to Susie Creek and Jon Griggs. Carol has since retired from her BLM job but is still interested in creeks and beavers. I was trying earlier to tempt her into hitching a ride to the State of the Beaver Conference in Oregon.

img_3508_cWhen SGI isn’t making movies it’s talking directly to ranchers,  relocating nuisance beaver or leading workshops teaching how to install flow devices. They are a front lines organization with smart work and good intentions. Congratulations Catherine Wilds and our friends at Seventh Generation! We can’t to wait to see the positive effect this has.


Gentlemen of the night and early morning

Posted by heidi08 On October - 13 - 2016Comments Off on Gentlemen of the night and early morning

Even if I was abducted by aliens this very moment, the following article would pretty much write itself. The column was written by Ben Gruber for the Hub -City Times.

Attending the Wisconsin Trappers Association Convention

Sept. 9 and 10 was the 54th annual Wisconsin Trappers Association Convention, held every year at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Marshfield. A rainy start was unable to dampen the enthusiasm of trappers and outdoors enthusiasts from across the state and region that came to Marshfield to take part in the convention.

The buildings were filled with the latest innovations to hit the market for trapping, booth after booth of both new and used products available to those looking purchase, upgrade, sell, or trade equipment. Attendance appeared good despite the weather, and I was excited to see a fair share of younger folks here, although admittedly the demographic of trappers is headed the same way as that of all outdoorsmen: aging.

Nothing taught me more about wildlife behavior, wetland biology, and stream ecology than trying to outwit those raccoons, muskrats, beaver, and mink. I did that until I was about 18 when fur prices bottomed out and gas was expensive.

By his own admission Mr. Gruber hasn’t learned anything about stream ecology in many decades. Stop and think what your perspective on anything – cars, politics, sex, your parents – would be like if you had learned nothing since you were a teenager. This is what he knows about the role of beavers in streams and their importance theirin.

But I’m not a PETA fur-painter opposed violently to all hunting and trapping. Rather, consider me a pragmatist who gets frustrated when people don’t ‘read the label’ and make smarter decisions. The real problem isn’t the trappers of America whose numbers are so small they could fit in half of a roll of toilet paper. The real problem is US – you and me – who have expanded into every crevice of open space and get upset when the wildlife we displaced chews our begonias.

If America didn’t hire trappers to get rid of nuisance wildlife that little girl in the picture would never grow up to follow the trade.

I guess I think of trappers like prostitutes. Not my favorite profession, to be sure, but if the Johns stopped hiring them there would sure be fewer on every corner. The market demand creates the trapper just like it creates the hooker. If we alter the demand with education about flow devices and wrapping trees and teaching why beavers matter we have a better shot at reducing the numbers of grim night-walkers than if we arrest a few or spray paint their vehicles.

Don’t believe me? Let’s change this first and then we’ll talk.

depredation three years ca




Beavers and Drought

Posted by heidi08 On October - 4 - 2016Comments Off on Beavers and Drought

We’re an equal opportunity employer here at beaver central. Yesterday I  wrote about Mike Callahan of Massachusetts and today I’m writing about Skip Lisle of Vermont. There was a nice article about the current drought with him (and beavers) featured.screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-6-10-06-am

The Ecological Impact Of The Current Drought

Scenes from the West’s five-year drought are striking – the cracked mud at the bottom of a dry reservoir, forests in flames. Wonder what a drought would look like in the Northern Forest? Just look out the window.

This is the first time that any part of New Hampshire has been in an “extreme drought” since the federal government began publishing a drought index in 2000, said Mary Lemcke-Stampone, the state’s climatologist. “Using state records, you have to go back to the early ‘80s to get the extreme dryness we’ve been seeing in southeastern New Hampshire.”

Other parts of the region have been abnormally dry for some time. New York State has issued a drought warning for the Southern Tier and Western New York, which is an extreme drought, while the Adirondacks remain “abnormally dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Skip Lisle of Beaver Deceiver International, a beaver-control company that uses non-lethal means, said that beavers have droughts covered. “All those little dams and reservoirs keep water on the landscape,” he said. They have floods covered, too, as those same dams and reservoirs release peak flows slowly.

Intact ecosystems, Lisle said, have a way of coping. “Droughts are good. Floods are good. Dynamism is good. It’s been going on forever.”

Yes beavers are good for drought and Skip is good for beavers! Keep doing what you do saving the water-savers and we’ll do our best to write about it here. I’m curious about our own beavers at the moment. Will the arrival of autumn prompt them into starting an actual dam? They have no yearlings to help them so it much be a harder job. Although I guess all beavers everywhere have started thus at some point in their furry lives.

I hope I’m not jinxing anything by making them a video but I think we have to behave like Martinez has beavers because last time I checked it does. And it rained all day yesterday so what’s a girl to do?

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.

Magic Mornings

Posted by heidi08 On September - 14 - 20161 COMMENT

This is a magical article from Michael Runtz of canada speaking about his recent visit to an Algonquin beaver pond.

A day of nature revelations

It was a cool and misty predawn when I arrived at Algonquin Park’s Argue Lake. Soon I was watching a large Beaver groom itself atop a feeding bed a mere 30 feet away. It was too dark for photographs but I was content just to watch.

Suddenly the silence was broken by the howls of wolves, emanating somewhere near the far end of the lake. I waited a few minutes after the magnificent chorus ended, and then I howled. The pack replied immediately.

I wanted to wait until sunrise before looking for the wolves. Half an hour passed and then dawn broke.

I quietly paddled my canoe to the far end of the lake, still shrouded with mist. Once there, I scanned nearby slopes for wolves, but saw none. I howled from my canoe and soon the wolves replied, but to the east.

With adrenalin coursing through my body, I watched to see if one might make an appearance. Excitement peaked when two dark forms scrambled down a nearby hill. But the animals were black, and Eastern Wolves are rarely that colour.

A Beaver slapped its tail, informing me that the dark animals had entered its space. Moments later, four Otters came snorting and huffing past my canoe, sticking their heads out of the water like giant periscopes to get a better view of me.

Half an hour passed and no wolves, so I paddled back to my car. I then struck out on foot, following an old logging road that ran parallel to the lake. I walked slowly and quietly, stepping on moss whenever possible.

After a while I left the road and bushwhacked eastward, moving slowly and avoiding stepping on sticks.

Eventually I came to a large pond. After several minutes of scanning, I spotted the head of a large wolf sticking out from Bracken across the pond from me. It stared in my direction, but I was hidden.

I howled, and it stood up and walked into full view. It howled back and began to bark, an indication that it was the pack’s dominant leader telling the intruding wolf to leave their territory. I barked back, and the wolf responded even more aggressively. After several minutes of exchanging vocal affronts, the beautiful animal walked away, content that the impudent intruder was not going to cross the pond.

It has been 26 years since I last had a chance (unsuccessful) to photograph a howling wolf. Thus, I was ecstatic to finally achieve a long-standing goal.

I was also delighted over my encounter with Otters, plus getting a picture-perfect shot of a Ring-necked Duck taking off in the mist. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming; it was indeed a morning when Nature revealed herself wonderfully to me.

Ahhh we’ve enjoyed many a magic morning at our beaver pond, though we never got to see wolves. I am sure Mr. Runtz sleep-clock is broken too, and we probably both wake up at 5 even  when we aren’t planning too. The very first beaver I ever saw was  from the front seat of this canoe where I spent many a magic morning over the past 25 years. Fate and my cerebellum have decided I don’t get to enjoy the quiet paddle anymore so you can imagine how happy I am at this arrival to my porch, under which I will be able to enjoy magic mornings on forever more.






Calling all Girls

Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2016Comments Off on Calling all Girls

Granddaughters? Nieces? Cousins who love wildlife? Read this and get really excited.


I wanted to let all of you conservation superstars know about a FREE wildlife photography workshop I am offering for teen girls. If you know of any girls, age 13-18, in Northern/Central California (or farther, if their parents can get them here), that are interested in wildlife photography, please share the attached flyer with them. Of course, the girls don’t have to be local to attend. I already have a couple girls signed up that are lucky enough to have parents willing to fly them out for the weekend. 

It is my hope that this free workshop might spark a few young girls to make the dream of being a wildlife photographer into a reality. Making it in this field takes confidence and persistence, which teenage girls don’t always have. When I was a teen, my life took many crazy turns – boys, family instability, etc – and there were a few landmark moments with professional women in various fields that helped to keep me from becoming totally lost and stay the course. Plus, we need more female wildlife photographers out there!

A few details: The free workshop is on November 6th, 2016 in Moss Landing, CA. There are 15 spaces available. All girls must have their own transportation to Moss Landing, CA, and must bring their own camera (this can be an SLR, point and shoot, or even a tablet or phone), EXCEPT for 2 low income spaces (in which we have camera gear and transportation provided). Applications are due by Oct 15th. 

Suzi at work

Beaver Mania

Posted by heidi08 On September - 10 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Mania

Sometimes when you talk to reporters they can’t remember things if you say too much and you have to limit your comments to one or two key points and repeat them over and over.  Sometimes they get the gist, but not the details. Sometimes you can just tell they’re waiting to talk to the next person and are sick of listening to you. But every now and then you run into a reporter that remembers EVERYTHING you said so you better not say it wrong. Richard Freedman of the Vallejo Times-Herald definitely falls into that last category, I now realize. (Hopefully I didn’t get myself in too much hot water with the otter folks!)

Beaver mania comes to the Empress in Vallejo

Beavers don’t get the great PR like otters. You know, eating off their tummies in the ocean. Stuff like that. Even beaver crusader Heidi Perryman shrugs, “Everyone loves otters. They’re cute and don’t build dams. I’m feeling jealousy how easy otters’ lives are.”

Yet, the beaver, those buck-toothed, paddle-tailed rodents, play an integral role in the food chain and the environment, says Perryman.

Those dams they build hold back water, sure, but it creates more bugs. Fish eat bugs. Birds eat fish. Beyond more wildlife, the beavers have conserve water and in a drought era, it’s vital, Perryman noted.

A child psychologist when she’s not lobbying for beavers, Perryman joins Kate Lundquist as speakers this Friday at the Empress Theatre for “Beaver Mania,” an evening that includes the film, “Leave it to Beavers” as part of the Visions of the Wild festival.

Well I can’t deny it. I do feel jealousy. Ha!

Not only was the beaver saved in Martinez, it’s become the star of a huge mural and an annual summer beaver festival as Perryman created a nonprofit, “Worth a Dam,” with a website,

“I really wanted to persuade people not to kill the beaver. I didn’t expect to become an expert,” Perryman said. “I’m an accidental beaver advocate.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that beavers even live in Vallejo, said Perryman.

“We’re constantly expanding. We’re growing into places where they used to be and that’s not going to change,” she said. “At the same time, their population is recovering.”

Though humans may be concerned that beavers could overrun an area, it’s not likely to happen, Perryman said.

“Beavers are territorial. They don’t want to live around each other,” she said. “If one family has moved in, another will go off to look for unchartered territory and sometimes that’s an urban stream with a low gradient, trees on it, and nobody usually goes there.”

It’s interesting to me that one could look through the evolution of my beaver advocacy like analyzing the layers of stratification in soil and see where I crossed paths with a new teacher who taught me something I wanted to retain. Like the term “low gradient” applied to urban streams (from Greg Lewallen when we worked on the urban beaver paper) or the upcoming section on beaver resilience (from Leonard Houston’s address at the last State of the Beaver conference). I guess sometimes I listen too.

Beavers, continued Perryman, are a resilient bunch.

“They were the first animals after Mount St. Helens eruption (1980). And one of the first species after Chernobyl (nuclear explosion 1986),” said Perryman. “They have a lot of adaptive ability, so they’re coming to a city near you so we may as well learn how to deal with them.”

“Leave it to Beavers,” a 53-minute documentary by Jari Osbourne, “is a great movie,” Perryman said. “I know people will leave the theater thinking, ‘Beavers do a lot of things I didn’t know.’”

Visions of the Wild runs through Sept. 18, including “Beaver Mania!’ 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo. Free. Discussions and documentary, “Leave it to Beavers.” For more, visit

I’m pretty happy with this article, and starting to get excited about the event. Solano county received its share of depredation permits in the last three years so I’d love to teach them something new about beavers. The theater is a lovely old restored venue and it will be really fun to watch our beavers and Jari’s documentary on the big screen.

Are you coming?