Archive for the ‘Creative Solutions’ Category

Seeing is Believing

Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2014ADD COMMENTS


The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the largest such body in the US. And look who’s on the back cover of their newsletter? Thanks Malcolm Kenton for sending it our way!CaptureSure there is nothing about beavers actually IN the newsletter, or partnering with beavers for restoration to repair damaged streams,and that neat tanbark sure looks like the home of a kit in captivity, but heck, it’s a start, maybe the beginning of one of those conversations that keep you up well into the night. There was a nice story from them on living with beaver last year when they noticed they’re population was going up.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve the conflicts without killing beavers, Griffin said. The answer is: beaver deceivers. These are cage-like devices that prevent the animals from blocking the stormwater pipes. The Humane Society has been meeting with state and local governments across the region to convince them to use this and similar technology – including underwater pipes – as affordable and non-lethal ways to foil beaver dams, Griffin said.

“A study we did showed that, over time, it is far more cost beneficial to install and maintain these devices than to kill beavers and then constantly go and clean out culverts over and over again,” said Griffin.

 One of the governments the Humane Society helped to convince to use the devices is Rockville, Maryland, which is planning to install a beaver deceiver in a stormwater pond behind Richard Montgomery High School, according to Heather Gewandter, stormwater manager for Rockville. There, a family of beavers gnawed down several trees, and built a dam and a lodge in a roughly 100-foot-wide urban stormwater control pond behind the school’s bike paths and trash cans. The dam is blocking the pond’s stormwater drainage outflow, threatening an adjacent road with flooding when it rains, and reducing the effectiveness of the whole runoff pollution control system, Gewandter said.

 ”We’ve noticed a real increase in the beaver population in the recent past,” she said. “But we have a live and let live policy for all wildlife – and so that includes deer, coyotes, and beavers. So we want to do everything in our power to co-exist with the beaver. We also do want to honor our obligations, when it comes to water quality. So we are really hopeful that these beaver deceivers will work.”

 The city is also wrapping the trunks of young trees in several parks with short bamboo curtains, to prevent the beavers from cutting them down. Trees, after all, are important not only for scenery and shade in the parks – but also to cool and filter streams.

No word in the article about how beavers are helping the streams you’re trying to save, and filtering the water you’re working to clean, but hey, I’m thrilled you’re using flow devices and wrapping trees. I’m sure you’ll catch on to the restoration story eventually.

On a lighter note Bobby posted this footage of a kit tailslap on the river Tay in Scotland and I had to share. Look at his muscles tense and twitch while he’s obviously gearing up for this heroic feat.

Much more talented than our kit, who wasn’t much younger. Not only does fail to get the required SMACK sound, he uses so much effort that he almost does a back flip in the water!

‘A’ for effort, though. That’s what I call enthusiasm.

Speaking of great effort, here’s a photo just sent from Rusty in Napa  at the beaver pond he’s watching up there. This green heron got lucky, and probably will again soon. I think he’s enjoying a bullfrog tadpole, which means there are more where this came from. If he waits a while he can get some with feet!

green heron catch

Green Heron Catch: Rusty Cohn

Another difference between Iowa and Washington

Posted by heidi08 On September - 11 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Neighbors Want Solution For Beaver Dam Flooding

Just up the creek from where the water is backing up is a beaver dam, possibly more than one. It’s just north of Interstate 80 near the Davenport Municipal Airport. A resident who lives nearby and is dealing with water on her family’s land took some pictures. The problem is that the dams aren’t on her property and it’s been a struggle to get something done.

 ”It’s been going on since April. We’ve had water up to our knees almost,” said Lindsay Andrews. She says last year there was barely any water in the creek at all. Now there seems to be a bit of a beaver problem.

 ”We’ve seen a couple of beavers. My mother in law seen one. We watched one swim upstream not too long ago,” said Andrews.

 Their dams are leaving stagnant water and a muddy mess in area her family mostly uses for recreation but on a regular basis.

 ”We used to do cookouts, can’t do that. Kids used to ride the trails, can’t do that,” she said, “the bugs are a big concern… Safety is a big concern with the kids.”

My god the horror. Our kids haven’t been outside in 5 months because we’re terrified of the westnile-virus mosquitoes or some such nonsense those rotten beavers have brought into our bright green fertilizer-ruined stream. I have only written about beavers in Iowa once before in 8 years of coverage so that means they aren’t even enough of an issue to hit the news cycle.  I’m honestly not hopeful for these beavers, but I dutifully posted my comment just in case some landowner wants to be in touch about options.

The only other comment is about how dynamite will fix things, so I ain’t hopeful.


A better use of our time is the youtube account of Ben Dittbrenner, who’s dissertation on beavers and climate change was mentioned a couple days ago in the news. He wrote back after my comment and said that he is thoroughly enjoying this part of his work, and his close contact with the beavers. He’s particularly struck by what a mollifying effect their adorable presence has on even the most hardened maintenance crew.

Of course Worth A Dam knows all about that. Remember the crane company that put in the sheetpile?

cooper craneYou should subscribe to Ben’s youtube account right away so you see the cool stuff he encounters during his project. I just wish data collection on MY dissertation looked like this!

Published on Sep 2, 2014

 This video is from our animal husbandry facility. Beavers are temporarily housed as part of the Skykomish Beaver Project. The goal of this research is to relocate nuisance beavers, which would otherwise be killed, into headwaters of the Skykomish River Basin to stimulate habitat improvement and climate change

Beavers at Sulpher Creek Nature Center

Posted by heidi08 On September - 10 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

From the SF Gate, May 4 2011

Tucked in a woodsy canyon in the Hayward hills, the Sulphur Creek Nature Center treats as many as 900 injured and orphaned wild animals every year. A wildlife education and resource center, it also serves as a permanent refuge for several nonreleasable birds and mammals.

 1. Sulphur Creek Nature Center

 Operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, this center offers classes, a year-round school science program for teachers and their students (preschool through sixth grade), an Animal Lending Library teaching the responsibilities of caring for a pet, and more. (510) 881-6747.

Think Lindsay Museum in Hayward and you’re close. And come this saturday think this:


Beavers are “nature’s engineers” in providing habitat for a diverse eco-system. Learn about this “Keystone Species” from Heidi Perryman, founder of “Worth a Dam” and discover how beavers are “key” to a rich environment.

 28273 18yr+ $18

This all came about because one of the folks who used to regularly watch beavers with us is a volunteer there and after years of persuasion they agreed to finally host a program on beavers. I’m kinda surprised it’s so pricey and ADULT ONLY but I’ll try to be worth it, with lots of after hours adult only information!

(I only have on explicit beaver picture, but I’ll eek it out.)

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Ooh there’s a new video from the wild beaver folks on the Tay, although I hope the date is wrong. Beavers mating in September means babies in late December? Ohhh just got an email clarifying that the date this was taken was Feb 2. Much better!


Posted by heidi08 On September - 6 - 2014Comments Off

backyard beaver safari
Tonight’s the final night of the week long celebration of the Wilderness Act and ends with the Beaver Safari right here in Martinez. I got worried yesterday that participants would park at Amtrak and get ticketed so I called everyone to make sure. We will bring some displays, handouts, a photographer (Cheryl) and the beavers will bring THEM SELVES which will be perfect.

Would a fleeting otter or blue heron visit be too much to ask?

There’s an interesting (and surpringly well-researched) article in the Press Democrat about water flow since the earthquake and the really funny part is that I heard about this a week ago from our beaver friends in Napa. The little beaver pond they were watching has been overflowing since the big shake, and they wondered why? I told them to talk with flood control just in case a pipe had been dislodged. It turns out that when the tectonic plates shift, there is often more water squeezed out of the aquifer, and its been observed for centuries.

Napa quake jumpstarts stream flows, though probably only temporarily

Three creeks in Sonoma Valley and two more in Napa and Solano counties have dramatically increased water flows since the Aug. 24 earthquake in Napa County, a phenomenon familiar to scientists for more than a century and well established in Santa Rosa history.

 Carriger Creek, a steelhead spawning stream on the city of Sonoma’s west flank, was bone dry — save for shallow, isolated pools of water — before the magnitude-6.0 temblor went off 12 days ago from an epicenter about 9 miles to the east.

As far back as 1865, a local newspaper described rising streams in the Santa Cruz Mountains following a magnitude-6.5 quake on the San Andreas fault, and a federal government study found the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989 squeezed about 23 billion gallons of groundwater from the same mountains.

Neither scientists nor Sonoma County historians were surprised by the watery aftermath to the Napa temblor.

 “Seismic events have long been known to cause changes in the level of oceans, streams, lakes and the water table,” said a 66-page USGS study of hydrological disturbances from the Loma Prieta quake, including a tsunami in Monterey Bay and increased stream flows in the Santa Cruz Mountains and as far as 55 miles from the epicenter.

stickerYou could say that this is the silver lining to us all foolishly living on a serious of faults, but of course we need the water IN the sponge as well. Whether we use it up above ground or underground, it’s still used up – and a good time to remember that we need MORE BEAVERS to keep it around longer.

But of course the press is too busy having fun with the beaver attack story from Nova Scotia to talk about any of this. Here’s the latest from the National Post in Canada. I offer this without comment or pointed I told you so.

Vicious beaver attacks Halifax snorkeler off Nova Scotia’s coast


In Texas?

Posted by heidi08 On August - 15 - 2014Comments Off

Beavers trapped, relocated from Keller neighborhood

The beavers had dammed up a creek in the northwest Keller subdivision of Marshall Ridge, and for about six months, when it has rained, the creek overflows into yards and sidewalks.

 So a manager of the development, whose website promotes wildlife, saying Marshall Ridge is home to a “number of animals native to the area,” contacted Plano-based A Wildlife Pro DFW to trap and move the beavers to a human-free environment.

  ‘Animals have feelings’

 Fink said she checks the traps twice a day. Beavers typically work more at night and once they are captured, Evans will move the animal the next morning.

 “The traps you want to use for them are big enough for a person to fit in,” Evans said. “You have to have some room for them to move around and fit comfortably so they’re not struggling as hard to get out and hurt themselves.”

I don’t mean to be state-ist or whatever, but this actually surprised me coming from Texas which isn’t exactly known for it’s beaver compassion. Beavers  have feelings? And it’s better to relocate than trap? But these took the prize for the most unexpected paragraphs of 2014.

 Prudi Koeninger, president of DFW Wildlife Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission “is to reduce … the incidence of orphaned or euthanized native wildlife” in DFW, said capturing and moving isn’t always the best option for beavers.

 “Most of the time you don’t get the whole family, so they’re separated,” Koeninger said. “Beavers become independent at age 2, and before that the whole family takes care of the babies. Animals have feelings, family and commitments just as humans do, and there’s emotion if they lose a member of that family.”

 Koeninger said one option for coexisting with beavers is to create a “beaver deceiver,” a device that uses PVC pipes to route water underneath dams in whatever direction the community needs.

 “What beavers respond to is the trickling of water,” she said. “If you create a pathway underneath where there’s no trickling, you can get it flowing the way you want and the beaver will have no reason to keep working on the dam.”

 Some wildlife companies also offer a kind of color-matching “tree paint” mixed with sand that deters beavers from eating the bark and prevents trees being torn down. surprised-child-skippy-jon

Remember that DFW is Dallas Fort Worth wildlife rescue, the director of whom I had a long phone conversation in June when beavers were unwelcome in Irving. Which just goes to show you should always take time to try even when the odds of success seem bleak. The Irving beavers couldn’t be protected, but DFW really listened to info about beavers and co-existence. Which made them great communicators to the reporter of this article who actually did a stellar job.

Maybe next time the beavers can stay?


And on our less-humane-than-Texas end of the spectrum you might check out this proud announcement of the new orphan arrived at Turtle Bay in our own state of California.


The weird part of this is, with the depredation permits we just got, I can see that if this kit is 7 weeks old in Redding that probably means the warrant that killed his parents looked like this:

Shasta Redding Crop/Landscape/Garden Damage (Landscape trees) # allowed = 2trapped by Bob Hassel permit issued by Pete Figura 6/23/2014.

You might want to save this somewhere in case he ever asks about his mom or Dad when he grows up.

England, get ready to YOP!

Posted by heidi08 On August - 7 - 2014Comments Off

Public meeting over Devon’s first wild beaver family in 300 years

A PUBLIC meeting is being held in Devon to ask local people their views about the future of the first wild beaver population in more than 300 years.

 In July, Defra announced its intention to catch and remove the beavers, citing the risk of disease and the animals’ potential impact on the landscape as reasons.

 However, a growing number of voices have stated that the beavers should remain; saying that beavers were once a part of the English landscape and that they could be again.

 The meeting to discuss the beavers on Tuesday August 19 will be held at The Institute in the east Devon town of Ottery St Mary (EX11 1HD), close to where the beavers are believed to be living on the River Otter.

4d3ac5e6I’m curious why DEFRA, the harshly tone-deaf agency that is willing to kill badgers that the public reveres, has decided to hold a public meeting on the fate of the beavers they already said they would put in zoos? Even I, with my trusting beaver nature, can’t imagine the decision is open for review. But maybe they were scared at the public response they got. Or maybe they hope no one is going to come and thereby justify their decision?

You can guess what I want to happen.

Worth A Dam from Bill Schilz on Vimeo.

(I’m very grateful to Bill Schilz for making this for us. It’s a terrifyingly large file and I never could process it myself.) The odd thing is that my comment is missing! Coincidence? Hmm…

 Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey urged people to attend the specially convened meeting: “The wild beavers on the River Otter have certainly attracted a lot of attention. We’ve had media interest from as far away as New Zealand and the USA wanting to know what their fate will be. This event is the opportunity for the local community to now make their views known.”

 Steve continued: “We need to hear from people whether they think the beavers should remain as part of their local landscape, or whether they think they should be removed.”

  “We want the event to be a chance for people to ask questions and to tell us their views. As an independent charity working for the county’s wildlife, Devon Wildlife Trust thinks the beavers should remain but only after it’s been established if they are disease free, and only if the local community wants them there. This event will help us get an answer to the second of these two questions,” Steve continued.

 The event is free to attend and there is no need to book in advance. Those unable to attend can still give their opinions using the dedicated email address or by letter to Devon Wildlife Trust, Cricklepit Mill, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AB.

Now Devon, you know your lines. And readers of this website, your letters go here. I believe you all know what to do!

(Does anyone else almost feel a little sorry for DEFRA?)

On a separate note, I have another interview with Fur-bearer Defender’s Radio this afternoon on the role of anger and compassion in advocacy. It’s the first time I’ve talked like a shrink about beavers (well, on purpose), so it’s a little weird and worlds-collidy. Wish me luck!

I’m thinking of calling it the “Psychology of Ecology.

Beaver-saving symphony

Posted by heidi08 On August - 5 - 2014Comments Off

CaptureNashua, New Hampshire

Beaver deceivers are better than killing

Letter to the Editor

The benefits of beavers and their ponds to the environment far outweigh the drawbacks. Ponds provide vital habitat for great blue herons, osprey, kingfishers, mink and otters, among others, and support many plant species. Beaver ponds act like sponges during heavy rainfall, preventing flooding, filtering water running through their ponds and increasing groundwater levels. Communities suffering from the effects of drought often move beavers onto their lands to build dams.

 Pond-building by beavers sometimes floods the property of landowners. The usual method of solving this problem has been to destroy both beavers and their dams. This inhumane action is ineffective, however, because other beavers move into these areas and the problem begins again. A more humane and permanent solution is to install beaver flow pipes and fences. These devices, sometimes called beaver deceivers, maintain an acceptable water level in the pond for all concerned, both human and animal.

And before you ask, no, I didn’t write this. But I have a suspicion our engineering friend Art Wolinsky did. I can’t see the name of the author without paying 10 dollars for a subscription, and Art hasn’t written back. But I’m fairly certain! You might remember Art is the retired engineer and educator who worked with Mike Callahan to put in a flow device at his condominium in New Hampshire. He’s also the clever mind behind this:

Now don’t start thinking that all the good things happen in New Hampshire, just look at the remarkable work that was done Sunday at Taylor Creek in Tahoe. For those of you following along at home Taylor creek has had a fairly schizophrenic history with beavers as it is the site of one of the most respected beaver dissertations ever, and remarkably the place where native beavers are annually trapped to protect the non-native Kokanee salmon.

The Sierra Wildlife Coalition, Sherry and Ted Guzzi have been working for years to educate the rangers on the utility of flow devices, the value of beavers, and the many ways to solve problems. Their Herculean efforts involved Kate Lundquist of OAEC and Rick Lanman and a myriad of others who chiseled away at the mountain of resistance literally one frustrating nano-chip at a time. Honestly, it would have been faster to shift the pyramids of Giza with a pair of tweezers. Many folks are keeping an eye on these beavers. The amazing beaver images on the cutting boards in the silent auction were from Sheri Hartstein who’s been photographing those endangered beavers for years.

Well, two weeks ago the earth moved and USFS finally relented. The Sierra Wildlife Coalition was given the green light to install a flow device. The forest service called it a ‘research project’ and said they didn’t want to watch or oversee the work and asked that it be done late in the day. The cynic in me imagines they are looking at their watches and waiting for it to fail so they can employ the better-loved Plan B. (Which rhymes with ‘snapping’) But I’m not worried. Ted and Sherry will make sure this works.

Taylor Creek, adding weights to side channel leveler, 8-3-14If that hard-working face looks a little familiar, it should. Ted and Sherry were just at the beaver festival the day before. They woke up early to high-tail it home and install a flexible leveler on federal land. How awesome is that?

Now all that’s left is to wait and see how things unfold. Sherry sent a photo last night of the dropping water levels.

Ted and I checked on the leveler this afternoon, and the beavers did not disturb a thing, and the water level in the side channel is still down. But since it rained steadily all day today, we can’t tell if we might need to lower the pipe a bit – water is still going across the trail (it’s never that deep), but that could be just from the rain. We’ll keep checking, but since the beavers do not seem bothered by our work, lowering the water in 2 smaller steps (if needed) will be easier than one larger step…. so feeling pretty good. Here’s a photo of the beavers’ main dam on the main creek -  Sherry

Taylor Creek, Beaver Dam, 8-3-14Great work Sherry and Ted! If it needs adjustments you are just the pair to make them. And congratulations Taylor Creek Beavers on your lovely new life-saving furniture!