Archive for the ‘Creative Solutions’ Category

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.

Capture

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 devonwildbeavers@devonwildlifetrust.org 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!

Beavers in the News

Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2014Comments Off

Chip Ward’s article is marching through the liberal hemisphere – now on Salon and Axis of logic.  I’m very thrilled for the promotion but I sure hope it gets picked up by a conservative website soon. We don’t want liberals to be FOR beavers. Because then of course conservatives will be AGAINST them. Let’s emphasize their money-saving, small business owner expertise and get them on National Review Online or Red State soon!

On Axis of logic the editor offered these remarks:

Editor’s Commentary:

Timber is a Canadian beaver. That might not be his real name, but it’s what we call him nonetheless – and he responds to it. Timber was orphaned and successfully raised by a friend of mine, Michele.

 It was once thought by scientists that beavers orphaned at a young age could not survive because of the intense family structure of these critters, and the fact an orphan would be shunned by other beaver families. We learned through another friend, Audrey Tournay, that this is untrue. Audrey is renowned worldwide for defying the biologists and showing that beavers can indeed survive and thrive with human nurturing.

 Timber became one of the stars of two television programs.

 I am in the process of working with Michele to write Timber’s biography and it should be ready later this year (I’m the writer, she’s the story teller – the tentative title is Beavers Never Read the Operating Manual). It will be a book aimed at encouraging young people to learn about, and develop a concern for, the environment all around them. It is not yet too late to save ourselves from ourselves, but we’ll need to engage young people to do it.

 - prh, Editor


I’ll look forward to the Timber-files soon. I loved Audrey Tournay’s
beaver tales (Audrey was the founder of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary where Michelle Grant worked)  and I know you did too. In the mean time, two behind the scenes reveals are that the editor PRH is actually Paul Richard Harris who is the husband of Debbie Harris who we helped with beavers in Ontario way back in 2012, (because it’s a very small beaver world and all roads lead to Martinez).

And btw his original editor’s note credited David Suzuki for the documentary and didn’t mention Jari, which I replied to. So this old comment

Timber became one of the stars of two television programs. One, here in Canada, was a David Suzuki produced program called The Beaver Whisperers. The second was produced in the United States by PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating.

Got magically edited into this one:

One, here in Canada, was a program aired on CBC called The Beaver Whisperers. The second aired in the United States on PBS and is called Leave It To Beavers. Go find them: they are both fascinating. Both documentaries are produced by Jari Osborne.

Which is a kind of reminder that one can make a difference in this topsy turvy beaver world, if you needed one. I myself made a snippet of difference last night on channel 7, but was disappointed my “amazing” interview in the blazing sun was shortened to 15 seconds. Still, its a great plug for the festival anyway, and they snagged tuesday’s footage, gave us credit, got our name right and linked to the right page of the website so I’m very happy.

Capture

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) –

The famous beaver family in Martinez is still at it and now officials say they’re actually good for the drought.

 Experts say the beaver dams are helping water stay in the creek year round, despite the drought and that’s helping preserve fish and other wildlife.

 The group “Worth A Dam” is dedicated to maintaining the beavers in Alhambra Creek.

 The president and founder of the group, Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., says, “They’re kind of doing a restoration job for the town of Martinez. They working 24/7. And they’re doing it for free.”

 A “Beaver Festival” is planned for this Saturday. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Marina Vista and Alhambra Avenue in Martinez.

‘A’ Beaver festival? A? Not THE beaver festival? I guess we should be proud of the fact that there are now SO many beaver festivals in the world we don’t merit the definite article anymore.   Hrmph!

Beavers are SO cool

Posted by heidi08 On July - 30 - 20141 COMMENT

Last night was one of the best beaver nights I ever filmed. My fingers are literally aching to make a movie, but there is too much to finish before Saturday. Humor me and play the soundtrack while you watch the clips. Its practically required.


Last night we came to the secondary dam and saw a fairly large breech from the tide, the entire secondary pond was down by a few inches. The beavers were sleeping above the primary dam upstream 150 feet away from the break. I’ve seen their wake up routine a million times but I’ve never seen this.

As soon as they got up a yearling came straight down to see what the problem was, noticed a new snag exposed by water loss on the way, swam to the dam and started putting mud on the hole.

Don’t believe that beavers can remember what their pond looks like both on top of and under the water? Check out this double take.

Now Heidi, maybe you’re saying, don’t anthropomorphize this. Maybe he thought it was food. Maybe he was checking to see if was another beaver’s dam. Maybe it was a fluke.

Fluke? Here’s Dad with kit 5 minutes later.

And another double take.

(It’s funny because we have particular sticks we watch to see if the water is higher or lower, and now it really seemed like they did too! “Oh that’s exposed? We’ve really got a problem”Then Mom Dad and new kit came out of the lodge and made a bee line for the damage. Remember, in winter when all kinds of debris float downstream, we get to see beavers swim past new branches that were never there before. They are sometimes idly curious about them, or snuffle to see what’s good to eat. That’s not what was happening.They were seeing a log above water that used to be submerged.

It was never so clear to me that it’s not just running water that triggers beavers working, they obviously have some other cues, like maybe the opening to the lodge being uncovered, or the drop down from one pond to the next – they know how deep the pond should be and what and what snags belong where.

They must.

The extremely hard work paid off and the whole was quickly patched. Mom and Dad did several applications, a yearling pitched in and even our newest kits sat in the middle and pretended to help.

All of which reminded us, as if we needed to be reminded at all, that

BEAVERS ARE COOL.

Yesterday the Huffington Post, The Nation and Mother Jones decided to play our song.

The Original Geo-Engineers

 During a long career with the Bureau of Land Management, Sage Sorenson saw firsthand how beavers created rich green habitat out of overgrazed and burned-over land. Now retired, he calls himself a “beaver believer” and devotes his days to monitoring and protecting scattered “remnant” beaver colonies in our region. Quietly but persistently, he advocates for their reintroduction onto stressed landscapes that need their services.

 Beavers are the original geo-engineers. It’s no exaggeration to credit them for their major role in building the North American landscape. In pre-colonial times, there were as many as 400 million of them. They used their big buckteeth and tough paddle-tails to build dams across every stream imaginable, spreading water to a Noah’s Ark-worth of creatures that thrive in the wet habitats they create. Now, of course, they are mostly long gone from the land, and conservationists want them back.

 Go read the entire article. It’s awesome, and share with everyone you can possibly think of. Then comment so that everyone knows beavers generate attention and let’s hope Chip Ward writes me back and supports the beaver festival.

Oh, and always remember whatever happens, we loved beavers LONG before they were ‘trendy’. (Sheesh.)

Will introducing beavers onto wounded watersheds save the world? The answer is: yes. That and all the other acts of restoration, protection, and restraint, small and large, individual and collective, taken together over time. Sure, it’s not the same as the US taxing carbon or China abandoning coal. Restoring a watershed doesn’t curb the corporations that reduce communities to commodities. But in addition to the global goals we support, our responses to ecological crisis must be grounded in the places where we live, especially in the watersheds that nourish our bodies.

 Rewilding tattered land is holistic because it sees and honors connectivity. It trades hubris for humility by acknowledging complexity and limitations. Its ultimate goal is landscape health and resilience, not the well-being of a small handful of stakeholders.

 If we want to construct a healthy and resilient world for ourselves and our fellow creatures, we could do worse than look to the lowly beavers for hints on how it can be done. They build a vibrant world for themselves and so many others by weaving one small limb into another, stick by stick by stick.

 

 

Beavers make Strange Bedfellows

Posted by heidi08 On July - 27 - 20142 COMMENTS

Let’s start with a word from duck hunters. Now everyone I’ve shared this with has reacted with a “let the ducks live” remark, but you have to realize the pragmatic value of articles like this. Right now we need ALL the beaver supporters we can muster, so if people let them be because they want more fish to catch or ducks to shoot, we should realize that they’re still allies. Beavers make strange bedfellows.

Ducks in Small Places

Matt Gnatkowski

 One of the best friends of hunters who like to hunt ducks in small places is the beaver. Industrious beavers create a lot of ponds and sloughs that make for perfect out-of-the-way duck habitat. Mallards, wood ducks and black ducks like using the flooded timber created by beavers. To find these duck hotspots you need to scout constantly. Keep track of where you see beaver activity during grouse hunting trips, during the bow or rifle deer seasons or when snowmobiling, and make it a point to visit them during the waterfowl season. If ducks aren’t using the ponds when you arrive, wait until evening. Many times the birds will be off feeding elsewhere and return to roost on the pond toward evening. The sky can be full of birds as the sun slips behind the horizon.

 Wildlife biologists can steer you toward areas that have high beaver numbers. Talk to hunters, trappers and anglers who might be able to lead you to beaver ponds. If practical, you might want to even rent an airplane for a short jaunt around areas of beaver activity to pinpoint ponds. Beavers can create a lot of small-water duck havens in a short period of time. Where there was only a trickle of water today can be a pond of several acres tomorrow. And it won’t take long for the ducks to find it.

Let’s face it. Duck hunters have more powerful friends then we do. They have magazines and sponsors and legislation and fawning politicians. And would it be so horrible if more duck hunters made the intuitive leap to realize that fewer beavers mean fewer ducks? No, it would not. I realized when I read Three Against the Wilderness that wise hunters and trappers could be among our best allies -  once they got the message. And in order for that to happen we need to stop being mortified enough to talk to them.

Consider this website de-mortification training.

(It’s a strange thing to be realizing in the same day that duck hunters help beavers and the Nature Conservancy kills them. But there it is. Life is full of surprises.)

On to Whidby Island in Washington State where so many folks are fond of beavers they don’t know what to do with them.

A beaver lodge sits at the southern edge of Miller Lake, about 30 yards from a beaver dam. Lake levels are on the rise, and along with other impacts, are raising concern among South Whidbey residents.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / The Record

 Whidbey’s beaver population: residents chew on problem, seek county help

 “When there’s nature and people, you have to come up with solutions,” Kay said.

 In some cases, however, beavers have won friends. A population at Miller Lake is credited with vastly expanding the lake, but also creating water views. For Bob Olin, the edge of his backyard that borders the lake was once dominated by poplar and willow trees. They are all now long gone.

 “There were 10,000 of them right out there,” said Olin, motioning to his backyard.  “No, I’m quite happy with the beaver,” he added.

 Jamie Hartley, critical areas planner for Island County, said county code defers to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for its guidelines. The state allows residents to shoot or relocate beavers as a last resort to other types of mitigations, including the installation of culverts or beaver deceivers.

Steve Erickson, with the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, said that shooting or trapping the occasional beaver is not going to really impact the population. However, farmers need to learn to deal with changing conditions and coexist with the beaver population.

 “The idea of a pretty farm where it’s all static and never going to change is a fantasy,” Erickson said. “People are going to need to change the way they are dealing with nature and work with it.”

 And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Washington is the most beaver-intelligent state in the nation – maybe world. Apropos of nothing, the beaver friendly Whiby website “Tidallife” has our website in their blogroll and it’s how we get a significant number of visitors every month.

Now back to Devon, where musician Adrian Forester has this to say about the River Otter beavers.

CaptureI’m trying a new spam filter on comments this morning, and it appears to be working. Every day we get about 20 comments that I have to weed through from spam-bots telling me to buy sexual aids or that my site could get more hits if I did X.

Help me try it out by leaving a comment, will you?

Saving beavers: A Change for the Better.

Posted by heidi08 On July - 25 - 2014Comments Off

Build the Beaver Deceiver

So the folks on the Feather River Land Trust have learned from Brock Dolman that there are many good reasons to live with beaver, and they’re aiming to do just that by raising funds to install a flow device on the Feather River. (They mistakenly call it a beaver deceiver, when the project isn’t intended to protect a culvert, but their efforts are laudable anyway.) I wrote that Worth A Dam would help with a scholarship for materials if they contacted us through the website, so we’ll see what happens.

Ranching and farming is a fundamental part of the Feather River Region–and we are working hard to keep it that way. But sometimes land management practices, like removing beaver dams (and trapping beaver!) don’t jive with current science. Recently, the Feather River Land Trust has found itself in this predicament. A busy beaver on one of our Outdoor Education sites has built a series of dams, creating great habitat and backing up the creek. But our downstream neighbor has some thirsty cattle and a backhoe…

This leads us to our project: help us build a beaver deceiver!

Speaking of beavers with sucessful homes, this is a heart-warming story from the beaver-luvin’ Aspen Wildlife Sanctuary

Westy and Prez – Aspen’s Manitoba beavers

So what do you do when a beaver in Manitoba needs a home? Call Aspen. [Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario]

 At least that was the solution for a second time this year when no facility in the prairie province was equipped to house an orphaned beaver kit.

 Beaver kits must spend two years being cared for, mimicking the two years they would spend with their parents in the wild, in order to survive when released.

 Last year, a lonely kit was found on a Manitoba trail, umbilical cord still attached, and rescued. Eventually, through the generosity of President Air Charter, the kit was shuttled to Ontario and spent the winter at Aspen. Prez remains at Aspen, growing and thriving with another beaver kit, and will overwinter once again before returning to Manitoba for release.

Aspen is fortunate to be among few wildlife rehabilitation centres equipped to care for beaver kits for these two-year periods. Thanks to donors, we have a series of enclosed pools to accommodate a few each year. Of course, there are limits, and a more modern system of pools and pumps would allow staff and volunteers to care for a greater number of these fascinating animals, while spending less time on the daily emptying and refilling of their swimming tanks – a time-consuming task with our current system

Just remember that. It’s TWO years to rehabilitate a kit. Shorter periods are not a favor to anyone. And places that received adorable kits as orphans, and keep them alive for a few fund- raising photo shoots before sticking them in a zoo or abandoning them to their fate are NOT in my good graces.

Just sayin’.