Archive for the ‘Environmental’ Category

Beavers win Badger-Spirit Award

Posted by heidi08 On September - 1 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

2014 Badger Spirit awards are presented to:

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and WATER Institute in Occidental, CA, for their work in conserving natural resources, sustainable agriculture, respect for the environment, and the WATER Institute’s national outreach to “Bring Back the Beaver” and restoring Coho Salmon to watersheds programs. More info: www.oaec.org, and oaec.org/water-institute.

Worth a Dam, Martinezbeavers.org, based in Martinez, CA, for conservation, outreach and educational programs on behalf of Beavers in the United States and stewardship and protection of the Martinez Beavers in Martinez, CA. More info: Martinezbeavers.org

sfbaywildlife.info, an innovative and contemporary internet resource, for San Francisco Bay Area information about wildlife, places, activities and resources. More info: sfbaywildlife.info

Many thanks to Susan and the Paula Lane Action Network for recognizing beavers with this years awards.  We even got mention in the local Press Democrat.

 Award for Bring Back the Beaver program

The group Worth a Dam which also works to educate the public about the value of beavers in restoration and conservation of natural resources was also recognized. The group holds an annual Beaver Festival in Martinez where beavers have become a tourist attraction as well as providing a habitat for other wildlife..

 The much maligned animal has proved its worth in preserving valuable salmon runs, and in water conservation. Bring Back the Beaver and Worth a Dam are working to educate the public and change state policies about the beaver which date back to 1942 and are founded on inaccurate data.

susanA beaver-maniac like me is thrilled to accept the honor. I first wrote Susan close to 8 years ago when she was a writer for Sonoma Press Blog and had written about our beavers. When I learned about her badger affinity I told her that through a weird series of coincidences my earliest fiercely loved toy had been an actual stuffed badger the neighbor had thrown over the fence. I had loved its soft fur and sharp claws, and imagined that its badger spirit had shaped my adult life, making me unwilling to give up on much of anything including the Martinez beavers.

Thank you PLAN for recognizing the badger spirit in us! And we look forward to badgering people about beavers for years to come!

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Rolling with the Punches

Posted by heidi08 On August - 25 - 2014Comments Off

It was bound to happen, that awkward moment when your day job as a legal secretary for Lerner and your evening passion of playing drums in a alter-punk club collide. Surprising at first to have your boss see you hammer the snares with a stud in your nose, and then unbelievably liberating to finally have it all together in one place.

I’m very proud of this interview. I never was allowed before to talk so much about my experience on the beaver subcommittee and it was so healing to do. For me this is a vibrant red poppy growing on the dusty battlefield where much blood was spilled 7 years ago. I think it starts slow, but you have to at least listen to the John Muir part. That story relaxed me and it gets a lot better.

Episode 145: The emotional lives of advocates

You may know Dr. Heidi Perryman as the beaver believer from Martinez, California, or the defender who hosts the MartinezBeavers.org Worth a Dam website and podcast series. But between her evenings of working with municipalities, landowners and the general public on beaver protection, she’s a successful clinical psychologist.

 Dr. Perryman joined Defender Radio for a unique conversation on these emotions, what they mean to us and how we can manage them in our day-to-day lives as advocates.

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Cheryl sent this lovely photo of our kit on vacation at Ward street.

Wardofthestate

2014 Beaver kit: Photo Cheryl Reynolds

And speaking of emotional lives, just in case you wondered, this is what resilience looks like: courtesy of Meadow Lane in Napa.

Too many updates

Posted by heidi08 On August - 23 - 2014Comments Off

Lots of beaver news this morning, I heard from Scott Artis the designer of this website that he would be happy to do an update for us. Now he’s local again and working for Audubon Canyon and displayed for his new non profit Urban Birds Foudation at the festival.  I, for one, can’t wait until this tired old jalopy is transformed back and into a sleek cyber  Mercedes. Thanks Scott!

Congratulations to Cheryl who just found out yesterday that her lovely photo of two kits will be in the 2015 watershed calendar. It’s the loving work of artist John Finger with snippets of photos all through the dates, and useful information scattered throughout. We are especially proud because in addition to being a beautiful calendar. it hangs in every public works department and county supervisors office for the entire year and reminds them to be nice to beavers.

(And believe you me, most of them need reminding!)

 

Here’s the fantastic photo that will appear some month in the future. She is between computers at the moment and lacking funds so if a reader of this website just happened to get a big inheritance you might think about helping her get back to full photo capacity soon. You can even ear mark it as a donation thru Worth A Dam and get a tax deduction?

Think of the children!

Cheryl ReynoldsIMG_7316

Now many county supervisors need reminding but apparently not all. Yesterday the county supervisor/former mayor of Napa wrote me that he loved the beaver information I sent, passed it along to everyone,  and he was so excited he was asking flood control to put together a ‘beaver symposium’ next year!

Someone pinch me, I think I’m dreaming.

arch canvasI have been strangely afflicted with planning at the moment, and can’t seem to stop scheming for next year’s festival. I want to hit up the fall grant cycle for funds and was trying to think of an art project that would be educational enough to open their tightly closed purse strings. Around 4 in the morning on Friday it hit me. Our indefatigable artist FRo could paint an archway on a canvas tarp and then kids  on the day could paint in the animals with the beavers as the keystone! It teaches a complicated ecological concept, honors kids contribution, involves the community and it would be sooo cute! And then afterwards when its all dry and finished. We could use it as the backdrop in our display for years to come! FRo and I chatted about the idea yesterday, and she gave me a list of materials and how it would need to be prepared and stored.

Keystone arch here we come!

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I’ve been bothering lots of people lately.  I even wrote Ian Timothy’s mom to see if I could lure her into sketching something. Remember Karen Boone was the designer behind the stunning Kentucky Derby graphic pictured below.  Can’t you just imagine the suggestion of a beaver head and beaver tail on a flag or a t-shirt? Me too. I have the dream but not the talent. So I thought maybe I’d write her.

Thinking about your beautiful Kentucky derby art, I’m wondering if you ever considered a beaver outline sketch? We would love to do a tshirt some year that was a beaver head on front and tail on back, but can only imagine the artistic wonders of a minimalist sketch outline? Maybe someday you’ll be inspired to give it a shot?

Karen Boone  wrote back this morning. “I would be happy to do that for you! Plenty of work in, but will put it on my fun to do list.”

Thank you so much Karen for putting us on the FUN list! That is really exciting and would be so full circle if it works out!

On a final note, the friend of a friend who agreed to process our depredation permit stats turns out to be the very respected statistician for Acorn, a psychometrics firm usually handling important questions like does cognitive behavior therapy reduce symptoms more quickly than Lexapro? But now, amazingly he’s committed to handling beaver data. He asked for me to include stats on population density, acreage and sq miles of water so he could run a full regression analysis. It took every waking spare moment I had this week but I finished the updated list yesterday at 3.00 pm and I’m sooooo excited. This means we can partial out effects like how much water an area has, or how densely packed the human population is,  and just zoom in on how murderous the CDFG officer was who signed the permit. Which means I can write the Chuck Bonham with our findings and specify with greater credibility the changes he needs to  make.

I can’t wait.

Baffled Beavers!

Posted by heidi08 On August - 22 - 2014Comments Off

Thomas Tamayne, Stephen Sangle, and Gary Oppenheimer (l to r) investigate the beaver pond that is flooding the wetland at West Milford’s Mary Haase-Roger Daugherty Environmental Center. The members of West Milford’s Environmental Commission plan to install a beaver-proof device to drain the wetland back to normal levels.

West Milford Environmental Commission has new weapon for beaver battle

The local Environmental Commission is employing a new weapon in its battle with the environmental boardwalk’s beavers.

Called a beaver baffle, the device being prepared for installation by the West Milford commission at the Mary Haase-Roger Daugherty Environmental Center near Maple Road School is designed to act as tap on the backside of the beaver dam. Once operational, it should lower the water level in the dammed wetland enough to make it unsuitable for beavers, forcing the current residents to relocate, and protecting the recently-renovated boardwalk from further damage, according to commission Chairman Stephen Sangle.

“It looks promising and maybe one or two more days of work should finish the project,” Sangle said Sunday.

Last weekend, commission members set the project’s groundwork by scouting the area to find a suitable place for the upstream end of a pipe that will serve as the tap. The spot has to be deep enough and large enough to contain a trapezoid-shaped cage made out of epoxy-coated mesh that will prevent beavers from clogging the pipe, Sangle said.

 Let’s hope the reporter got this wrong. They sometimes assume the point of installation is to make beavers move. Why else would anyone bother? But you and I know that if the beavers did move, the conservation commission would have wasted its time and money. The idea is that you compromise and the beavers stay and keep others from moving in and doing it all again.

I thought it was funny they described installing a beaver ‘baffle’ – and wondered if this had anything to do with the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge just 3 hrs away, also in New Jersey. Or whether they were just using the term ‘baffle’ generically, like ‘deceiver’ which they also use. The baffle isn’t often employed. But here’s an interesting project I found on beaver bafflers I think is a few years old. The video will show you how they work – or rather how they don’t work actually, because I think that tiny cage is never going to prevent beavers from feeling suction and they will quickly cover the entire thing with mud.  Just watch the video to see all about the Vermont cooperative beaver baffle project. Capture

Beaver Baffles

From Outdoor Journal Vermont PBS

When it comes to making things out of wood no animal is more persistent and more proficient than the beaver. Beaver dams provide valuable wet land habitat for several species of fish and wildlife. But these same dams can cause a lot of damage to roads and septic systems. In this segment, we look at a unique project called the “Cooperative Beaver Baffle Demonstration Project” that uses water control structures to properly manage beaver dam water levels.

Good luck with that.Oh and just in case you don’t believe beavers could mud that entire cage around the perforated pipe, here’s what one did to Mike Callahan’s single intake once.

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6 foot filter entirely plugged with mud.Photo – Mike Callahan Beaver Solutions

Dying for Information

Posted by heidi08 On August - 12 - 2014Comments Off

learning curve

254 permits to kill beavers issued from Modoc to San Joaquin counties in the last 20 months. And for what incurable crimes you ask? The vast majority weren’t for complicated levee damage or hard to protect culverts. Most were for something 2 boy scouts and a role of wire would have solved. See for yourself. Damage to vegetation is apparently the primary complaint, accounting for 36% of all permits.

CaptureMany of the permits said something like “We tried wrapping trees but it didn’t work.” Not sure why it didn’t work? But I remember the orange plastic fencing Bakersfield ‘said’ they tried over and over and can imagine.

Cautionary advice1 Apparently it’s a skill that eludes most of California. Often the officer giving the permit noted that educational pamphlets were given for ‘next time’. It didn’t specify who the instructions were given too, but I don’t think the beavers read them closely enough.

Successfully wrapping a tree is less complicated than wrapping a present or a ho ho. But here are the methods.

Note that the tree needs to be protected to the height of 3 or 4 feet – more if the snow level is going to raise them up. The tree needs to be left room to grow. And don’t use chicken wire because beavers are way bigger than chickens. The second photo uses latex paint mixed with mason sand painted directly onto the trunk. The recipe is here:

Abrasive Tree Paint Protection

Ingredients

1. Paint: Exterior Latex (choose a color to match the bark)
2. Mason Sand (30 mil or 70 mil)
3. Formula Mix 5 oz sand per quart of paint, or
4. Mix 20 oz sand per gallon of paint, or
5. Mix 140 gm sand per liter of paint.

 Make only in small batches at a time on the day you are going to apply it. Using too much sand will cause the mixture to roll off the tree. Apply paint to bottom three to four feet of tree trunk. For best results, do not paint every tree, leaving some for beaver food. This formula does not work for saplings, so protect them with wire fencing. This will need to be reapplied every couple of years, and in areas of snowfall you will need to cover for feet above the snowline.

Protect larger areas of crops or vineyards with electric wire around the area.

PROTECTING VINEYARDSOr you can just get a permit to kill them. Apparently in California it’s easy.

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A Dissertation of Death

Posted by heidi08 On August - 10 - 2014Comments Off

CaptureSo yesterday morning our Napa Beaver friend RE sent me the results of her public records request from Fish and Game. She was trying to figure out if any depredation permits had been taken in Napa County, but of course that’s not the way bureaucracy works. So they gave her a pile of all the depredation permits in the state of California from 1-2013 to 8-8-2014. They are actually organized unhelpfully by the last name of the person who obtained the permit.

Robin, Jon and I spent yesterday going through the records and making a spread sheet so that we could see what was issued where, by whom, for how many beavers, and because of what problem. It was a horrible, grisly, unpleasant day, so you have to forgive me if I am more sarcastic than usual. Remember that Depredation permits can be issued for 1-2 beavers or for an unlimited number, for a few weeks or for the whole year or more. But what we learned is that the VAST majority are issued for an unlimited number of beavers to be taken during the span of an entire year. I’m putting the finished list online here by county.

Counties in CA by Number of Depredation Permits Given 1-01-13 to 8-8-14

Alpine 4
Amador 1
Butte 8
Calaveras 1
Colusa 6
Contra Costa 18
El Dorado 9
Glenn 4
Lake 2
Lassen 5
Merced 13
Modoc 6
Napa 2
Nevada 7
Placer 50
Plumas 8
Sacramento 30
San Joaquin 8
Shasta 12
Sierra County 3
Solano 7
Sonoma 3
Stanislaus 3
Sutter 13
Tehama 5
Yolo 19
Yuba 7
Total 254

Before you turn your head away in horror, pause for a moment at the staggering number of permits issued in Placer county: FIFTY in all, each for a year and only 9 of which had any limit at all to the number of beavers that could be taken. This, for a county which is only 1500 square miles – fewer than 100 of which are water.How could this be?

I have a theory.

Remember that the county seat of Placer county is Auburn, where our long standing nemesis recently gave her umpteenth presentation on how bad beavers are – I’m referring of course to Mary Tappel who long ago took time out of her busy beaver-killing schedule to come all this way to try and get Martinez to kill ours. I know she recently presented at the Salmon meeting because someone from Fish and Wildlife who was there wrote me and said in disbelief, wow, there was this woman there who was soooo negative about beavers!  And when I looked at the schedule I knew who it was. I’m thinking Mary’s done many presentations in Placer county and her icy fingers have pushed the kill permits for thousands of beavers.

August 26, SARSAS 2013, Beaver Specialist Mary Tappel, “Beaver Management in the Age of Salmonid Restoration with Focus on Beavers in Auburn Ravine”

In case your a visual person, here’s the county count. There were no permits issued for Southern California in the records we received, but the woman who released the data did say that the department is in the process of transitioning to electronic files, so some lovingly hand-written death warrants may not be included. I’m sure Fresno killed some beavers. They always do, so maybe they aren’t using computers yet?

by county

 

Wow. Since the highest number of specified beavers issued in a permit was 50, that must mean UNLIMITED is >50. So if the total number of beavers listed to be killed is added up with that change the number for just Northern CA is at least 7958.

 

 

 

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.

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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!