Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

Hurry! Only 12 days left to call WS liars!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 18 - 2014Comments Off

Well, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of other opportunities, but this is an important one. Before we get down to work and roll up our sleeves, let’s have dessert first.

Searching for beavers on the Quabbin Reservoir’s restricted Prescott Peninsula

About 20 DCR biologists and volunteers stomped to shake off the cold Sunday morning, standing in a ring outside a small shack on the Prescott Peninsula as Clark set the plan for the annual beaver survey. Teams would split off, tramp through the woods to follow their respective streams, take down data on any active beaver lodges, then return to the shack for lunch.

Beavers were non-existent in Massachusetts for more than a century due to hunting and trapping, plus elimination of habitat. After the valley was flooded in the late 1930s, the beavers returned.

Clark said that after the beavers came to the reservoir, the population followed a pattern typical of reintroduction — explosive growth, followed by a crash as the habitat is oversaturated, then a steady leveling off.

No way, are you suggesting that the population actually regulated itself? Without trapping? Even when the Massachusetts voters imposed new restrictions on trapping in 96 and the population was supposed to explode? This is pretty outlandish stuff. Just how long have you been collecting this spurious data?

The first Prescott survey was held in 1952. The survey has been annual since the early 1970s, and some of Sunday’s searchers have returned every year for 30-40 years.

Holy Guacamole Batman. You mean they have 62 years of data on beaver population? And the effect of conibear restriction is somewhere in the middle? You know a statistician worth his pocket calculator could easily whip those numbers into a regression analysis that disproves the accepted lie about beaver population exploding after the new rules were applied? You do know that, right?

Well, maybe the reporter got that wrong. He seemed really distracted by the meat balls. He does say that people aren’t normally allowed in the area because it’s in the watershed. Ahem. (News flash:Every place on this planet is part of a watershed. Just so you know.)

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Everyone ready? It’s November 18th so that means you still have 12 days left to tell Wildlife Services that their rodent management plan is ridiculous, oblivious  of the environment or science, and barbaric in the extreme. But those are just my words. You’ll find your own. Here’s Mike Settel from Idaho talking about what’s needed.

In Wildlife Service’s newest justification for ridding us of beaver you can find that bit of humor and others in a recent request for public comment on Wildlife Service’s “Aquatic Rodent” EA for North Carolina.

Don’t attempt to e-mail your comments because, according to their deputy director for environmental compliance Alton Dunaway, receiving comments only by FAX and snail mail will “modernize” their public involvement process. I recommend Faxing comments to (919) 782-4159…However, an e-mail you may find useful is for that of the author, Barbara Schellinger. 

Even though it is a North Carolina document, the rationale proposed sets a precedent for mis-information and obfuscation regarding wildlife management. Please FAX your comments and request that WS includes non-lethal mitigation as beaver solutions, provide current data showing beaver harm salmonids, and prove that beaver dams increase sediment pollution (there are other spurious claims that are suspect or dated, but you should read those for yourselves). Regards, Mike

Thanks Mike for putting us on the right track. Remember, what they get away with in North Carolina will become precedent everywhere. I will share just a little bit of their ignorance, but you should really go read the report for yourself here:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources guidelines for management of trout stream habitat stated that beaver dams are a major source of damage to trout streams (White and Brynildson 1967, Churchill 1980). Studies that are more recent have documented improvements to trout habitat upon removal of beaver dams. Avery (1992) found that wild brook trout populations improved significantly following the removal of beaver dams from tributaries of some streams. Species abundance, species distribution, and total biomass of non-salmonids also increased following the removal of beaver dams (Avery 1992).

Beaver dams may adversely affect stream ecosystems by increasing sedimentation in streams; thereby, affecting wildlife that depend on clear water such as certain species of fish and mussels. Stagnant water impounded by beaver dams can increase the temperature of water impounded upstream of the dam, which can negatively affect aquatic organisms. Beaver dams can also act as barriers that inhibit movement of aquatic organisms and prevent the migration of fish to spawning areas.

Wow. Give it up for the USDA and author Barbara Schelllinger who was willing to dig back through 47 years of research to find the  completely bogus paper she just knew to be true! This woman is no slacker when it comes to bravely lying about beavers. Good lord, the letter almost writes itself. Although I personally feel that Issue 7 deserves the lion’s share of our attention.

Therefore, the breaching or removal of a beaver dam could result in the degrading or removal of a wetland, if wetland characteristics exist at a location where a beaver dam occurs. The preexisting habitat (prior to the building of the dam) and the altered habitat (areas flooded by impounded water) have different ecological values to the fish and wildlife native to the area. Some species may benefit by the addition of a beaver dam that creates a wetland, while the presence of some species of wildlife may decline. For example, darters listed as federally endangered require fast moving waters over gravel or cobble beds, which beaver dams can eliminate; thus, reducing the availability of habitat. In areas where bottomland forests were flooded by beaver dams, a change in species composition could occur over time as trees die. Flooding often kills hardwood trees, especially when flooding persists for extended periods, as soils become saturated. Conversely, beaver dams could be beneficial to some wildlife, such as river otter, neotropical migratory birds, and waterfowl that require aquatic habitats.

beaver in barDingDingDing! I found the opening! (Well, one of many actually.)  See in their effort to say “it’s a wash, really” beaver dams HELP some species sure, but they HARM others. So getting rid of them is a zero sum game with totally justifiable consequences. Just take the darter for instance!

Darter!

Maybe we’re the only ones that remember there’s this famous case from Alabama in 2008 where the city of Birmingham was sued by The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (among others) for upwards of a million dollars over removing this beaver dam that was protecting  thousands of the rare endangered watercress darters. In the end the case cost the city some 4,000,000 dollars and dragged  out in court over 4 years. Am I ringing any bells, does this sound vaguely familiar?

The city “knew or should have known that removing a beaver dam and surrounding natural structures would potentially disrupt the water level of the Basin and its inhabitants,” the agency claims.

CaptureDam [sic],  this is gonna be fun. If you want to share your letters, send them to me and I’ll make sure they’re visible. I’m sure WS is hoping they can make it all the way to November 30th without hearing from you. Let’s disappoint them, shall we?

Last night, on the footbridge, I loved you best of all!

Posted by heidi08 On November - 16 - 2014Comments Off
I love her, in the springtime
And I love her in the fall,
But last night, on the back porch
I loved her best of all!

These shocking lyrics reflecting the moral depravity of our youth were published in 1923, some 89 years ago, before video games and ‘R’ movies. Maybe the fact that our house had already been around for a quarter of a century before the song was recorded had something to do with why, when I went to see the beavers last night, this was the soundtrack I heard in my head.

You see, our kit, (the 2014) model, has been living at Ward Street since August. And I’ve been getting more and more worried about his truant little runaway self. I talked with our experts, who had not seen it before but told me not to worry, advice impossible to follow. Beavers are very social animals, and they need face time with their parents learning beaver things for upwards of 24 months before they’re ready to hitch off on their own.

So guess what I saw from the footbridge last night, with Lory and Jon?

Our twentieth kit, climbing on mom’s tail, crunching on snacks, with 2 or three other beavers! (Maybe even dad?) Swimming, chewing, whining and acting like his little kitself again! I can’t tell you how much lighter our three moods were as we walked eventually back to our cars. The beaver family is together and everything’s right with the world.

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Now that we’re all in good moods, I will show you this treat that I stumbled upon yesterday. Look who has a new website! Now there are three great beaver resources to share with folks who want new ways to solve problems!

Capture

  We are a company dedicated to protecting our land and infrastructure, as well as allowing for creative remedies that improve habitats and end wasteful killing and spending. Our technology and practices are state-of-the-art, and have been employed domestically as well as internationally to mitigate the growing problems presented by the beaver population.

Finally! Skip Lisle’s website has hit the internet(s) running! Complete with great information and awesome photos showing off his skill. Go explore the sight, its lots of fun. I couldn’t be happier, although it was a little surprising to find this:

Skip Lisle offers that rare combination of “can-do” competence, creativity, and courtesy. He ably tamed our beavers with promptness and professionalism. Our California town, Martinez, still fondly remembers the man from Vermont, and his solution to save our Downtown!

Mark Ross
Vice Mayor
Martinez, California, USA

A testimonial from Mark Ross and nothing whatsoever from Worth A Dam? I suppose a vice mayor is slightly better advertising than a child psychologist, but it’s silly to overlook the beavers’ de facto press secretary. Well, the cat’s outta the bag now, I made sure everyone saw this yesterday, its on our beaver links, and in the future I will make sure that everyone knows your skills have a great website to promote them!

Too much good news?Guess what arrived in the mail yesterday. Approval from the Martinez Community Foundation for our grant application for the festival VIII art project! They paid 100% of the amount requested. No fooling, money from Martinez, for the beaver festival. I’m still pinching myself.

CaptureThank you Martinez Community Foundation for helping us teach children about ecosystems at the beaver festival! And thank you artist FRO Butler who will be doing the lion’s share of the work, prepping and painting the canvas, purchasing the materials, and supervising the eager artists. I can’t wait till the whole thing comes together and we can use it at our displays in the future!

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The Beaver State Beckons

Posted by heidi08 On November - 14 - 2014Comments Off

conference 2014The agenda is out for the State of the Beaver Conference 2015 and it looks amazing. Starting with the Keynote speaker Lixing Sun, the co-author of the most famous beaver book yet written. (Books really, because it’s so popular there’s a second edition.)

 Now maybe you’re thinking”why should I care” or “I hate Oregon in February” and “I don’t need to hear the latest beaver research”. But if you were thinking that you’d be thinking wrong. I’m going to assume that whoever you are you drink water, live on a rapidly heating planet, and are a citizen of a government with limited resources for fixing those things. The world needs beavers, and the only way it’s going to get them is if people like you stand up and teach people why they matter and how to live with them. This conference will make you better at that and you’ll hear from great minds like,

Instream Salmon habitat restoration and unintended benefits for west side beavers Robert Nichols, USDA Forest Service Fish Biologist

NWRC Beaver Research Update: From the Beaver State to the Heart of Dixie Ph.D. Jimmy Taylor,National Wildlife Research Center

Mathematical Ecologist, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center Ph.D. Chris Jordan

Flow Devices – Controlling Beaver Dam Flooding, and Facilitating Salmon Passage Michael Callahan, Beaver Solutions Inc

Beaver Restoration in Urban Creeks Ph.D. Heidi Perryman, Worth a Dam, Martinez Beavers

 Not to mention that it looks like this morning I just managed to get Derek Gow from Cornwall on the schedule. So you’ll be personally updated on the most famous beavers in the world. As well as a watershed-beaver introduction by this persuasive gentleman:

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The conference is truly one-of-a-kind, inexpensive, and ecologically  invaluable. The hotel is nice and beaver friendly, the casino thinks beavers are good luck, and you will meet amazing people that will become amazing friends. Register here and I’ll see you in Canyonville!

2015 SponsorsNow there is lots more to say, including beavers being threatened in BWW’s home town, (if you can believe it) and moderately good news from DEFRA about the Devon beavers. but I wrote this post this morning at 7am, worked on the graphics for leonard and promptly  lost it the entire column in the ether so had to do EVERYTHING again.

This beaver reporter needs a break.

Visitors & Casualties

Posted by heidi08 On November - 8 - 2014Comments Off

setupLast night’s visitors from San Francisco were 30 high school students with backpacks and notebooks who came to see the beavers.They were accompanied by their energetic and fearless teacher/handler Catherine Salvin. I gave a little talk on the footbridge about beavers as ecosystem engineers and described their physical adaptions to walclife in the water. Then Jon took them on a tour of the dam and up to ward street to look for the kit. On the way she made sure they sketched the dam, the flow device, and the chewed trees.

There were some great questions, some  appreciative listeners and a few who  predictably couldn’t have been more bored. They had read the New York Times article beforehand, and were fairly schooled in the basic story. (Someone couldn’t exactly remember the word and said they were ecosystem technicians, which I loved.) I’m happy to say that not one student thought beavers eat fish or live in the dam. That’s Catherine right front below.

Heidi WALCAfter their tour our smaller yearling made several appearances, swimming obligingly and foraging for them to watch. When it first emerged  30 noisy bodies trampled for a closer look and it dove immediately. I was surprised how quickly they learned to watch silently so they could see and sketch the beaver at leisure. A second beaver appeared later on and a great egret fished ostentatiously at the bridge during the quiet moments. everyone watching

All in all it was a good night, for beavers, for ecological education and for Martinez. Thanks WALC!

This morning I heard from Robin that the second wave of depredation permits for beavers (the not-computerized ones that had to be scanned by hand) had arrived. She wrote,

“Yes, we have Region 4 well represented with counties Kern, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Madera. Also Region 6 with Mono county. Nothing in the Southern coastal region- Los Angeles to San Diego.”

What does this mean? 4 – Central Region  Serving Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. Region 6 Serving Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. That means permission to kill the water-savers in the driest regions of the state. Robin will generously donate her weekend to get the stats together. But she can’t possibly go fast enough for me.

I recently was talking to a reporter from the guardian about depredation in California, and she wanted to know if the numbers were going up or down. I realized we couldn’t know for sure, but might glean something from earlier records. I don’t have access to earlier depredation permits, but I do have the stats from a FOIA request by reporter Thomas Knudson on beavers killed by the USDA in 2010. Comparing the two is kind of like apples and oranges, because one is ‘permission given’  and the other is actual beavers killed, and just because a permit is issued the beavers could be killed by someone else and never wind up in the USDA stats. Think of it like “All mothers are women” but “not all women are mothers” grouping problem. Remember the column on the left is the actual number of beavers killed by USDA. And the column on the right is the number of depredation permits issued (which might valid for an unlimited number of beavers).

However you slice it, we still have our grim winner:

what a differenceSo Placer county is still the leading beaver killer in the entire state.  No surprise there. Even more interesting to me is second place. USDA killed 108 beavers in Colusa County in 2010. But in 2013 the entire county got only got 4 permits. What gives? Did they suddenly have a change of heart and think that killing beavers was wrong? No indeed. Those 4 permits were issued for the incredible number of 94 beavers PLUS one unlimited wildcard of dead beavers. And they were all awarded to USDA. Let’s assume that those US killers are good at their job and always get their beaver. 94 + X (make that at least least 10 probably a lot more) and that puts them right back in their number 2 spot.

Some things never change.

It takes a Beaver Village…

Posted by heidi08 On November - 1 - 2014Comments Off

Every now and then someone asks me what Worth A Dam does. Do we rehabilitate beavers like the Aspen Valley Sanctuary? Do we reintroduce them like Yakima? Do we install flow devices like Beaver Solutions? And of course the answer is “No, we don’t do any of those things.” But we are extremely busy all the time. How is that possible?

I like to think that what we do, maybe better than anyone else in the world, is cross pollinate beaver information from one place to the next like a giant bumblebee. So that people that never would have connected suddenly realize they have something in common. The festival is just on example of this – and it turns out it all matters way more than you might think. Let me show you what I mean.

My name is Michelle Rogers. I am an Environmental Engineer with the Phillips 66 Refinery in Rodeo, CA. Our Carbon Plant has an access road that is now flooded because of a beaver dam. The dam is in the Rodeo Creek which runs along-side highway 4. I saw the story about the Martinez Beavers and I would like to do something similar with this beaver dam. I want to deal with this issue in a humane way, as I am a big animal lover and I do not want any harm to come to the beavers.

 Is there any way that you can point me in the right direction or let me know the steps that you took with your problem in Martinez?  Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle Rogers
Environmental Engineer
Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery

It was January 24th. 2014 when I got this email from Michelle Rogers the Environmental Engineer from Phillips 66 in Rodeo. They had some beavers in their creek that were flooding out a service road and they wanted to fix the problem. But rather than trap them, Michelle had heard of the solution in Martinez and wanted to see if it would be possible for them.

The first thing we did was send Jon to the site to walk around with her and understand the problem. He identified the issue  and another dam they hadn’t even seen. He showed her where a flow device would probably work and gave her a copy of Mike’s DVD. Michelle took the information (and several articles I armed her with) to her bosses and started talking about what could be done. Then, you might remember, I went in the hospital and we forgot all about it for a while.

Which was just as well because it was months later she was able to get her employers to consider this and she asked me about who could do the work. I introduced her to Kevin, associated with OAEC who trained with Mike Callahan last year and worked with Sherri Tippie this year.

Holy Cow! Heidi, thanks sooo much for passing her along. I’m headed down to check out the dam this afternoon, and can’t wait to see what our favorite critters are up to. Really appreciate all you’re doing, and am super excited about this next project. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you as well.

Kevin Swift
Head Beaver, Swift Water Design

So Kevin came out and brainstormed with Michelle and had Sherry Guzzi of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition design a map of what was needed. Then Michelle took that plan to get permission from the county of Rodeo (which is unincorporated) for the work. It was harder than you think. The county supervisors told her that in order to install a flow device she would need an insurance rider protecting Rodeo if anything went wrong. Seriously.

Then I met Fran T. de Sousa.

“We talked at the Beaver festival and you said that if I emailed you you could send me what you have on the Phillips 66 Environmental Dept. guy who called you in for a consult and that he called Skip Lisle about putting in a flow device. I was hoping to get something environmental going for kids in Rodeo and the beavers..and follow Worth A Dam’s lead.Rodeo is unincorporated and it must be county people insisting on insurance. I will get on that right away Thank you so much, I am looking forward to hearing from you!

I still don’t know what Fran does or how she knew what to do, but she was on a first name basis with all of the supervisors and I introduced her to Michelle and she went to work. I never heard another peep about the issue which seemed to evaporate like morning mist. But then there was Fish and Game Wildlife.

When Michelle presented her plan they came and visited the site and saw Western Pond turtles in the creek (species of special concern) and he told her the refinery needed a qualified biologist to come out, ID the turtles and say how the population would be protected from dangerous flow device injuries. Or something like that.

So I introduced her to Kelly, who introduced her to Jeff of the Wildlife Project.

I have copied Jeff Alvarez on this email. He is very familiar with western pond turtles and can either do the work you are looking for, or, if it doesn’t fit into his schedule, suggest someone who can help. He is the Principal Investigator for our western pond turtle telemetry study in Moorhen Marsh. Like Heidi said, the two turtles are easy to tell apart, but you really should have someone out there who knows how to find turtles and determine if you have a population of pond turtles or not. My guess is that if you saw 3 turtles you probably have more than that on site. Let me know if I can do anything else to help. Thanks. – Kelly

Kelly Davidson
District Biologist
Mt. View Sanitary District

Meanwhile the Fish and Wildlife officer told her that in order to install the flow device they’d need a permit to Alter the Stream, which was a little like requiring the EPA to approve which side of the street you park on. I asked Mike, Skip and Sherry if they ever needed to get a permit like this and they all said “Never”. Then I asked whether Martinez needed such a permit 8 years ago, and was told “Never”. I guess I was feeling kind of feisty that Friday, because I just called the officer up to talk about it.

I introduced myself as an interested party, then suggested he come to Martinez and see our flow device for himself. It would help to understand how it didn’t alter the stream bed. He said knew all about them but  it was the stakes holding the pipe down that affected stream flow. I said, I appreciate so much your talking to me about this, but do you mean if I was going to build a doc for my canoe I’d need a permit to alter the stream bed? He said it depended on the size of the doc and the area. I said it was really important to consider the precedent he was setting since flow devices were getting to be more common all across the state. He said every region makes its own independent decisions. I said installing a flow device altered the stream MUCH less than removing a beaver dam. He said he agreed, he actually liked beavers, but the key issue here was the turtles. They might get stuck in the pipe which would get full of sediment.

!!!

I assured him that we had western pond turtles in Martinez and in 8 years not a single turtle had ever gotten stuck in the pipe. We said our friendly goodbyes, and then I asked Mike about it who wrote back that in a decade of opening and repairing flow devices he had never seen one retain sediment (or turtles for that matter). I sent his comments along  to the officer.

There was a very long silence. Then on October 29th. 9 months and 4 days after Michelle’s initial email, I got this.

 We installed our device today. FINALLY!! I wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me. I could not have done it without your help. I wanted your photo person to shoot pictures but was advised not to because of the area we were working in. There is only one parking spot and the large coke trucks are in and out of that area on a consistent basis.

 I took pictures. I am attaching a couple of them. If you want to see all of them, let me know. Thank you again for all the help.  I am really excited about this!!!

We are excited too, Michelle! and so impressed at your vision in wanting to do this different from the very start. 9 months to save some beavers is a full-term effort. We were beyond delighted to help along the way. I’m sure there were Herculean labors by Michelle and others that I know nothing about, and I thank you for those, one and all!

Somewhere in Rodeo there is a family of beavers that can all grow up in peace. And you know what I think about their ancestry. A short swim down the carquinez strait will take you to Rodeo Creek and I think our dispersers explored their way into Phillips 66. After all, they were used to living near the Shell refinery. It probably looked like home.

Thanks to everyone who helped out on this journey and to everyone who keeps this Worth-A-Dam Bumble Bee flying. Buzz on team beaver!

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Don’t fear the BOO-ver!

Posted by heidi08 On October - 31 - 2014Comments Off

Failure is an orphan they say, but success has many parents.

It must be true. Just look who’s eager to jump on the beaver bandwagon now? Capture

Butte, the “beaver deceiver” and the New York Times

 Here’s a sentence you probably never thought you’d read in the New York Times: “Enter the ‘beaver deceiver.’” It appeared in a story filed on Monday, in Butte, about beaver populations thriving in the West. And just so you know: We were all over beaver deceivers, long before the Times found out about the devices.

Ya ya ya, you were ALL over beaver deceivers before they were ‘cool’. (Not that you invented them or anything.) I was so dam impressed at the time that I wrote about it back in 2013. Just 5 years after Skip Lisle installed ours. Yes, Butte was 14 months ahead of the NYT, but I’m not sure that’s really a compliment anymore.

On the other hand, you’ll be relieved to know that I heard back from the Jim Robbins the reporter of that article, who changed the reference to beavers living IN the dam, and assured me that he did not, in fact, drop out of kindergarten.

Surprised Girl

There’s a nice article from Andover Massachusetts of all places about a resident fond of the wildlife in an abandoned beaverpond. He wants to keep the dam even though the town wants it gone. He talks about the way it brings birds and wildlife but sadly never once mentions how much better it would be if there were beavers there to keep it repaired. Apparently, a flow device was installed years ago but has since decayed and the beavers decided to move on. I got all excited when I heard the headline, but its not what you think.

 Beaver dam dispute rattles neighborhood

 “Wood ducks, Canada geese, mallards, catfish, snapping turtles, deer,” he says excitedly as he opens the gate that leads from his manicured backyard and swimming pool to a town-owned grassy area near the pond. “None of them were ever here before.”

 The Conservation Commission earlier this month ordered the removal of the mud-and-stick beaver dam, since the beaver that built it eight years ago no longer lives there. Dobbelaar says that would drain the pond and return the area to the muddy bog it used to be. “The beavers are gone,” Dobbelaar admitted. “But in the meantime, why tear it down? I would like to maintain it for the neighborhood and the neighbors. I would like to fix it, but they just want to tear it down.”

I’ve never read an article like this proclaiming the benefits from the ghosts of beavers past. But it’s fairly intriguing considering that all MA usually writes about is the horrible voter curse of  not being able to use conibears. This was my favorite part thought:

He said when the beaver first came to the neighborhood, he wanted to tear the dam down because it was causing flooding.

 “I wanted to break it,” said Ikemoto, who is 81. “I went to the town and they wouldn’t allow it. They only permitted a beaver deceiver.”

 The beaver deceiver worked, he said. 

Is such a thing possible? Are there really towns that don’t let you remove beaver dams and require you put in a flow device instead? Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming. Andover is just outside Boston and 95 miles East of Mike Callahan and beaver solutions. So I can’t imagine how that happened.

The article says the beavers came 8 years ago and the neighbors figured out how to install a pipe. Hmm before our time AND before the Beaver Solutions DVD. Which I guess is what explains the parts all being decomposed and washed away now. The town’s worried the old dam will wash out, and he’s worried that no dam will mean no more wildlife.

Can you guess my solution to both their problems?

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Happy Halloween, btw. And remember not to be afraid of this:

don't fear the beaverNow I just need a band to record it.

“Made beavers” vs. “Beavers that have Got it Made”.

Posted by heidi08 On October - 21 - 2014Comments Off

I came across this video the other day and thought you might find interesting too. It’s a fairly concise description of the fur trade – well, one PART of the fur trade. Calling HBC the fur trade is like calling Shell the oil industry. Remember that there were many other companies all doing the same thing at once.

It’s amazing any survived at all. Lets not think any more about ‘Made Beavers”. Let’s think about “beavers that have got it made”.

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Wonderments of the East Bay Celebrating 80 years of EBRP

 The East Bay Regional Parks abound in wonderments: animals, plants, sounds, geological formations, histories, and languages that stimulate our curiosity and expand our capacity for awe. In exquisite, lyrical essays, Sylvia Linsteadt and Malcolm Margolin—with help from their friends—revel in these wonderments.

Our complimentary copy arrived yesterday with 4 pages of the Martinez Beaver story. They declined to use Cheryl’s excellent photos (or my accurate writing, ahem) but gave a gallant tale of civic response and public interest. The story  puts Martinez in a community-building light and says we had people from all over coming just to see our beavers. I remain fairly picky about the details. (If you’ll remember the original chapter had said Martinez brought in a “Team of engineers” to fix the flooding problem and I was terrified everyone would think it was expensively hard work  saving beavers.) I managed to get that wording fixed, but sadly the chapter still said mom had three babies and we discovered the first ever tulle perch in Alhambra Creek, which makes me mortified that my name was dropped in the passage without a corresponding footnote saying, “Heidi never said this and didn’t write it.”

A reasonable woman would be content that it makes it clear that the beavers had a positive effect on our creek and grateful that they sent me a copy. I strive to be such a woman. I’m not worried about the idea of giving EBRP credit for our beavers, (since they’re on city land), because I crisply remember a lively conversation I had with park wizard Hulet Hornbeck before he died, where he told me that they had been working for 50 years to clean up the Marina so that the arrival of the beavers would even be possible. And since he was wise enough to see the beaver family as a compliment,  I heartily believed him.

It’s a very nice looking book and a trove of local treasures. I know you want to pick up your own copy  here, or wait for the silent auction!

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Now you’ve done your history homework you deserve a treat. R.E. from Napa sent this yesterday and it’s very lovely. I won’t even bother telling you to enjoy it, because I know you will.

lorna and curtAnd finally a HUGE thanks to our friends at Safari West. My niece just got married in the Redwoods and since my wedding present to her had been an overnight stay at our favorite wilderness adventure in the wine country, they made sure she and her new hubby had an awesome time. The highlight came  last night when Kimberly Robertson met the couple after their tour and dinner to take them for a tower feeding that left my well-spoken niece speechless.  Thanks so much Safari West for making so many people so happy, and don’t forget to remember them if you’re looking for the PERFECT special day for someone in your family!

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