Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

NOUB: (Not Our Urban Beavers)

Posted by heidi08 On March - 25 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

A lovely report from Napa has made the “Best of the Bohemian” writer’s picks for 2017 already, courtesy of our good friend Robin Ellison.

Most Adorable Department of Water ResourcesCapture

A great feat of endurance, strength and resolve to make tomorrow another day is going almost unnoticed in the midst of urban Napa, after torrential rains burst dams and washed away homes, leaving some of its most vulnerable residents homeless, shivering in the cold. Not so much human residents, bulodge with carst the beaver residents of Tulocay Creek. “It has been a wild winter at the beaver pond,” says Robin Ellison, a Napa wildlife watcher who’s kept a close watch on the beavers since they made a short stretch of this humble, urban creek channel their home several years ago. During the drought, the beavers set to work on a simple stick dam, creating habitat for birds and other wildlife, rebuilding after a storm in January 2016 flooded their home. Then, in 2017, winter turned on the beaver family like some White Witch, unleashing three damn-blowing storms in a row. “Tulocay Creek came within a foot of spilling its banks, and the magnificent beaver lodge was swept away,” Ellison reports. “The poor beavers were homeless and befuddled the following week, out in daylight trying hard to stay awake.” Ellison’s photo of a beaver that had worked so hard to build a new dam for its family that it fell asleep on the branch it was gnawing, would surely affect even the heart of someone who regards nature’s hydrologic engineers as mere pesky rodents. At last report, the rebuilt lodge has an impressive foyer entrance.—J.K.

Ahhh that’s sweet so to see celebrated! And beaver guardians never go out of style. Great job, Robin! I’m so old I remember when the Martinez Beaver Story was the pick of the year for unexpected wonders. Now they can’t even be bothered to publish the story they sent a reporter and a photographer out to capture! (I was told last weekend, then wednesday and now I have NO idea!)
Never mind, this is better anyway.

Time for another nice article about ENCOURAGING urban beavers and our new best friend, Kate Holleran!

Listening to the Land: Dam, Beavers! Dam!

<As humans have come to understand and value the critical role of wetlands in healthy ecosystems, beavers—the world’s greatest wetland engineers—are finally getting the respect they deserve. In the first of several beaver-appreciation events in Seaside, join scientist Kate Holleran at the Seaside Public Library on Wednesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. for an evening exploring how to encourage beavers to return to our communities—and how to live with the results. “Dam, Beaver! Dam!” is the fourth of five wildlife-themed Listening to the Land presentations in 2017. Admission is free.Even urban areas, where beavers were long considered pests, are now welcoming beavers as partners in habitat restoration efforts. Holleran, a senior natural resources scientist at Metro in the Portland area, has implemented several projects to improve the aquatic and forest habitat along Johnson Creek on the east side of the Metro district, on Chehalem Ridge on the west side, and on other nearby streams, much to the delight of beavers. She’ll talk about beaver restoration research and her own experience with beavers, exploring how her team has lured beavers back to streams and how adjacent landowners are coping with the effects of beaver activities on their property.

Kate is an ecologist for OregonMetro which coordinates the city parks and open spaces, because Portland. She is a big believer in beaver ecology and teaches groups to spot beaver for different watershed organizations. I’m thinking she should come to our next beaver festival and get inspired to start her own.

And by the way, isn’t it wonderful to see two stories that promote Urban Beavers that are not about US? Think about that for a moment, and consider if you will how many such stories graced the newspapers ten years ago. Got the answer? That would be NONE. We are the river from which all urban beavers flow. Literally in Napa because that might well be offspring, and figuratively in Portland, because our success story made them unashamed to discuss the topic aloud.

Honestly, no forefather could be prouder. Just look how far urban beavers have come.

Because why not Blame the Beaver?

Posted by heidi08 On March - 24 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Oh those crazy beavers with their penchant for sinkholes and collapsed roads! When are they going to stop harassing us with their rodent ways and let us live peacefully. On ALLIGATOR lake.Capture

Beavers the culprit in 30A road collapse

“We’ve always had problems with beavers where we don’t have a bridge,” said Chance Powell, an engineer for Walton County

One of the great mysteries early Thursday morning was solved after it was determined that beavers were the most likely culprit for the sinkhole that has closed Walton County Road 30A near County Road 283.

Beavers? Beavers!

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a call just after 5 a.m. Thursday about a sinkhole on 30A at Alligator Lake.

According to County Commissioner Tony Anderson, who was present as county crews began to fill the extensive hole, a GMC pickup was crossing the section of road when the asphalt began to cave in. The vehicle made it across, but the pickup was damaged and the man driving it was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast with minor injuries, said Walton County Public Works Manager Wilmer Stafford.

“The water that flows under the road became too heavy on one side and caused it to fall in,” said Stafford, who also was at the scene later in the morning.

 The section of CR 30A surrounding the collapse site has been closed until the road can be repaired.

On the surface, the hole appears to be about 4 feet wide and takes up three-quarters of the road in front of Alligator Lake. But officials calculate that crew must deal with a much larger area of damage under the road.

But wait, how do the beavers make the sink hole exactly? Are you saying they tunneled under the asphalt to get away from the alligators, or chew holes in the road with their huge incisors, or that maybe the road was stuffed with willow and they ate it? The article is a little vague on the actual mechanics of destruction.  But I’m sure they’re telling the truth, right? People would never blame a rodent for something just to explain away a problem that their carelessness caused in the first place.

I guess it will stay a mystery, like how beavers live near ALLIGATOR lake in the first place.


 

Come to think of it, maybe they can sign up for the flow device WEBINAR coming soon from our friends at Furbearer Defenders and Cows and Fish. It will be taught by Adrien Nelson and Norine Ambrose and you are ALL invited. It’s a bargain at 5 dollars. Make sure to save your space now.

Learn how to successfully implement flow devices for beaver management in your community with our upcoming webinar, Beaver Flow Devices for Managers.

On April 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm EDT / 1:30 pm MDT / 12:30 pm PDT, Adrian Nelson of The Fur-Bearers, and Norine Ambrose from Cows and Fish will co-host this engaging webinar that will focus on the “whys” and “wheres” of implementing these devices. Managers and supervisors from a range of backgrounds will learn to better understand the applicability of these devices, as well as analyze sites requiring beaver management, and address which type of flow devices are most appropriate. 

Adrian will walk through the different types of devices, and how to make each one successful, as well as various obstacles and needs that may need to be addressed before deployment. The presentation will also touch briefly on ordering and supplies to ensure teams have the right materials for success.

Norine will tell participants of her first-hand experience in learning about and installing these devices in Alberta, and let participants know about the broader beaver collaborative work on education, social science, and management Cows and Fish is involved with the Miistakis Institute, local partners, and support from The Fur-Bearers.

Participants will come away with a better understanding of flow devices, but more importantly why they are useful to successfully co-exist with beavers. A question and answer period will follow.

I actually didn’t know these good folks knew each other, so I might watch just to learn more about their interaction. We will definitely learn things!

“Mní wičhóni”

Posted by heidi08 On March - 22 - 2017Comments Off on “Mní wičhóni”

A very interesting thread appeared on my beaver news-feed yesterday. It began by talking about the native protests of the Dakota pipeline. Then ended by discussing the relationship between beavers and water and Native Americans.

Why is water sacred to Native Americans?

The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,” or “Water is life,” has become a new national protest anthem.

It was chanted by 5,000 marchers at the Native Nations March in Washington, D.C. on March 10, and during hundreds of protests across the United States in the last year. “Mní wičhóni” became the anthem of the almost year-long struggle to stop the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River in North Dakota.

For Native Americans, water does not only sustain life – it is sacred.

Native American tribes on the Great Plains knew something else about the relationship between themselves, the beaver and water. They learned through observation that beavers helped create an ecological oasis within a dry and arid landscape.

As Canadian anthropologist R. Grace Morgan hypothesized in her dissertation “Beaver Ecology/Beaver Mythology,” the Blackfeet sanctified the beaver because they understood the natural science and ecology of beaver behavior.

Morgan believed that the Blackfeet did not harm the beaver because beavers built dams on creeks and rivers. Such dams could produce enough of a diversion to create a pond of fresh clean water that allowed an oasis of plant life to grow and wildlife to flourish.

Beaver ponds provided the Blackfeet with water for daily life. The ponds also attracted animals, which meant the Blackfeet did not have to travel long distances to hunt. The Blackfeet did not need to travel for plants used for medicine or food, as well.

Beaver ponds were a win-win for all concerned in “the Great American desert” that modern ecologists and conservationists are beginning to study only now.

For the Blackfeet, Lakota and other tribes of the Great Plains, water was “life.” They understood what it meant to live in a dry arid place, which they expressed through their religion and within their ecological knowledge.

R. Grace Morgan’s dissertation on beaver ecology and mythology? What? Why had I never heard of it? I went hunting immediately thinking that everyone else knew something I didn’t. I found the entire dissertation online at the University of Alberta library and just the abstract was enough to send thrills up my spine.

CaptureI sent it along to some beaver-minded folks just in case they hadn’t seen it either and Michael Pollock wrote immediately back, confirming that the oversight wasn’t mine alone.

“WOW! Heidi, what a total score. Just read the abstract, fascinating.”

1So I wasn’t the only one, and I settled in for a good read. I’m about half way through, but I have to keep stopping to make notes or tell someone else how cool it is.  I thought I’d share some highlights. Basically she postulates that for the plain tribes in the middle of Canada and North America, water was so scarce that they valued anything that protected it. They evolved a taboo system about killing beavers, so that no one wanted to eat beaver meet or wear beaver skins because it would ultimately threaten that water resource. They relied totally on the buffalo for survival for most of their needs. And the beaver was literally the “sacred cow they would never harm.

Because beavers save water, and water was life.

Then the Fur Trade came marching along and threatened that way of life. For centuries the Blackfoot Indians refused to help out hunting beaver, until the entire economy started revolving around beaver. Then their enemies who were willing to become beaver enemies started to get preferential status. The tribes they had quarreled in the past were suddenly armed with guns and ammunition because they agreed to help. Dr. Morgan was the first to pose that the sacredness of the beaver eroded under economic and hostile pressure. They reluctantly did what was needed and started to kill the thing that saved their water until all the beaver had gone the way of the buffalo and dinosaur before them.

abAnd do you think it might be important for a water vulnerable state like CALIFORNIA to know about this dissertation? Or remember why the things that save water are sacred? R. Grace Morgan returned to academic life after her children were grown and was in her fifties when the dissertation was completed in 1991, nearly a decade before Dr. Glynnis Hood showed up to study the same subject in the same area of Elk Island, Alberta. Glynnis said they never met, but she heard good things about her from colleagues. Dr. Morgan was an archeologist – not an ecologist. And some of the things her dissertation faithfully reports about beavers have since been debunked, like the fact that their dams never blow out. But she got so much right. I wish we had met.  She died at age 81 last February after a long struggle with oviarian cancer.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.

If water is life

 

 

Introducing: The Beaver Institute

Posted by heidi08 On March - 4 - 2017Comments Off on Introducing: The Beaver Institute

You might remember that before the conference I mentioned that Mike Callahan had some big news he wanted to unfurl, well here it is:

The Beaver Institute™ is launched!

17103470_10208541113269195_5225729508328054048_nAt the Conference I had the great pleasure of announcing that a new national charitable 510(c)3 nonprofit organization is being formed specifically to support beavers. It will be called The Beaver Institute™, and it will raise funds to support a myriad of beaver coexistence efforts on a national level, including key flow device installations, training installers, supporting scientific beaver management research and public outreach.

mike with skullHere in Massachusetts a small grant program has subsidized many flow device installations and has been a huge success in demonstrating their effectiveness and changing a culture of lethal trapping to one of beaver coexistence. It is our hope that this model can be replicated on a national scale.

The Beaver Institute™ is still being formed so I welcome you to join as a charter member and submit any questions or suggestions to me by email or on the Beaver Management facebook page for projects you feel the Beaver Institute could support. Also if you have any suggestions for fundraising or connections with grant funders please let us know. The Board of Directors is also looking for beaver experts to serve on their Advisory Board.

I really think we can move beaver management forward at a significantly faster pace with a nationally focused nonprofit organization. More details to follow on this forum as they develop.

The Beaver Institute! What a wonderful platform for beaver advocacy and research! Congratulations Mike for leaping iBeaver Institutento the non-profit fray. We will help any way we can and do our best to get the news out. Hey maybe there could be a grant for a sister beaver conference on the East Coast in even years? Or a Massachusetts beaver festival to teach folks what to appreciate about the animal they go crazy over. You need to bring some  academic types on board. Who’s on the beaver faculty at MIT or Cambridge?

And the whole thing can’t get going soon enough in my book. Medford is in dire need of a beaver intelligence transfusion, so maybe you have your first pilot project right there.

Understanding the warrant: Beaver management money

Beavers are such a pervasive presence in Medfield, they’re making an appearance at Town Meeting.

Tucked among the more than 40 articles voters will decide on at the April 24 Town Meeting is $5,000 “for the purpose of trapping beavers and removing beaver dams throughout the Town.”

“They build dams in culverts,” Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said. When left unchecked, he said, “They were flooding people’s backyards and affecting their septic systems.”

The Town Administrator, according to the article, is the town position authorized to spend the funds. Sullivan said the town spends about the same amount every year, using trapper Barry Mandell.

“You could bring the Conibear and the foothold (trap) back,” Mandell said, and encourage recreational trapping, “but then you’ll have negligent trappers catching dogs.”

Beavers are an issue across much of Massachusetts, and a regular appearance in town budgets.

compareHey, I’ve got an idea for a BI project. Chose a small community around Medford and install culvert protection on every road like they do in Grafton where Skip Lisle is a Selectman. Get a big piece of paper and add up all the money it costs you on one half, then add the 5ooo you spend trapping every single year on the other half. Make sure to figure any extra hours public works spends ripping out debris or hiring back hoes to do the work. As well as every single minute you spend talking to the public to explain the need for this.

And then compare both sides! It’s a research project waiting to happen.

Beaver Music to our Ears

Posted by heidi08 On March - 1 - 2017Comments Off on Beaver Music to our Ears


Regular readers of this blog know I don’t pull out the ‘Star Wars award ceremony’ for just any beaver article. I did it when the New York Times finally decided to read the memo and report that beavers matter (even if the author did first write that beaver live in the dam). And I do it for this – I’m pretty sure this is better. I’m tearing up so often it’s hard to be sure. This is the kind of glorious article you need to GO READ FOR YOUR SELF in its entirety. But I will serve up some highlights to whet your appetite.

CaptureBetter with Beavers

by Rob Rich

Beavers seem to know that healthy waters need wood – big wood to scour deep pools, dead wood to fertilize them, racked-up wood to complicate the flow. The intricacies of their dams, lodges, and mazing canals surpass all belief, in spite of – or rather, because of – the ways they are riven with a wild porosity, in need of constant maintenance. With all this industry and adaptive efficacy, beavers are deserving “ecosystem engineers,” even as they compel more expansive definitions for this very term. We typically engineer ecosystems by neatening and bleakening them with inert structures, often at the expense of other species. But the organic approach of Castor canadensis actually increases biodiversity, including direct contributions to over 25 percent of herbaceous plant species along forested rivers and streams.

In this respect, beavers are also “keystone species” that have disproportionately large impacts on their neighbors, including us….The discerning eye can look at maps of the Pacific Northwest and pick out lands where beavers came before. Some remain fertile wetlands, others are now pastures with “good” groundwater, still more are wet floral meadows tucked away in the woods. Our most livable and lovable landscapes are often ancient beaver ponds, first cleared, composted, and irrigated by beavers long ago. For the many happy bovines we see amid the longest-green grass, we can thank a beaver. For the homes that are flood-buffered or firewise with nearby ponds, we also can thank a beaver. And if you drink water in Bellingham, Washington, it’s been stored and filtered by wetlands upstream. At least for this, we can surely thank a beaver. 

Sniff. I love everything about this article. But the bold sentence I love especially. If you love the way your pastures or farmlands look, thank a beaver. If you love that your home is above the flood plane, thank a beaver.  The only thing this article needs is better photos. That scruffy muskrat-looking kit is no way to tell a story. Rob needs to talk with Suzi and have this article properly illustrated.

Yet as trials and errors teach us time and again that no one person can achieve restoration alone, the promise of partnership has taken a new turn. The return of beavers to their former haunts is showing us that even our species – the great Homo sapiens – can’t achieve restoration alone. While the Pacific Northwest remains collectively committed to the ongoing work of restoration, there is the growing awareness that our former salmon abundance was made possible with the beavers’ work. The last five centuries aside, beavers were one of the greatest earth-shapers on the continent, creating the very conditions in which our beloved salmon evolved. However much it jabs at our hubris, we are realizing that our aspirations to restore landscapes may be a kind of beaver mimicry. ELJs are, after all, what beavers do. Near my home, in the Stillaguamish River watershed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration even estimates that, after the fur trade, winter habitats producing young salmon were reduced by 86 percent without the beavers’ presence.

It’s no wonder that beaver-based restoration partnerships are forming all around the region, eager to dispatch the rodents like mercenaries to the frontlines of damaged watersheds. And where direct reintroductions are not possible or practical, we are learning to welcome the rodents who naturally return.

Sometime you just need to get that second cup of coffee and settle in for a good long read. As wonderful as the article is, it’s even sweeter because the author was at the beaver conference, wrote me a LOVELY compliment about my presentation, and said he agreed with me that Lorne Fitch’s presentation was amazing. He also loved meeting his hero Kent in person.

US Forest Service biologist Kent Woodruff knows that many landowners consider beavers problematic, but his leadership on the project has shown them how these animals can aid us in timely, cost-effective ways. Woodruff can talk about beavers one minute as though they are venerable elders; in another, they might be an Allen wrench, just the right size; in the next, he might be on his knees, pointing out to some visiting schoolkid what makes one beaver’s tail unlike all the others. It’s no wonder that Woodruff has been dubbed a “beaver whisperer.” Since 2008, the project has relocated over 300 beavers around the Methow Valley watershed, most to headwater streams on public land.

Shhh, here comes my favorite sentence:

Glamorous as these intensive restorations are, sometimes the simplest tactic is just to let the beavers come home. But this can also be the most challenging approach – while still the most necessary – because it requires a coexistence that conquers our perceptions of beavers as pests.

You knew it was going to be something like that, right? Let the beavers relocate themselves and if you have to change anything,  spend the effort changing the people. That should be on my tombstone. There’s a very nice passage about Tricia Otto who allowed beavers to reawaken her property. Something tells me we’d be great friends.

Thankfully, there are growing numbers of people who welcome these nomads. Over the past two years, I have worked weekly as a land steward with Tricia Otto, a retired doctor and avid conservationist who had long sought to restore native biodiversity on a wounded piece of land. In 1989, when Tricia bought her hundred-acre parcel of weed-sprung woods outside Bellingham, she never thought beavers would enter the scene. But soon after her arrival, the beavers followed. First they clogged an old culvert, which backed up the little-trickle-of-a-blackberry-strangled-creek, which ultimately drowned her driveway. After a few winters of driving through standing water, she realized the beavers were doing other things: As silent teeth sawed through the nights and wet roots went to rot, trees fell. And in the felling, even-aged woods became a multigenerational community. Light hit the land again, and sometimes the land became water. Without even asking, the beavers were helping Tricia achieve her conservation goals.

Tricia!  You are a girl after my own heart. I love your pragmatic appreciation of the work beavers do. Go Read the article. Why aren’t you going to read the article?

In the past several decades, Portland, with its progressive urban growth boundary to constrict sprawl and keep the city green, has become a destination of the eco-friendly. And ever since officials from nearby Tigard, Oregon rashly breached a beaver dam, locals have started to speak up for their state animal. Greater Portland’s urban parks have become oases touted for “beaver watching” opportunities, and wherever possible, beavers are allowed to do what beavers do. The sheer curiosity these rodents provoke has shown that our natural aesthetics are wildly adaptable. Where the beavers draw too close for comfort, there are options. People are learning to foil the fellers from taking down cherished trees with hardy fences, or by coating the trunks with an abrasive paint-sand mixture.

And where beavers are truly threatening safety, public infrastructure, or private homes, people are turning to the rapidly evolving realm of non-lethal fences and flow devices aimed at beaver-proofing culverts and stream channels where flooding could be an issue. These relatively inexpensive devices include the Beaver Deceiver – a fence that prevents the beaver from coming too close to a culvert, and the Castor Master – which keeps a pond’s water level from rising above a certain height. These remarkable tools have worked for thousands across the continent, and in Europe, where Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) numbers are on the rise.

Is there any beloved topic that this article doesn’t cover? Beavers help streams and biodiversity – check. Beavers can be relocated to areas to do good work – check. It’s even better when we allow beaver to relocate themselves – check. And when beavers cause problems flow devices can solve them. – CHECK. That’s it. That’s the beaver gospel. Chapter and verse. He didn’t miss anything.

We can’t restore ecosystems alone. We have great resources out there, like the Beaver Restoration Guidebook, an infinitely practical, inspiring tome of case studies and how-tos from leading practitioners. And yet there is many a night when I put my head down, afraid I have not yet done enough, known enough, or tried enough to steward this place. In such times I take heart in how beavers recall the words of ecologist Frank Egler, who said, “Nature is not only more complex than we think; it is more complex than we can think.” I take heart in the ways we increasingly see our fellow animals not as objects to save, but as allies with common cause. The beaver is a model, measure, and motivation for this work, and I trust that we have much to live for, together. When my workday is done, I trust that somewhere, on a dark and fast-dripping stream, a beaver’s shift begins.

PERFECT. PERFECT. PERFECT. This is the very best article I could ever have hoped for. Thank you SO much for your excellent work, Rob. It could only have been slightly more perfect if it mentioned in passing how a certain California city south of Whatcom had decided to live with beavers a decade ago with excellent results including a beaver festival. But, hey. Gift horses and mouths, you know the saying.

How much do you wanna bet that after reading this the execs at Earth Island are kicking themselves that they aren’t Worth A Dam’s sponsor and let ISI get to beavers first?

help-me

Talking to the beaver opposition

Posted by heidi08 On February - 25 - 2017Comments Off on Talking to the beaver opposition

Adrien Nelson of FBD didn’t make it to the conference this year, because he had work to do in Langley. And reading this you can tell  he does it so well.

Fur-Bearers weigh in on Gloucester beaver trapping

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals is urging the Township to use alternative beaver management methods, after a dead beaver was found inside a trap in Gloucester last month.

Rather than trapping beavers — which according to Adrian Nelson, wildlife conflict manager with the Fur-Bearers, has only a 16 per cent success rate — a “long term solution” is using flow devices, such as pond levellers or exclusion fences.

Pond levellers are large pipes that allow water to flow through existing beaver dams, while exclusion fencing prevents beavers from accessing culverts or bridges.

“This is not new technology; they have been around for over 20 years, they are incredibly successful,” Nelson told Township council at its Feb. 20 evening meeting.

“When they are implemented properly we have a success rate of between 90 and 97 per cent, and that is over a 10-year period.”

The devices cost $400 to $600 in materials and take two people about half a day to install. They require maintenance twice per year, which usually consists of removing debris or garbage build-up. Nelson said the devices are much more cost-effective than repeatedly calling in trappers, or taking apart dams.

The Fur-Bearers also offer free training programs to municipal staff on how to implement and build the systems properly, having successfully worked with Mission, Coquitlam, Bowen Island, Surrey, Richmond, and even the Township of Langley.

Coun. David Davis, who has dealt with beavers on his farm many times, said he is concerned that during a rain event, a pipe through a beaver dam may not be able to handle the water coming through, and flooding would result, causing damage and costing the Township a lot of money. He believes in some cases, the beavers have to be removed.

Adrien is working hard in Langley to remind the city to do the right thing. Which they have done before but suddenly think might not work. And of course the council is making it as difficult as possible for obvious reasons. I feel these opponents have been well matched. And when I saw this letter to the editor I went so far as to say OVER matched. You will understand why.

Connect with Us Opinion Letter: Many humane options exist for managing beavers Melissa Oakes’ children, Ruby, 5, and Finley, 8, joined Earth Rangers along with 100,000 other children across Canada. Their art project involved learning about the beaver, including speaking with a First Nations elder about the hardworking rodent that has lately found itself at the centre of controversy. – Melissa Oakes submitted photo Melissa Oakes’ children, Ruby, 5, and Finley, 8, joined Earth Rangers along with 100,000 other children across Canada. Their art project involved learning about the beaver, including speaking with a First Nations elder about the hardworking rodent that has lately found itself at the centre of controversy.— image credit: Melissa Oakes submitted photo

Letter: Many humane options exist for managing beavers

Editor: I read the recent article in the paper (the Times, Jan. 18) about this wetland and the beavers, and thought I would send you this photo of my children Finley, 8, and Ruby, 5, with the beaver lodge in background and their art.

My children have joined Earth Rangers along with 100,000 other children across Canada and one of their missions was to speak with an elder about living with wildlife and do an art project.

We read about how the beaver represents wisdom. The beaver uses the gifts and knowledge it was given by the Creator to build a healthy and strong community.

In that process, it makes wetland habitat so we call them wetland superheroes.

This land was taken out of the ALR with the agreement that this area would be left as green space. With all the money that the government is putting toward wetland conservation, it would be a shame to lose this wetland and the beavers that made it.

I understand that there are many other management options that people could be using other than constantly killing them.

Well, all I can say is between Melissa, Ruby, Finley and Adrien, the stubborn city council doesn’t stand a chance. Keep it up! It takes a huge amount of protest to earn the right to inconvenience city staff, as we learned first hand in Martinez. They just hate being inconvenienced. Never mind, don’t let that stop you. There’s plenty of more child beaver artists where that came from if you need them. We should know.

One of the talks at the conference I wanted to hear the most was Lorne Fitch of Cows and Fish in Alberta. In fact we thought it was important enough that he be there that Worth A Dam paid his travel expenses and the Leonard Houston hosted him at the hotel. Unfortunately my fearless live recorders had to leave early yesterday to get back to Portland, but Journalist and soon-to-be author, Ben Goldfarb was kind enough to film the talk with his phone. This is an imperfect recording, but you can hear most all of what he has to say and see most of his slides, so I’m enormously grateful for the effort. Lorne represents the very best at involving the community and meeting disbelieving ranchers exactly where they are. If you have stubborn folk you want to persuade about beavers, (and who doesn’t?) he is the speaker you need to hear. I will try to get a copy of his ppt slides when he gets safely home. The first moments of the video are bumpy but it gets better so stick with it.

A miss is as good as 400 miles

Posted by heidi08 On February - 23 - 2017Comments Off on A miss is as good as 400 miles

stateofLouise Ramsay posted this photo of what looks to be the well-attended start of the beaver conference yesterday and I was so struck with such gripping envy that I couldn’t remind myself why I wasn’t there listening greedily to every word. Thankfully my mother also sent along this news story and my sanity was restored, (if only briefly). Apparently 1-5 was closed at Medford due to snow and rock slides. Well, okay then.

snowYesterday was the day I most mind missing, (well one of the three anyway). Because it was the day that the Wales project was presenting and the day that Gerhard Schwab was presenting on the idea that most of what was needed to manage beavers in Germany was managing the people – their enormous fears and reluctance to share. Ahem! Which of course, is a topic near and dear to my heart.

This morning there will be a tribal welcome breakfast and I was supposed to present at 9:30. Then after a break Mike Callahan will have a big announcement which I will tell you about later because he asked me not to spoil his thunder here. Both Mike and Sherry of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition said they’d send me tidbits, so hopefully we’ll hear a little of what’s going on. In the meantime, I am hopeful that a few of you will enjoy this and feel like you are there. I guess it’s practically 9:30 now!