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.
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, but 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!
<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.