Archive for the ‘Friends of Martinez Beavers’ Category

The Best of ‘Times’

Posted by heidi08 On July - 23 - 2014Comments Off

bay nature ad

 Martinez: Beavers in festival spotlight


MARTINEZ — A segment of Martinez’ wetlands will soon be teeming with life, along with its myriad microorganisms, lush foliage and robust array of fowl and creatures that are already present.

 The public will once again gather Saturday, Aug. 2, to celebrate an ever-expanding family of beavers who play a key role in creating such diversity — from one end of the food chain to the other — at the seventh annual Beaver Festival, featuring live music, wildlife exhibits from throughout the world, children’s activities and tours of the beavers’ environs.

This is a very good article. Not only does the author, Jennifer Shaw get the details right on the festival, she nails them remarkably on BEAVERS in general. The only thing this article is missing is photographs. Maybe they’ll be in the print version? But maybe there wasn’t space with all Jennifer’s awesome words. I’ll add some. Go read the whole thing. (The CC Times has a very bad habit of only keeping the article viewable for a month, so I’m making a backup right now.)

This year, an Amtrak train car of folks will be part of the coterie of beaver fans, as a retired curator of aquatic biology at the Oakland Museum of California — and self-proclaimed “chief creek snooper” at Flow Back in Time — helps to open their respective eyes about the eco-vibrancy of creek life.

straight train

Christopher Richards will lead the group out to Alhambra Creek’s inlet to put into context just how an industrious group of sleek-coated beavers have stabilized creek banks, decreased flooding risks through fostering the growth of the natural riparian vegetation, and assisted in restoring the natural function and hydrology of the stream.

 ”(Beavers) are the productivity, the agriculture for the critters in the creek,” he says, citing the beavers’ habitat as an illustration of how “we can manage, neglect or restore creeks in the urban Bay Area landscape.”

That should get some attention! I hope it gets picked up by a paper on the other side of the tunnel! In the mean time a huge round of applause for Deidre Martin who made the entire thing possible. She brought her children to see the beavers last summer and the furry ingrates didn’t even show up! But she decided then and there to contribute.

Deidre Martin, a San Francisco resident and volunteer natural sciences docent at the Oakland Museum, is among those beaver enthusiasts who will board the Wetlands Express, already championing the sanctity of this native animal.

 ”We need to dispel the notion of beavers as pests … They’re a keystone species. They create habitat for other animals,” she says.

Can I get an Amen? Deidre came to our planning dinner and was a delightful contributor -and that night she got to see the beavers before catching the train home.  A San Francisco resident, Deidre first heard of our beavers from Kate Lundquist of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and decided she needed to come see for herself.

Jennifer also talked to Worth A Dam pillars Cheryl and Fro.

“They’re a family unit. They all work together,” says Cheryl Reynolds, a Worth A Dam board member, describing the beavers’ lodge-dwelling digs, vegetarian diet, and their average 35-pound size.

kit and mom

New mom and Kit – Cheryl Reynolds

And, Pleasant Hill resident and artist Frogard Butler will once again facilitate a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity for the younger set.

tailssewn tails

 Young artists will be making leather, textured, crisscross-patterned beaver tails in three sizes — adult, yearling and kit — and decorating them. Some participants have been known to return to the festival, sporting attached beavers tails.”

I love to see how everything comes together. I sure hope this article seeps outside the Record, But shhh this is my very favorite part!

 The Martinez resident quickly segues from cute descriptions to basic science, always lobbying for the beavers that play a key role in creating the overall health of the ecosystem.

 ”The beavers are changing the invertebrate community; they’re forming nooks and crannies; and constantly moving mud,” says Perryman, noting that different insects flourish at different elevations of the terrain, and thus account for an ensuing “fish bloom,” and a greater diversity of birds.

I love segueing from cute to science! And I ADORE being called a beaver lobbyist. Let’s face it. When she’s right, she’s right.

Welcome to the ‘Hood

Posted by heidi08 On July - 17 - 2014Comments Off

I give up. It’s impossible to prioritize or organize today’s beaver news into  one well-rounded serving. I’m just going to have to lump them together like a very disorganized (but tasty) potluck. Enjoy. Of course I’ll start with what’s most important:

City installs pond system to offset beaver activity

So as part of the city’s Beaver Management Program, two pond leveling devices were installed on July 9 in two beaver dams located near the Augustana Campus by 48th St.

 Two 20 feet long High Density Polyethylene, or HDPE, pipes were installed through the dams to allow water to flow through the ponds. The pipes are placed at a level that will allow water to balance out between the ponds. Each end of the pipe has a cage made from hog fencing to ensure blockage will not occur.

 The devices are the first of their kind to be installed in Camrose.

 “Essentially, it is a piping system that acts like a syphon,” said Glynnis Hood, associate professor in environmental science at the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus, who is spearheading the project.

 “Anytime the water gets above the level of where the pipe is placed in the dam, the syphon system starts to work and keeps the water at a consistent level rather than having the pond flood above its banks,” Hood said.

Hurray for Glynnis and her merry band of [burly] students! Hurray for Camrose and flow devices in Alberta! And Hurray for beavers who will stabilize that stream and improve conditions for fish and birds.

Hood added that her research shows the leveling system will result in significant time and monetary savings because there is less need for ongoing maintenance compared to traditional methods such as a dam removal or beaver trapping.

 Each pond levelling system cost approximately $600 in materials and about $200 for labor.

 Hood said, “It seems like a large initial cost but what we’ve found is that very low maintenance is required thereafter and it makes up for the rental of a backhoe which is about $200 to $300 an hour, not to mention the staffing that goes into it.”

 The new pond leveling system will also allow the ecosystem to thrive as there will be fewer interruptions to the area in the form of dam removals.

 Hood said, “The beavers can stay. They tend to just pack more material on top of the pipe and that actually helps our installation because it protects the pipe even more. These devices are designed to keep the pond intact, albeit at a lower level than beavers probably want them to be.”

Dr. Hood is one of the brightest stars in the beaver firmament. Every time I read about her successful persuasions with science I get a glorious feeling that one day we might actually cross the finish line. In the meantime, we still have some laps to do in our Martinez relay. Audubon enjoyed a very successful field trip last night and we have a festival to plan.

Debossed charms in silverThe brochure is finished (Thanks Amelia!) and the  charms are done (Thanks Mike!). I had a great interview with the CC Times tuesday and we are in Patch today.

Beaver Festival VII Coming Soon to Martinez

The Seventh Annual Beaver Festival in historic downtown Martinez is set for August 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Beaver Park, at the corner of Marina Vista and Castro Streets.

Bring the family to this free, unique Bay Area landmark event.

 The Beaver Festival features live music, wildlife exhibits from seven counties, children’s activities and beaver tours.

 Learn how and why every city should co-exist with beavers. The first 100 children earn a Wildbryde charm necklace.

 Everyone will find something special at this one-of-a-kind celebration of local nature and its most famous grassroots civic success story! To learn more about Worth A Dam (, follow this link.

Thanks Patch! Oh and just in case you wondered about DEFRA, England is still woefully stupid, but their feet are getting closer to the fire. The story was on British TV last night and  in Indian newspapers this morning.

But, don’t worry, the English aren’t always foolish. This, for example, was a brilliant decision.

London Celebrates The Monty Python Reunion By Putting A 50-Foot Dead Parrot In Potters Field Park

Go read the article, it’s that fun.

Oh and today just needs this, I can tell.

Ask the Experts

Posted by heidi08 On July - 9 - 20141 COMMENT

Beaver proves to be nuisance neighbour for Bathurst-area man

Hazen McCrea wants the province to deal with beaver dam blocking a culvert for fears of flooding

Beaver dam blocks culvert by Hazen McCrea’s home

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

The structure is starting to interfere with proper drainage of the 81-hectare property and if the beaver continues construction, McCrea worries about where all the water will go.

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

But he says every time he calls the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, he gets the run around.

Department officials told CBC News the beaver dam is not in the department’s right-of-way and suggested contacting the Department of Natural Resources.

New Brunswick is on the other side of Maine located about 500 miles from the inventor of the beaver deceiver which protects culverts (Skip Lisle in Vermont).  I’m not clear why New Brunswick is so totally unprepared for beavers, except that its very near PEI which is NOTORIOUS in dealing with beavers. Maybe all that helplessness and beaver stupid  floated in with the tides?

anne-trapping(Indulgent aside: This is one of my first and favorite graphics in the history of my beaver life. I couldn’t find it at first in my files – but no worries. I just googled PEI Beavers and it was the first image that came up.

Hahaha. I must be very popular in the region.)

beaver taking bath

Lory sent this photo the other day and it deserves our adoring attention. It also reminds us that it’s kit season and well-meaning rehabbers from  Calgary to Kentucky are inheriting the orphaned beavers of a trap-happy world. It turns out taking care of kits is a lot more complicated than most people realize. I do all I can to funnel information to our good friend and adviser Cher Button-Dobmeier of the Abbe-freeland Animal Sanctuary. She has rehabbed thousands of beavers and realizes the mistakes folks are most likely to make.


Cheryl and I have been begging her to write something for the rehab section, but she is resistant. “Every kit is different” she says. “And I don’t want people to feel like they are confident in what to do. I want people to ASK and keep asking, so that we can spot the problems before they become un-fixably fatal.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

Cher Button-Dobmeier, Director
Abbe-Freeland Animal Sanctuary, Inc.
8104 Terwilliger Rd.
Angelica, NY 14709

Beavers busting out all over!

Posted by heidi08 On June - 30 - 20141 COMMENT

Our ad in Bay Nature’s August issue just came out. We’re nicely placed in the upper right hand corner of page 17. Thanks Bay Nature for promoting our beavers! And Amelia for the awesome artwork.

Bay Nature 2014And just in case the nature crowd misses the ad in BN, check out the article in this month’s newsletter for the Mt. Diablo Audubon. The editor kindly allotted me 300 word to convince bird lovers to come to a beaver festival. I am very proud of this particular work. In addition to being one of the most carefully crafted and pithy things I think I ever wrote, it is also exactly 300 words.

Except for the last sentence about MDAS having a booth. Ellis added that.QuailThere’s a new chapter of meet the characters for the Beaver Believers film, and it’s not me, but it should be someone you know. In case you don’t recognize her right away, this is the beaver magician Mary O’brien who attended our festival in 2010. She has, along the way inspired me, delighted me, encouraged me, exasperated me and terrified me. Not necessarily in that order.

Recognize her now? This should help…


Checking out the tiles – Mary O’brien

Behind the scenes…

Posted by heidi08 On June - 28 - 20142 COMMENTS

Do you happen to remember a post I wrote about the old woman getting her pig over the stile? I drew a parallel between the elaborate manipulations she had to go through make it happen and the dramatic conundrum of putting together a beaver festival. You probably thought I exaggerated?

I had a dream this year of amplified sound that could be heard all over the park just like a real event. Wouldn’t it add cohesion and joy to the event? I asked the city for electricity and was told that whatever power lurked in the park to control sprinklers and operate night lights was not for us to use.

Never mind, undaunted I found portable solar generated power that we could rent and talked them into making an affordable contract with us. Then, feeling excited and proud of myself, I went looking for someone to handle the audio. My first choice was obviously the talented John Koss who had donated the audio service for Earth Day for more years than either of us can count. But he’s a richly talented man who does theaters and events all over the south bay and I wasn’t holding my breath.

To my delight John said YES and agreed to add the Martinez Beaver Festival to his long list of events. GREAT! I introduced John to our rep at the solar company to figure out exactly what they needed. Then I told all our musicians the good news. I was so excited!

Not so fast, little girl.

The whole thing ran into danger when the solar company suddenly said our event insurance needed a special rider to protect their property and the company handling  our insurance said such a rider would cost us an extra 1000 dollars!
CaptureFortunately, the head of ISI stepped in (Dr. Loren Cole) and gallantly said that in 37 years of organizing events he’s never heard of a rider being required. After that challenge the insurance and solar company were able to sit down and work out some mollifying language in our existing (250.00$) event policy that the city requires us to hold. And it’s official. We will have amplified sound this year at the cost of s 200.00 rented solar truck.


Then our talented charm designer Mike Warner of Wildbryde gave me a scare. He’s a very busy man and his ouzel tags are getting more popular every day. When he finally had time to work on our designs and pricing, I was alarmed to se the figures were twice what we paid last year! When I asked about the cost jump he said that a lot of his labor had been  donated before and he was now too busy to give us the same deal. Ack!

To make matters worse the charms used to be totally paid for by a grant from Kiwanis, but Kiwanis’ new rules meant we got a smattering of donation from them this year. We brainstormed about pricing and he was eventually able to cut some corners and offer us slightly fewer charms for about the same price. Since this year we’re doing silver tone I spent yesterday counting up our old silver charms which should be able to round things out a get complete sets for 120 kids, 25 adults and all of Worth A Dam.

Whew again!24683-art-toolThere were sadly many more of these but their resolution was too pedestrian and tedious for even me to write about here. Suffice it to say that when I wasn’t at my real job or solving a crise du jour I was watching this several times during the week.

Surprised, she reaches in her apron pockets and finds a tiny crust of bread which she lays in front of the mouse. He nibbles appreciatively, then agrees. And after all that asking the mouse begins to gnaw the rope. and the rope begins to hang the butcher, and the butcher begins to kill the ox, and the ox begins to drink the water, and the water begins to put out the fire, and the fire begins to burn the stick, and the stick begins to beat the dog, and the dog begins to bite the pig, and the pig decides to finally go over the stile…

 And that little old woman really does make it home that night!

Beaver Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them

Posted by heidi08 On June - 24 - 20142 COMMENTS

“The trap is underwater,” described Irish, “It’s a smooth rod trap, no big teeth claws or something. It humanely, it pinches them.”

Pinched to death?

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Beavers a problem for some Charlotte businesses


Now here’s a place where you have enough public interest to drive a real solution. But instead of solving the problem they have elected to hire Jim-Bob to come in and kill it. Because it would be silly for North Carolina, a state who has reported drought consistently over the  years, to learn to coexist with the “water-savers”. Bonus Irony Points: this year shows the exact area where beavers moved in to be “abnormally dry”.



Never mind about that. The news cameras obviously can’t tell a beaver from a muskrat. And the property managers can’t tell relocation apart from execution.  Maybe they can’t spot the difference between having enough fresh water and being thirsty either.

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

What’s up with the mealy-mouthed people who defend their intolerance by saying they don’t want the beaver killed – just relocated! It happened in Martinez and it happens everywhere and I hate it almost more than the trappers. It’s just saying “Obviously my needs are more important but if I get exactly what I want I don’t need the animals to suffer.” Honestly, is it just me or is it really that far away from “They’ll be happier in their own neighborhood/school with the other black people. They don’t belong in mine”.

One final complaint because this story really, really irritates me. And that’s the use of the word “euthanize” .  Webster’s dictionary defines Euthanasia asThe act or practice of killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering.

Workers said they found someone who will allow the beavers to be moved to their property. But the statute says that’s okay for certain animals, it appears beavers must be euthanized.

To be clear: these beavers aren’t sick. They are fully functioning, healthy beavers doing what beavers do. They’re just in the way.

  • News flash: Putting an animal to sleep to end ITS misery is euthanasia.
  • Getting rid of an animal to end YOUR misery is just murder.


We all need something wonderful to get that taste out of our mouths. Here’s a profile on Sherri Tippie from the ‘meet the cast’ trailers of the beaver believers documentary.

Meet Sherri Tippie from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.

A lovely profile of a remarkable woman. Horrifying thought of the morning: Sarah tells me I’m next.

The right stuff

Posted by heidi08 On June - 13 - 2014Comments Off

beavers in truckeeGreat news from our friends at the Sierra Wildlife Coalition. Seems they were asked to help out a nursery in Truckee. (That’s Truckee California where they once happily killed many beavers because “they were not native.” ) She posted these pictures on the Beaver Management Forum yesterday.

We installed a Pond Leveler (2 smaller 8″ ones) for a Nursery in Truckee, CA, that has a beaver pond in its back yard. With a couple of minor adjustments, it’s working perfectly, the pond has lowered about 9″-10″ and re-exposed stone steps to an island in the pond…. the owners and beavers are happy. 

covered stonesApparently the beavers had raised the pond so much that their beautiful path stones were submerged in the water. No matter. Ted and Sherry Guzzi knew just what to do!

tedcarryted at workA good days work and a few tweaking touches and things were all squared away. The beavers were fine with the adjustment and the nursery could get back to normal. Another problem solved.

allbetterJust in time for the duck to take a nap! Oh and in case this awesome tale (tail) of beaver success isn’t inspiring enough, here’s the Very Best Part.

Best part is that our group was recommended by both the Town of Truckee and CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife!

Great work, Sherry and Ted! Can I get an Amen?

One more job today (that I will do several times in the days to come as penance) is to correct a mistake. I apparently posted the wrong graph for the recent historic prevalence article and Eli wishes I could fix it so it would stop coming up on google searches. I deleted the bad one from every place I could think of, but apparently it’s still in the ether and pops up from time to time. I’m thinking that if the right one gets clicked on a few hundred times over the next few days it will supplant the interloper. So I’m posting it here and asking you to please click here and help rescue me from my incompetence. Then again, maybe you know a secret way to get rid of the wrong one, in which case you should email me.Figure 4 Lanman et al 2013_the_real_deal