Archive for the ‘Friends of Martinez Beavers’ Category

Beavers go to the theater

Posted by heidi08 On August - 12 - 2016Comments Off on Beavers go to the theater

 A wild and wacky look at one of the most important critters on the continent. We’ll hear why they almost disappeared and how they are making comeback.

Film Screening: Leave it to Beavers

Presentations by:

Kate Lundquist
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Heidi Perryman, Ph.D
Worth A Dam/

Music by Organic Women’s Chorus

Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia Street, Vallejo, CA

Friday, September 16, 7pm – 10:00 pm

Happy you-know-what to you-know-who.

jon (2)

The evil that men do to Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On August - 2 - 2016Comments Off on The evil that men do to Beavers

A truly horrible story from Scotland broke yesterday. Apparently Scottish farmers are worried that a decision to protect the beavers will come any minute and have decided to respond by killing as many as they can in the meantime.

Farmers “rush to shoot beavers” before they are granted protected status

FARMERS are rushing to shoot as many beavers as possible before a new protection order comes into place, it has been claimed. The Scottish government has been considering granting protected status to beavers since 2015 – but there are currently still no laws governing when or where they can be shot.

On February 12 this year, an email to government officials stated that farmers in the Strathmore and Forfar areas of Angus were killing beavers ahead of the proposed new protective legislation

The email read: “It was clear from discussions that farmers and gamekeepers are shooting as many beavers as possible just now before they become protected. I suspect they will be just shooting them in the water, which might result in injuries rather than death much of the time.

“Like seals that are shot in the water no doubt they will just float off downstream or die in their lodge.”

Scotland has let itself get in a pickle with these beavers. They must have just woken up and found them because 150+ beavers do not suddenly appear overnight. Our good friend Paul Ramsay is still working hard to for their safety and is pushing the government to make the right decision. Or at least ANY decision, because the ambiguity is starting to mount up.

Paul Ramsay from the The Scottish Wild Beaver Group said: “This callous approach has already hardened the differences of attitude between conservationists and these farmers in ways that will be hard to undo. An urgent response is needed by the Scottish government to protect these much-loved and beneficial animals and to provide farmers with an incentive to look for a better response to the situation.”

I made that sentence bold because it struck me as particularly artful  in a way that I have come to expect from the Ramsays on this campaign. I’m sure he means it will be every bit as hard to soften the conservationists heart as it will be to reform the farmers. Which is probably true and worth mentioning. I found this final sentence particularly stunning.

Possessing and moving a dead beaver is illegal without a licence in the UK, however, a licence is not required to shoot them.



Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2016Comments Off on Reparations

Feedback from  the lion’s den. Imagine how happy I was to get this from the commissioner who invited me.


Hi Heidi,

 Your presentation was right on – just what the Commission needed to here. I really enjoyed your style and the Point-on photos too. Also appreciated that you often included information from research. Thanks too for the brochure, very helpful, I will put it to good work. … I had a little chuckle when you mentioned that some commissioners were not watching the screen – you could not see it, but each of us has a private monitor directly in front of us on our desk. It mirrors what is shown on the big screen. We can see the presentation much better, especially the details,  when we watch it from our own monitor. J  … I believe you captivated us all.

With deep appreciation for the work you do on behalf of Beavers, and also for coming such a long way to share your knowledge us. You did a fantastic job!

Whooo hoooo! Now this truly makes me happier. And certainly makes me feel like I didn’t waste my time or theirs. I really couldn’t believe they wouldn’t look at all. I’m glad to know they  were able to watch without swivelling. Good then, time for me to get over any hurt feelings and buckle down with Deidre and Leslie to organize the Hundred and twenty items we have for the silent auction today. We have wonderful items grouped by Household, Things to do, Jewelry, Artwork, Apparel, Books and Toys. Some 4500 in value and I’m hoping we generate a nice amount of funds for the mural and festival, You’re gonna help, right?


Saving the water-savers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 25 - 2016Comments Off on Saving the water-savers

Off to the big sky country where beavers are getting some help from the Nature Conservancy.

Volunteers spruce up Tupper’s Lake trail, install beaver deceiver

SEELEY LAKE – A rough trail skirting Tupper’s Lake is becoming a beaten path. The second annual Revive and Thrive event on Sunday drew 40 volunteers and about 200 people celebrating the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project. It’s part of The Nature Conservancy’s $85 million purchase of more than 117,000 acres around Placid Lake and the Gold Creek drainage last year.

For a long time, there were issues with beavers plugging the old culvert, causing water to jump the creek channel and wash out nearby roads. So a new, extended culvert was installed, this one with a water control structure and multiple holes in the culvert.

On Sunday, the volunteers used metal fencing, called calf panels, T-posts and wire to construct a triangle-shaped beaver deceiver surrounding the culvert. Each side is about 14 feet long.

“The idea (with the holes) is the beavers can’t hear the water flowing,” Kloetzel said. “The sound attracts them.”

The hope is that pulling one over on the beavers will raise the lake three feet by this time next year, making it healthier for the cutthroat trout stocked by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“The idea is to let the beavers live in the lake, but they won’t hurt the roads and the culvert,” Kloetzel said. “It’s an extra security measure. Then if they want to dam, they have to go around the entire surface of the cage.”

The beaver deceiver construction also lent itself to jokes, with one volunteer asking if the beavers had been notified and channeling their response:”Well, I’ll be ‘dam’ed …”

No photos of this ‘beaver deceiver’ though, one has to wonder what it looks like  since the reporter can’t tell the difference between a triangle and a trapazoid. Hmm. Or thinks her readers can’t. No discussion of beaver benefits or how this whole project will save wildlife and habitat in the long run. Never mind. It’s Montana for chrissake. We are DELIGHTED they are trying out some coexistence!

I am reposting this because I just realized you can zoom in by double clicking on the image. This is the perfect tool to showcase our heartstopping brochure from generous artist Amelia Hunter.

And this article took my breath away this morning, and I’m going to share it even though its not about beavers. It is about perseverance and tenacity though. Go read it and feel truly inspired.

Why California’s northern coast doesn’t look like Atlantic City

Let me set the scene first.

In the early 1960s, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. planned and began building a power plant at Bodega Head, one of the most jaw-dropping stretches of coast on the planet.

Meanwhile, developers were mapping plans for a monster residential project just north of Jenner at Sea Ranch, where sheep grazed between coastal bluffs and stunning pebble beaches.

“It began with Bodega Head,” Lucy said of the site of the proposed power plant. But it was Sea Ranch “that really got Bill stirred up.”

The Kortum posse set up ironing boards outside grocery stores, spread out their materials and made their case.

I’m not kidding. Go read this and realize how awesome a battle this was/is. Beavers are child’s play by comparison.

Farming Friends and Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 19 - 2016Comments Off on Farming Friends and Beavers

Oh the farmer and the beaver should be friends,
Oh the farmer and the beaver should be friends,
The beaver likes to build his dams
The farmer plants his corn and yams
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

You know I already did a complete rendition of this song for the salmon in 2011, but I guess the beavers have lots of friends, (and don’t it’s not my fault if dam just naturally rhymes with yam, okay?)




Pond and Slower Streams created by Beaver Serve as Nitrogen Sinks

Beavers, once valued for their fur, may soon have more appreciation in the Northeastern United States. There they are helping prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching the area’s vulnerable estuaries. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, they aid in removing nitrogen from the water.

Arthur Gold at the University of Rhode Island, along with his colleagues, studies how the presence of beavers affects nitrogen levels in these waters. “What motivated us initially to study this process was that we were aware of the fact that beaver ponds were increasing across the Northeast,” he said. “We observed in our other studies on nitrogen movement that when a beaver pond was upstream, it would confound our results.

Those darn confounding beavers, ruining Suzanne Fouty’s drought research and Glynnis Hood’s nine year study with their crafty, research ruining ways. Just look at our beavers in Martinez! Confounding their memorial by continuing to exist!

The researchers realized the water retention time and organic matter build up within beavers’ ponds lead to the creation of ideal conditions for nitrogen removal. They then wanted to see how effectively they can do this. The researchers tested the transformative power of the soil by taking sample cores and adding nitrogen to them. These samples, about the size of a large soda bottle, were large enough to incorporate the factors that generate chemical and biological processes that take place in the much larger pond. They were also small enough to be replicated, manageable and measured for numerous changes. Researchers then added a special type of nitrogen to the samples that allowed them to be able to tell if the nitrogen was transformed and how.

Bacteria in the organic matter and soil were able to transform nitrogen, specifically as nitrate, into nitrogen gas, removing it from the system. Thanks to the conditions brought about by the beaver ponds, this process can remove approximately 5-45% of the nitrogen in the water, depending on the pond and amount of nitrogen present.

“I think what was impressive to us was that the rates were so high,” Gold explained. “They were high enough and beavers are becoming common enough, so that when we started to scale up we realized that the ponds can make a notable difference in the amount of nitrate that flows from our streams to our estuaries.

Ahh those rascally beavers, fixing our nitrogen problems and saving our salmon. I’m sure farmers will be rushing to lay down their dynamite and welcome these flat-tailed eco-heroes, right? I won’t hold my breath. It takes a lot of effort on all sides to change hearts and minds about beavers – which we learned first hand in Martinez.

Speaking of which, the drama was apparently a big enough deal (even in Washington) that I’m allowed officially to say it will be recognized by our Congressman at the beaver festival with an award and visit, and some discussing of the slim possibility of adding the Martinez Beavers to the congressional record.

No really.


Beaver splashes

Posted by heidi08 On May - 13 - 20162 COMMENTS

blvHere’s the excellent documentary I was talking about yesterday. Don’t ask how it became possible to share it – just enjoy the ride! The Martinez story starts around 15:30 after a trapper segment – but you’ll be smarter if you watch the whole thing.

Untitled from Heidi Perryman on Vimeo.

Yesterday I spoke to a VERY packed house at Martinez Kiwanis, who were eager to know what was up with the kiwanisbeavers. I gave them the full update and talked about the mural and our very odd summer with Suzi and the unexplained beaver deaths.  Lara Delaney from city council was happy to have the update.  People said afterwards it was one of the best talks they ever had, so I going to assume I did okay. There was a lot of interest in the little Napa segment I added, and people were very surprised to learn how little controversy their arrival had caused in Napatopia as opposed to Martinez.

Unfortunately they mentioned during the meeting they had already voted last week to decide funding allotments for scholarships. So I hope they remembered how much they loved beavers then! The greedy marketer in me would rather Worth A Dam was fresh on their mind when they considered our grant application!

Now my desk is officially cleared and I have no other commitments before Portland. That will give me time to focus on that speech and the mural progress. Mario didn’t work yesterday because he had business in the city, but hopefully well march onward today and tomorrow? I would sure like to have a full bridge before we leave town.

hang in there baby


Nothing succeeds like Beaver Success!

Posted by heidi08 On March - 31 - 2016Comments Off on Nothing succeeds like Beaver Success!

Excellent news from the great Beaver Beyond, where Sarah Koenisberg has been working hard putting the finishing touches on her Beaver Believer Film. I can barely remember years ago when she came to the the festival and filmed the long interview in my backyard. She’s been working nonstop ever since. And supposedly the film is ready to be released on the film festival circuit.

Beyond the Pelt

Washington-based filmmaker Sarah Koenigsberg was getting tired of all the apocalyptic doom-and-gloom climate change stories floating around the media circuit when she happened upon an unlikely glimmer of hope: beavers. After filming these ecosystem engineers for her own feature-length documentary, “The Beaver Believers,” she helped the Trust produce a short film showcasing three success stories of how the return of beavers has transformed public lands across the West. Here, we talk to Sarah about beavers, activism, and catching the slippery critters on camera.

Most people know beavers build dams, but how do they help address climate change?

Beaver dams create ponds and wetlands that collect precipitation, letting it sink slowly into the ground instead of rushing straight out to the ocean. In the arid Southwest, this water storage is incredibly valuable, as it recharges the aquifer and holds water underground until it can slowly trickle back into our streams. Local wildlife, spawning fish, and migrating birds also thrive in the pockets of diverse habitat that beavers help build. The list goes on!

What is next in the queue?

I’m in the final stages of post-production on my film “The Beaver Believers,” which is really exciting. I had something like 70 hours of footage shot over two years for this 50-minute film. You can learn more about that project and watch our trailer at We’ll begin entering it into film festivals this spring!

Martinefilmingz is part of those 70 hours and I’m hoping something of us made it past the cutting room floor!  I know that she included part of Mark Comstock’s beaver ballad because she wrote once that she had gotten it stuck in her head after editing footage with it again and again. Gosh, that seems like a long time ago. In 2013 we had three kits and one yearling from our new mom who had been around just over a year.

I remember that thursdmore filming - Copyay, they drove here after filming Suzanne Fouty  and Carole Evans in Nevada. I spoke at Kiwanis that day and came home to be interviewed Heidi Interviewfor another 7 hours before having them to dinner. Friday was the usual insane packing for the festival and I barely saw anyone at the event because we were all working so hard. They headed off in their movie-making horse trailer that evening. To hit the next target for inclusion.

And now the film is getting finishing touches and then shipping out. Go read the whole thing and learn how and why Sarah does what she does. I wonder if it is headed for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada where Ian’s went. It would be fun to have them close to home and start a whole beaver genre to that event!

The Beaver Believers Kickstarter Trailer from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.

Yesterday, we heard the exciting news that Jeremy Fish’s amazing artwork was finished after being temporarily matted by founding member of the Martinez Arts Association  Cathy Riggs of “I’ve been Framed” downtown. She didn’t charge us a penny but clearly spent hours on it, using contrasting mats to pick up the colors.  I sent the photo to Mr. Fish who was very impressed. I know it will be a hot item at the auction, and you’ll probably want to come bid on it yourself. Thanks so much Cathy!