Archive for the ‘Friends of Martinez Beavers’ Category

Message Delivery

Posted by heidi08 On February - 27 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Indiana University researcher reports that isolated wetlands matter a great deal – just not the things that make and maintain them.

Isolated wetlands have significant impact on water quality

Geographically isolated wetlands play an outsized role in providing clean water and other environmental benefits even though they may lack the regulatory protections of other wetlands, according to an article by Indiana University researchers and colleagues.

 Given those benefits, the authors argue, decision-makers should assume that isolated wetlands are critical for protecting aquatic systems, and the burden of proof should be on those who argue on a case-by-case basis that individual wetlands need not be protected.

 ”Geographically isolated wetlands provide important benefits such as sediment and carbon retention, nutrient transformation and water-quality improvement, all of which are critical for maintaining water quality,” said lead author John M. Marton, assistant scientist at the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “We demonstrate that continued loss of these wetlands would likely cause serious harm to North American waters.”

 Yes it’s true, wetlands are really important, especially when they’re in unconnected areas that aren’t attached to other wetlands.  Our top notch researchers think they’re so important that people should be prevented from ripping out those wetlands. And the government should play a roll in making them.

We don’t have the foggiest idea of how those wetlands get there, but we know they’re important.

Yes, webs are important but spiders don’t matter at all, nests are invaluable but we aren’t sure what makes them. and eggs are vital but who cares about chickens?


Oh alright, maybe you’re getting the football very close to the end zone and it’s up to some other researcher or environmental attorney to get it over the line. Certainly this lays a certain foundation. And I would know JUST where to look for argument if I were trying to save beaver in Indiana.

Citing research literature, the authors say geographically isolated wetlands are highly effective “biogeochemical reactors” that improve water quality. They often retain water longer than protected waters, such as streams and wetlands that are directly connected to navigable water. And they have a higher ratio of perimeter to area, allowing more opportunities for reactions to take place.


This morning a quick update from beaver friend Lisa Owens Viani, the founder of RATS, who guest posted this article on 10,000 birds. Apparently the raptor-killing fiends of the world have come up with the excellent idea to name their new rat poison “HAWK”, because you know, hawks kill rats too, get it?

22Hawk.22-2-400x280It takes a lot of nerve—or something that can’t be printed here—to name your rat poison after the animals that so effectively and efficiently control rodents but that are also being poisoned—as “non target” animals—by your product. The label on Motomco/Bell Lab’s rodenticide “Hawk” even sports a drawing of a hawk getting ready to pounce. But “Hawk”’s active ingredient, a deadly second-generation anticoagulant, bromadialone, has been implicated in the deaths of Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and other raptors: American Kestrels, Barn Owls, Golden Eagles, Great Horned Owls, and Turkey Vultures. These birds are being poisoned after eating rodents that have been poisoned by products like “Hawk.”

You can read the entire article here. I told Lisa not to worry because this was such a tone deaf marketing decision they could easily turn it to their advantage. Instead of writing outraged letters or presenting them with a cease and desist letter. send the most flowery thank you card you can find, and say how much you appreciate their help in  linking rat poison to hawks, reminding every single buyer who the real victims of their products are. That kind of branding is invaluable. It’s hard work doing it yourself and billboards are very expensive.

Ask when their similar products of OWL or BOBCAT will go on the market, and say you appreciate their help in this matter. If you thank them sincerely enough, I said, that label will disappear.


Great people do great things for beavers!

Posted by heidi08 On February - 10 - 2015Comments Off


Need something beavery to do tomorrow morning? There’s still time to sign up for Joe Wheaton’s webinar on Beavers and Climate Change. Offered in combination with the Grand Canyon Trust and Utah State University, you know I’ll be there and it will be a dam good time!

Beaver and Climate Change: Free Webinar

They are the West’s most savvy water engineers. Here on the Colorado Plateau, ground zero for climate change, we humans have a lot to learn from these furry creatures.

What Can Beaver Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change and Building More Resilient Systems?

FREE WEBINAR February 11, 2015 10 -11 a.m. MST

 Utah State University fluvial geomorphologist Joe Wheaton studies rivers and the changes we humans – and beaver – bring to them. Joe and his colleagues observe, map, and document what happens when rivers are fortunate enough to have beaver, both here in the West and around the world.

 In this 1-hour webinar, Joe will share what he and others are learning from beaver, explain where and how their dams interact with climate change, and take your questions.

Go here to register, and pass it on!

Now it’s time for our awed thanks to our Martinez resident talent Amelia Hunter who has outdone herself yet again on the poster image for the 8th beaver festival. I don’t know  about you but that might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Note mom’s tail. This is the first painted image of a beaver getting a tail ride on the entire internet. I’m expecting it to inspire a Canadian coin design next year.

 2015 oval

Original artwork by Amelia Hunter
New festival

Immitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery

Posted by heidi08 On February - 6 - 2015Comments Off

9008_638290099610159_4507292353550062419_nThe otter folk are having a welcome back party and silent auction. I know because one of their offerings will be a beaver safari proved by yours truly. They posted this announcement the other day, which was prepared for Barry Deutsch and Lori Wynn formerly of  the top notch SF design firm Deutsch Design Works. I loved the brilliant idea of using the silhouettes as negative space, but sadly no SF graphics firm was around to help.. So I sat down with my inadequate skills and tools and tried to see what I could accomplish.

Since I don’t have photo shop I have to get buy with three inadequate programs, with which I can only make one thing transparent, not both the figure and the ground. The finished product has more white than I wish, but it came out alright. Now I am totally addicted to this and can’t seem to stop myself. As you can see the possibilities are endless.

 bwetlandsBsalmonBstreams The inspiration for all this is the Otter event which promises to be great fun, attracting the very best sorts of people. You should really go. And when you do stop by and say thank you again!

Making beavers count

Posted by heidi08 On January - 25 - 20151 COMMENT

We’ve talked before about the hero from Pocatello that managed to get Audubon to provide a grant for a beaver count in the habitat in Idaho. Mike Settell is a friend of this  website and pulled off his own musical beaver festival last summer (the dam jam!). Now he’s in the news again, training volunteers for a snowy beaver count.


Locals Prepare for Beaver Count

 Watershed Guardians began training Saturday for their fourth annual Beaver Count.  The Beaver Count is a free winter event where teams snowshoe, ski or hike through various drainages in the Portneuf Watershed to count Beaver activity.

 KPVI News Six met with them on Saturday up at Mink Creek to learn more about their role in Beaver sustainability.  Members from the Watershed Guardians prepared lunch in a yurt for volunteers coming back from training for the 4th annual Beaver Count.

 The training was held at Mink Creek’s Nordic Center. 

While the volunteers trained, they learned about the Beaver’s role in a healthy watershed and the current state of the Beaver in Idaho.  Watershed Guardian volunteer Joan Bernt says training the volunteers is essential for the Beaver Count.

 “The other thing is, is we want to make sure that people realize what they are looking for when they are looking for an active beaver colony. Just because they see a dam, that doesn’t mean that’s an active live Beaver maintaining that dam,” says volunteer, Joan Bernt.

 The Beaver Count consists of teams surveying different zones in the area where they will be looking for Beaver activity such as fresh cuts where beaver have chewed on trees, Beaver tracks in the snow and Beaver dams and lodges.

Hooray for Mike and the Watershed Guardians! And congratulations for luring the good folks of Idaho into the snow to appreciate beavers! It’s wonderful to think of folks learning how to keep an eye on the beavers around them and hearing why they matter.  I espsecially love the part where the article emphasizes the event is FREE. It reminds me a little of Tom Sawyer or P.T. Barnum.

This way to the Egress.

Great job fanning the beaver flame, and I’m thrilled the reporter added this at the end.

Mike Settell says the data collected from the Beaver Count will be presented at ‘State of the Beaver’ conference in Canyonville Oregon in February.

I can’t wait! See you there, Mike! And good work reminding people why to care about beavers!

Now on to Beaver appreciation in New Hampshire where a trip in the snow reminds folks that beavers are under the ice.

A trip to beaver lodges

HOLDERNESS, N.H. —One of the benefits of all this rain and cold weather is that it has allowed us to do some ice skating and exploring on our local bogs and ponds in the region.

Recently, we went on a beaver lodge tour of Hawkens Pond in Center Harbor and Holderness and were able to admire up close these houses made of sticks and mud. At the very top of the lodge you could see the chimney of sorts. Rime ice was collecting, indicating something warm inside was exhaling into the atmosphere

Their presence is a good indicator of a healthy habitat. Beaver flowages are important habitat for many other species including great blue herons, osprey, kingfisher, mink, otter and muskrat.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s beaver appreciation in Arizona, Idaho and New Hampshire in the past two days. Not to mention the usual defenders in Washington and New York. I’m thinking its past time we adopt Dean’s “50 State Strategy”.

stencilTime to congratulate my brilliant husband and beaver man-Friday who undertook the impossible task of cutting out a stencil so we could spray paint our keystone tails. My brain couldn’t even imagine the task of cutting away the shapes you wanted to remain but he boldly finished a design and knocked of 25 of these.

Just 125 more to go!

One of the final benefits of shining the beaver light so steadily and strong for so many years is that there is now an international army of folks keeping watch for beaver treasures around the world. Peter Smith of Kent England posted this find this morning, which I promise will make you smile. Enjoy!

Beaver Pioneers

Posted by heidi08 On January - 21 - 2015Comments Off

Nice find this morning from Rickipedia who came across this article from 1983 showing that human settlements were chosen because of beaver landscaping. I would follow where the beaver colonized, wouldn’t you? They proposed that beaver were essential in determining not only water course, but deforestation that allowed both farming and rancing to begin. Read full article here:

Homo sapiens or Castor fiber?

This article shows how environmental evidence for European stone age fore st clearance may require  re-interpretation, and that change need not be attributed only to climate or man. Observations in North America and Europe show the beaver to be a significant agent of land transformation. The authors suggest that both hunters and farmers took advantage of the opportunities thus presented, and a few hints are provided about their detection and the implications for the Mesolithic and early Neolithic of north-western Europe. 


Now something really delightful to mark your day. I just wish we were all invited to the party of Mr. Knuckles. But who knows? What do you think they’ll do with this invention after the party’s over? How about a tax deductible donation to a certain beaver festival?

Stars, indie films and a mechanical beaver: What to watch for at the Sundance Film Festival

And Canadian coat company Moose Knuckles is hosting a party where guests are invited to ride a mechanical beaver. (If that doesn’t scream photo op…)mb-001Ooh, Scary.

A final word of welcome to stalwart beaver hero Rusty Cohn from Napa who generously volunteered to learn in the following weeks how to post photos and articles on the website to take over for me during the conference, when I’ll be sans wifi.  It’s harder than you might think to do this every morning, but Rusty has some great stuff to share and I know you’ll be in good hands. Just giving you a heads up in case he decides to start practicing any time soon.

Thanks Rusty!

Rally and Defend

Posted by heidi08 On January - 4 - 2015Comments Off

 ”Race against time” to raise £20,000 needed to secure beaver family’s future on River Otter

AFTER staggering £30,000 was raised in three weeks, a leading conservation charity is appealing for help to raise the remaining £20,000 needed to secure the future of a family of River Otter wild beavers.

 A public meeting has been arranged by Natural England in Ottery St Mary this month and public support has been dubbed “vital” in securing their return to the river banks near the town. Backed by East Devon MP Hugo Swire, the Devon Wildlife Trust applied for a licence from Natural England for their re-release in October.

 The licence would give the charity permission to set up a five year monitoring project called the River Otter Beaver Trial.  The project will oversee the population, range and health of the beavers and the effect they have on the local landscape and people.

 It will focus on the beavers’ impact on wildlife, vegetation, water flow, water quality, communities and infrastructure. But it will cost around £50,000.

Devon is leaping into action to save its beavers, and I couldn’t be happier. As I am that beaver instigator Derek Gow will be coming with Paul and Louise Ramsay to the State of The Beaver Conference! We might even lure them over for a barbecue when its all finished.

Let it be clearly said that it all started with the farmer who had the foresight to let an environmentalist install a night cam. None of this would have been possible without that. People care about what they can see. And the media never does anything without a good photo. These were the very best beaver photos in 5 centuries. Think about that.

 We have had a number of donations, some as large as several thousand pounds, and this shows the depth of feeling out there.

 “But we now have a race against time to secure the remaining amount to ensure a viable longer term project and enhance the chances of the beavers having a longer term future on the River Otter.”

 The public meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 14, at 6.30pm, Ottery St Mary Scout Centre on Winters Lane.

 You can add to their donations here:

the countryside of my ancestors, and I hope that meeting is even more crowded than the first. But in my head – from a strictly pragmatic view – it has been wonderful for beavers everywhere that DEFRA has been such monstrous idiots about this whole process. I have loved reading people extol beaver benefits from  all over Europe and even Australia. Having something to prove has been amazing for the beaver public image. I’ll almost be sorry to see it go.


I’m looking forward to what happens next. In the mean time, I spent yesterday working on adding a Napa section to my urban beaver talk for Oregon. Rusty Cohn was kind enough to give me great photos and I think it shows elegantly the vibrant effect of beavers on a neglected city creek.


 lodge with cars




Mendenhall of Fame

Posted by heidi08 On December - 20 - 2014Comments Off

I first became aware of Bob Armstrong of Juneau, Alaska when I read about his ‘beaver team’ back in 2008. He was using volunteers to wipe out the troublesome beaver dams that flooded the trails at the state park so the beavers wouldn’t need to be trapped. (Very frustrated but lucky beavers!) I was able to introduce Bob to Mike and he was able to get the rangers to pay for him to come out and do a complete assessment of the situation. Along the way Bob and his colleague Mary Wilson published a beautiful book of the Mendenhall Glacier Beavers, which he was kind enough to donate to the auction at the festival many times.

Suffice to say that because of Mike’s advice Bob’s beaver team finally got a break, the trails were protected and those hard working beavers finally got to have a dam. Lory actually met Bob when she went to Alaska and we’ve been in touch all along. Yesterday he sent me word that his book was going up online as a pdf and sent me the link. You can imagine how excited I was to hear it! I put a  permanent link on the left margin but you should really go check it out now.

Screen shot 2014-12-19 at 3.08.14 PM

Click to view

We were eager to study all the details like what the beavers ate and how they lived. I love his photo of the beaver dam at the glacier so much it has been my screen saver for 5 years, and I don’t think I will part with it ever. It looks to me like those beavers know even when things are hard that with a little effort anything is possible.


Mendenhall Glaciar Beaver Dam – Bob Armstrong

He also has been working with an underwater cam and recently found the perfect spot to install it. This is a beaver entering the lodge under the ice. Just think how lucky our beavers are!

Beaver Entering Lodge Under the Ice from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.