Archive for the ‘stupid solutions’ Category

Beaver ignorance never really goes out of style!

Posted by heidi08 On July - 17 - 20172 COMMENTS

Oh good! Smart people are still being head-smackingly stupid about beavers! Thank goodness! I thought I was out of a job for a while there. It’s good to know our services are still needed.

Let’s start where we always start, shall we? In Saskatchewan.

Meewasin starts work on trail through the Northeast Swale

Work began Thursday on building a 2.2-kilometre trail network through the swale that is intended to both accommodate those who want to enjoy the area just north of the Silverspring and Evergreen neighbourhoods and discourage those who misuse the area.

The trail system will include six nodes that will feature benches, garbage cans and interpretive panels. The trail is being built along a three-metre-wide swath that has already been disturbed by human activity. “What we’re trying to create here is an access to the swale, which has significant ecological value,” Otterbein said in an interview at the swale Friday.

A beaver has built a home in the wet pond and some endangered northern leopard frogs have also been spotted in the pond, Otterbein said. Meewasin also plans to install wildlife-friendly fencing along the swale’s edge next to the developing Aspen Ridge neighbourhood.

I’m told a ‘swale’ is a marshy or hollow place between ridges. I couldn’t tell when I read this article whether they were thinking about protecting the sensitive frogs from the beavers or protecting the neibourhood from the beavers, but I’m sure curious what “wildlife-friendly fencing” looks like in Saskatchewan, where they actually had a beaver kill contest just last year.

I’m guessing that they were heavily informed by the thoughtful outdoor chronicle “Mountain men” which profiles a forlorn trapper who can’t kill many beavers because there’s not enough WATER. No kidding.

Lack of water gives Tom beaver problems on Mountain Men

This week on Mountain Men, Tom is having trouble with his beaver traps due to a lack of water.

Beavers are creatures of habit and the key to success when trapping them is usually the location. Traps can be set along the beaver dam, where they tend to run across the path over the dam often. You can also place one between two ponds the beavers are using or any path they use frequently.

The lack water means that not only can Tom not get his boat into the traps, but the traps are also exposed and any twigs covering them are now gone. This makes it highly unlikely he’s going to have any luck whilst the water levels are so low.The lack water means that not only can Tom not get his boat into the traps, but the traps are also exposed and any twigs covering them are now gone. This makes it highly unlikely he’s going to have any luck whilst the water levels are so low.

Ohh no! Poor Tom! Not only is the water level too low to trap beavers but the unfortunate man is too frickin stupid to live! Saying the water level is too low to catch beavers is like saying there’s no time to gain weight because you’re too busy eating, or your prisons are too empty because the city has too many police, or the federal government is working so hard we can’t afford health care.

Here, Tom, I have an idea. Stop killing beavers for a nanosecond. Let them make their dams and raise the water level and recharge the aquifer, and then you’ll be able to trap lots of things that live IN the water, like otter and mink and things that drink the water like moose and fox, and the beaver will save your sons!  Buy them each a copy of this novel, will you? And then we’ll talk.


More grrs for Vermont where they have been struggling mightily to justify extending the otter trapping season for another month, and foolishly agreed to listen to the public on the issue. They have been getting millions of emails from folks who say angrily that “otters are innocent” and they shouldn’t be killed for their fur.

Obviously beavers are NOT innocent, that goes without saying, and their trapping season lasts a month longer so it’s woefully inconvenient for trappers to have to modify their beaver killing machines so that otters pass through safely and for wardens to actually check and see the difference. The easier adjustment would be to make the seasons the same – plus you can depredate beaver any ole time of year if they’re causing a problem.

Note no one is suggesting LOWERING the beaver trapping season to make them the same and save on paperwork. I  wonder why?

A Vermont legislative committee has postponed a decision on a proposal to lengthen the otter trapping season. This postponement, voted on last week, adds another chapter to a long and vigorous public debate.

“It’s a highly contentious issue,” said Brenna Galdenzi, president and founder of animal advocacy group Protect Our Wildlife. In a phone interview following the hearing, she said, “Whenever there’s an issue of trapping, it really gets people active and speaking out. It really gets people going.”

“We’ve received hundreds and hundreds of emails,” Catherine Gjessing, general counsel for the state Fish and Wildlife Department, said in a phone interview. The department provides staffing and scientific recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Board when it considers changing hunting, fishing or trapping regulations.

 Kimberly Royar, a state furbearer biologist, said that public sentiment toward trapping sometimes focuses on sympathy with individual animals at the expense of considering how best to manage an entire species.

Beaver and otter are caught using the same traps, but otter season ends at the end of February and beaver season ends March 31. This means trappers going after beaver in March are required to modify the trigger mechanisms in their traps to allow otter to pass through unscathed.

Gjessing and Royar identified two primary reasons the department supports P-1704, both related to different end dates of the otter and beaver seasons. First, they said the department has heard reports from trappers that the modified traps used in March sometimes simply pin beaver until they drown instead of breaking their necks, leading to inhumane kills. Extending otter season would remove the requirement that trappers use the modified trigger mechanism.

“It’s not a matter of increasing the otter take,” Royar said. “It’s allowing trappers to utilize the otter that are taken during that expanded beaver season. That’s really the goal of this.”

Oh, those tender-hearted trappers! Did you catch they are ONLY asking for that extra month for the poor beavers who drown to death in the modified traps. Goodness those trappers are sensitive souls, (and if you wonder how sensitive go read the comment section of the article).

As I said, no one minds about killing beavers, but if we could just change the rules about how often we can kill otters we can reduce the suffering of those poor pests. Because otters are INNOCENT!


Beavers swim, who knew?

Posted by heidi08 On July - 13 - 2017Comments Off on Beavers swim, who knew?

All of the UK is scratching their heads this morning and tsking at the news that a mother and kits has been suddenly ‘discovered’ in Beauly Scotland. This is miles away from the Tay or Knapdale, nearest the town of Inverness. At the moment they are exclaiming the beavers were “illegally released” because obviously there’s a beaver bandit of sorts who is running around the countryside stashing beavers were they aren’t wanted.

I mean the dumb animals couldn’t it be doing it themselves, right?

Row over illegal beaver family found near Beauly

Trees for Life said a mother and at least two kits have been observed on a river near Beauly. It has asked that the mammals be allowed to remain where they are or be relocated.

The government has instructed that the beavers be trapped and then kept in captivity. Trees for Life believes the animals have been in the area for at least five years. The presence of beavers has been found previously in the Highlands.

In 2008, one was found dead on a beach at Eathie on the Black Isle after suffering what police described as a “cruel” death after ingesting a large quantity of sea water.

Pohqdefaultlice suspected the animal was linked to illegal releases of beavers in other parts of Scotland.

It’s horrifying to imagine that they would try and trap a mother and kits so early in the summer when they’re obviously young. And more horrifying to think they could capture part of the family and leave a kit or two behind.  This story is literally an hour old as I type this and I can imagine there’s going to be a major ‘call to arms’ on both sides soon. The town of Beauly is over 100 miles away from the River Tay and it’s not like beavers could have travelled up the Tay to the Tummel to the  Garry up, walked over land a few miles and swam up Beauly Firth, because beavers NEVER do that right?

This seems like a good time to remind our readers that Dietland Mueler-Swarze observed in his book on behavior of the animals that beavers can disperse long distance over land and water. In fact he specifically reported on Castor Fiber:

CaptureThat pesky beaver bandit has so much to answer for.

Meanwhile,  here in sunny California the county recorders office contacted me yesterday because they wanted to make a children’s activity book to make sure their services are more visible and of COURSE wanted to pick the best possible mascot for their story. I’m sure you can guess already what animal they picked.

Remember, that the original beaver habitat was right next to then new county recorders building, and its previous head (Steve Weir) was a huge beaver protector. Workers would visit the beavers every morning before they came to the office, or tell us if there were new things in the creek, and they were the one to photograph that turtle laying eggs on the bank. Its second story windows was famously crowded with eager secretaries watching the shirtless Skip Lisle installing the flow device back in 2008.Long, long ago, when Gavin Newsome originally made gay marriage legal for a split second in California, Steve and his partner were famously married IN beaver park. I wrote about the huge historic event in one of my favorite posts back in 2008.

Let’s just say beavers and the county recorders office go WAY back.

So it seemed wholly appropriate for them to want to ‘launch’ their activity book at the beaver festival, and we found them just the right spot. I was given a preview of the book yesterday and because I’m very bad at keeping secrets I’m going to share my two favorite pages with you. Shhh

CCCIn addition to being darn adorable, I’m pretty sure  this is exhibit ‘A’ about the beavers’ civic importance when we have to go to court to protect the NEXT beavers that settle in Alhambra Creek. :-)

From the beaver sublime to the beaver ridiculous

Posted by heidi08 On July - 6 - 2017Comments Off on From the beaver sublime to the beaver ridiculous

Some days are just huge demonstrations of that fact that beaver knowledge isn’t evenly distributed.Take today for instance where there is a wonderful article about doing a beaver installation in Alberta, juxtaposed with an stunningly ignorant article about beavers chasing fleeing motorcycle-riding trappers by leaping on their pogo-stick tail.

No. I’m serious.

Keep in mind that it’s summer and beaver parents are protecting their new kits by getting rid of anyone that doesn’t belong there. Meanwhile, dog walkers let their hot pooches take a swim, (and to be perfectly honest yearlings are probably in a fowl mood anyway because they are just realizing they aren’t the baby anymore). July and June are the time of year we read frantic articles about beavers attacking dogs. And no one seems to get that the assault pattern is seasonal.

Canada’s beaver problem

Not expecting to get chased by a beaver that he claims had aerial capabilities, Donnie Springer once set out to hunt a moose. He drove a three-wheel dirt bike in front of his father-in-law, around Devil’s Lake, Man., but soon realized his father-in-law was missing. Springer turned back, and found the man speeding away from a bucktooth terror. The beaver then turned on Springer.

The beaver first chased him using its typical method of running on its legs. However, Springer was riding at about 25km/hr, he recalls of an incident around the year 2000. For the beaver to catch up, Springer claims it deployed its tail as a spring. “It would sit on its tail, and it would go shooting itself about 10 feet in the air,” he says. “It would use its tail to propel itself … he was just a givin’ ‘er”

There is a perception in several parts of Canada that beavers are invading. In June, CTV reported that the city of Edmonton put up signs warning dog owners about dangerous beavers after several beaver attacks on pets, and the Winnipeg Free Press reported recently beavers “wreaking havoc in parts of Manitoba on a scale not seen in a lifetime.” Saskatchewan inaugurated a controversial beaver-hunting derby last spring, which reaped 589 kills, and some municipalities have introduced bounties. Farmers continue to bereave the flooding of fields; drivers, of roads, and cottagers, the loss of their favourite trees. The population is in fact surging, and the species even became a recent fascination of genome researchers.

What to say when an article uses the ‘springing beaver’ accusation as a story’s lead? The mind reals, the jaw drops. It’s not the first time I’ve read these allegations from a Canadian trapper either. Do you think they watched too many ‘Tigger’ cartoons as youngsters? There was a story about Yellow Knife that had a trapper accusing them of lunging forth by bouncing on their tails. Maybe it’s a collective hallucination?

What I will say is that Moses did tell me one night while filming he saw what looked like a beaver fight, and see what appeared to be a beaver lunge on it’s tail. He was so surprised he didn’t get footage, so he has no proof and isn’t always the most reliable reporter so who knows? When I was 11 I was certain if you said ‘bloody mary’ over and over at a pajama party she would appear in the bathroom mirror. And I saw it twice!

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that beaver male leap on his tail
    And bounce after Sam McGee

Ahh, my apologies to Robert, but you knew it had to be done. Now that it’s on your mind, go read that poem again, it’s such a fun tale, er tail!

Thank goodness for this other story in the morning, which is every bit as wise as the former was stupid,  proving that the entire country has not all lost it’s collective minds.

Michichi boardwalk project approved

As a new way to engage people into real-time educational experiences, the Michichi boardwalk has now been approved. The three-phase project is set to begin in late fall with construction of the boardwalk to be closely monitored as not to disrupt too much of the surrounding environment.
    “We’re going to have a bit of frost in the ground and that’s going to help a lot with the equipment going in and making ruts and stuff like that,” said Starland County Agricultural Fieldman Dara Kudras.
    “There will be some damage but that is the price we have to pay to get this boardwalk in there.”
    They have hired a company that has smaller equipment to cause a tinier carbon footprint.
    “What we are aiming for is minimal disturbance just because it is a sensitive area,” said Kudras.
    The project has three phases to smoothly add the boardwalk into the region as well as create a healthy riparian monitoring program and pond leveller. 
    The beaver dam which is built every year, is located where the spillway is. By springtime, the water level becomes too high causing the dam to break and the water to drain.
    “If the beavers weren’t there building that dam, then all the water goes out and there is no habitat area,” said Kudras.     A pond leveLler is a large plastic tube that is put through the middle of the dam where a cage is placed on one end of the tube.
    “It’s so the water can go through and the dam won’t blow out and the beavers won’t have to build so high either,” said Kudras. “It will allow water to go through without wrecking the dam.”
    Instinctively, if the dam does happen to break, beavers will find trees to repair and rebuild. Instead of allowing them to take out new trees in the area, Kudras and her team have been gathering other already fallen branches or vegetation for the beavers to use.    

“That’s part of the coexistence part of it that we want to be able to grow trees there and keep beavers happy at the same time,” said Kudras.

$12,000 of the grant is going towards signage along the boardwalk to help explain the usage of the pond leveller and other interesting facts about the riparian area and what it has to offer. Different types of birds and other animals will be on the signs as well. Of the total budget, the largest cost of $80,000 will be going towards the actual construction of the boardwalk.
    A 20-foot by 16-foot viewing deck area with seating and a gazebo close to the dam will be a special addition to the boardwalk with the possibility of up to two bridges depending on the budget.
    “If local craftsman or local schools want to come and a have like a wetland field day and learn about the ecosystem in the area and stuff like that, then they can come out and use that,” said Kudras. “We’re just trying to make it really accessible for everybody.”
    Starland County is putting $32,000 forward as the lead administrator and will be partnering up with the current landowner of the area as well as Cows & Fish and the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance.
    After the project is finished, an established riparian monitoring program will be put in place, a pond leveller will be constructed and implemented, and the half kilometer long boardwalk will be complete.
 A grand opening is expected to happen shortly after everything is in place.  Kudras plans to increase awareness and get help from local farmers to build up drought and flood resilience.
    “This project is a cornerstone going into the future with the rest of the watershed resilience restoration program,” said Kurdas.

Have you hugged Cows and Fish this morning? I think I might name my firstborn after Mr. Kurdras. This is just such a smartly designed and coordinated project. I can’t think of anywhere better to spend an early morning than on their finished boardwalk watching beavers that have had trees planted for them to do their work. And a trail with interpretive signs explaining what everyone is seeing. This is fantastic! Maybe you want to use this?

BeaverPosterFinal_revisedA final note comes from Napa where Rusty says that he met up with Brock, Kate and Ben on a field trip to visit some urban beavers. Rusty invited county supervisor Brad Wagenecht to join them and they all hung out for a bit with our Napatopia beavers. Maybe the wine country beavers will even make it into the book?