Napa Beavers forget they are nocturnal for a while

   Posted by Rusty Cohn On February - 21 - 20151 COMMENT

Being new to watching Beavers Robin, Hank and I had no clue that we were being treated to special viewing opportunities during daylight hours, and to top it off two kits were born.


Beavers diets vary as the seasons change but cattail roots seem to be popular


Beaver eating Duck Weed which is high in protein. More than soybeans.

Parent and kit eating branches

Beaver eating branch a little too casually.

The main dam Feb 10th after the 2nd big storm


The main dam Feb 17th (with Reed’s Help?)


Napa Beaver pond gets noticed

   Posted by Rusty Cohn On February - 20 - 2015Comments Off

After the Napa Valley Register story the Beaver pond began to have more visitors. From a county supervisor to grandparents bringing their grand kids to see the dam, lodge, and hopefully the beavers.


Speaking of grand kids I took this photo May 20th of a beaver but had no idea that it was something special.

beaver swimming cropped

The first couple of months after finding the Beaver pond were a very special time. The weather was good, the Beavers were very active, I met new Beaver friends Robin and Hank. Robin was responsible for getting the information on Beaver depredation permits in California and helping to sort out the data so it could be analyzed and Hank is a local Wildlife photographer. For some reason the usually nocturnal Beavers came out an hour or so before sunset during that time and made viewing quite easy.IMG_0558

A typical trip to the pond would have the three of us waiting near the lodge to wait for the Beavers to swim upstream. While waiting for the evenings Beaver action we began to notice some of the other wildlife.

Native Western Pond Turtle IMG_0129

Black Crowned Night Heron black crowned night heron eating

Green Heron                             IMG_1075

Great Heron                              IMG_1118


Mink                                           IMG_1324_1_1





Napa Beavers get better known

   Posted by Rusty Cohn On February - 19 - 2015Comments Off

After discovering the Beaver  dam, lodge and their pond and then the excitement of seeing a beaver for the first time I began to worry about the future of this Beaver oasis. While I was exploring the Beaver pond along it’s approximately 1/2 mile length along Tulocay creek I noticed dump trucks dropping off dirt at the vacant lot next to the Beaver pond. Checking around I found there is a 4 story 90 unit hotel being developed on the vacant lot, and became concerned that it would harm them.


After making contact with Worth a Dam Heidi suggested publicity is one of the keys to protecting beavers. I contacted the local papers in mid May 2014 and quickly a reporter decided to do a story about the Napa Beaver Dam one mile from downtown. Me with my vast less than 7 days of experience (I saw my first Beaver on May 11th) was to meet the reporter at the Beaver Dam. Somewhat in a panic  I called a few local County Employees on very short notice and was lucky enough to have Shaune Horn who is a Watershed and Flood Control Resource Specialist with the Napa County Flood Control & Water Conservation District agree to meet Howard Yune from The Napa Valley Register and me  on less than a day’s notice on May 15th. Heidi also agreed to talk to Howard about Beavers via phone, and fortunately Shaune had some experience with Napa County Beavers over the past few years and is concerned about Beaver welfare along with wildlife in general.

Howard on left and Shaune with cap on right

On May 18th the story was published in the local paper The Napa Valley Register and made the front page.


Introduction to one of the Napa Beaver believers

   Posted by Rusty Cohn On February - 18 - 2015Comments Off

chewed treesHello. My name is Rusty Cohn and my first introduction to Beavers was May 9th 2014. I was out on my daily walk in Napa, Ca crossing a bridge when I saw fallen trees that had been chewed on.

I had never seen a Beaver but knew enough to know this must be the work of one. The spot is on a very busy 4 lane road one mile from downtown Napa and the traffic was busy that day so I didn’t try to investigate on the other side of the road.  I walk by this site almost daily, but the traffic is typically heavy so it took me a few days to cross over the highway and investigate on the upstream side of the bridge.



P1010856 I was excited to discover a beautiful Beaver dam. It is located between the parking lot of a major hotel and a vacant lot being prepared for another hotel of all places.







P1010864Walking upstream I discovered the Beavers had built their own hotel (lodge).






















On May 11th I saw my first Beaver and became fascinated. I wanted to learn more about Beavers so I searched the internet for information and hit the gold mine. No points for guessing who it was.






For a couple of months the Beavers seemed to come out well before night fall and I didn’t realize at the time how lucky this was for viewing. To be continued.

This is Ripley, signing off.

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 17 - 2015Comments Off

If you’re hungry for one last beaver article before I go, read this about how they’re going to catch and test the Devon beavers ‘imminently” Not sure what that means since they’ve been going to catch and test them for the past 8 months and nothing happened.  But I’m sure it will work this time.

 River Otter beavers due to be captured and tested for rare parasite imminently

 In the “remote” chance any of the 10-strong family test positive, the individuals will be humanely euthanised.

 At the same time, the beavers will be micro-chipped in their rumps, and tagged ready for a pioneering monitoring project upon their release by the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The charity has hailed the decision by the Government’s advisory body for the environment, Natural England to grant them a five-year licence to monitor the beavers as a “key moment in the history of modern conservation”.

10-strong? That’s news to us isn’t it? Good luck little beavers, and Godspeed. I guess this is a kind of victory, but captured, tested, quarantined  and tagged is a little onerous. It’s like the victory of being sent to the work camps instead of the death camps. It’s a start, but I don’t envy those beaver pioneers. I’m sure I’ll get all the gossip when I meat Derek Gow at the conference.OT-Oregon Trail MarkerIt’s showtime! We hit the road this morning and are Beaver-conference bound! I’ll leave you in Rusty Cohn’s capable hands and I’m sure there will be lots of exciting updates and photos about those Napa Beavers in Tulocay Creek. Be nice to him and say welcome aboard, because this is harder than it looks – or more accurately, every bit as hard as I usually make it look!

I will be off the internet grid and immersed in everything new there is to learn about beavers. Here’s the agenda in case you want to follow along. Jon and I are staying at a house on the Umpqua River belonging to a friend of the conference organizer (Leonard Houston) who works with him for the local volunteer fire department. Think of me here:

i'll be here facing this

And bright and early tomorrow going here:

gatheringI’ll make sure to take plenty of notes and photos and tell you all about it when we get back. Alright, maps, snacks,  and the car is packed! Wish us luck!

Beavers, Saltwater and Salmon

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 16 - 2015Comments Off

If it’s February, it’s time for dispersers! This story is from Burien Washington.

IMG_6445-500x375Meet ‘Valentino,’ a Beaver rescued at Three Tree Point on Valentine’s Day

One local resident quipped, “It takes a village to heal a beaver.” For several hours on Valentine’s Day afternoon, nearby neighbors gathered around a large beaver that was beached, likely injured, at one of the public access points just north of Three Tree Point.

 Big questions circulated:

imagejpeg_0-3-357x500 -How did this fresh water-inhabiting mammal end up on the salt water shoreline?
-Where did it come from?
-Was it sick, injured, in shock, in pain?
-Would it survive?

 Some imagined that it had been a stowaway on a barge and somehow got dumped into the Sound. Others thought it had been washed down one of the local streams. No one remembered having ever seen a beaver in this area.

We know the answers to those questions, right? That beavers disperse at this time of year to find their own habitat, and that these fresh water animals often use salt water passages to get around. Three tree point is an easy 1 mile  swim across Puget sound to or from Vashon island. And there’s a lake and stream nearby as well. I’m sure he was fairly docile to pick up. Beavers usually are. (Unless you’re from Belarus.)

Two great ‘finally’s this morning, the first some new research out of Australia examining the fact that wetlands actually sequester carbon. (I believe the word your looking for here in response is “Duh!”) And the second a story I’ve been waiting for since Maria Finn contacted me way back in October. Apparently it’s been so long in the making that all sign of Worth A Dam’s contribution has been eroded from the story but trust me, we’re in there!

Leave it to Beavers

Once considered a pesky rodent, the animals are busy saving California’s salmon populations.

In an unexpected twist to California’s drought saga, it turns out that beavers, once reviled as a nuisance, could help ease the water woes that sometimes pit the state’s environmentalists and fishermen against its farmers.

 In California, where commercial and recreational salmon fishing brings in $1.5 billion a year, and agriculture earns $42.6 billion annually, farmers and fishermen have long warred over freshwater from the Klamath and Sacramento rivers. Dams built for reservoirs on these rivers have cut off many salmon from their breeding areas, which has severely depleted the populations. Typically, up to 80 percent of the diverted water is used by agriculture, much of it sent to the arid Central Valley region where moisture-demanding crops like almonds are now being intensively farmed.

Beavers, which were almost hunted to extinction in California during the 1800s, can help restore this watery habitat, especially in drought conditions. Fishery experts once believed the animals’ dams blocked salmon from returning to their streams, so it was common practice to rip them out. But, consistent with previous studies, research led by Michael M. Pollock, an ecosystems analyst with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows the opposite: Wild salmon are adept at crossing the beavers’ blockages.

In addition, the dams often reduce the downstream transport of egg-suffocating silt to the gravel where salmon spawn, and create deeper, cooler water for juvenile fish and adult salmon and steelhead. The resulting wetlands also attract more insects for salmon to eat. In ongoing research that covered six years, Pollock and his colleagues showed that river restoration projects that featured beaver dams more than doubled their production of salmon.

 Can the animals help bring back the Coho salmon? “Absolutely,” Pollock says. “They may be the only thing that can.”

Hurray for Pollock! And hurray for beavers! Now let’s get this story picked up in more places and keep repeating the message until even Trout Unlimited stops ripping out dams! Maria said her original article was intended for the Guardian, but I guess there was beaver saturation with all the reporting in Devon so they never wanted to follow through. Of course SATURATION is the point. Ahem. And the point that California should care about.

But don’t worry, there are still the usual nay-sayers.


Photo: Márcio Cabral de Moura

But California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist

Matthew Meshriy says North America’s largest rodent is still often unwelcome in the state’s agricultural areas, particularly the Central Valley, where their dams can interfere with the complicated water infrastructure vital to farms. “If we had a more natural system and grew things appropriate to the land and at an intensity level that was sustainable for the long term,” says Meshriy, ”then a beaver could be a powerful part of it. But that’s not the case here.”

 Despite such resistance, beavers are enjoying a comeback in California, even building dams in downtown San Jose, Martinez, and Napa. And interest is increasing elsewhere: Pollock has been hosting standing-room-only workshops on the benefits of beavers in salmon watersheds all along the West Coast.

 “Fishermen welcome beaver dams much more than the human-built dams on salmon streams,” says Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “If beavers are allowed to do their jobs, they’ll help the fishermen keep salmon on the plates.”

It would be wonderful if more fishermen in California knew enough to thank beavers. When we’re done with the pacific conversion, and the midwest conversion, then we can start working on the atlantic. Those anglers have a LONG way to go!

Talking about beavers

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 15 - 2015Comments Off

Beaver-in-Knapdale_eating-c-Steve-Gardner-660x496Knapdale scientists to discuss beaver studies

People interested in hearing about studies of Knapdale’s famous beavers are being invited to attend an event in Argyll next week.

The beavers were released in May 2009 by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland on land managed by Forestry Commission Scotland as part of the five-year Scottish Beaver Trial.

And a series of independent scientific research projects were carried out into the effects of the beavers on the area during the trial, which finished in May of last year.

Dr Martin Gaywood, of Scottish Natural Heritage, who managed the independent scientific monitoring of the trial, said: “We’re keen to bring local people up-to-date on the studies that have been carried out over the last five years.

 “There are some interesting and quite surprising results and this is a one-off opportunity to hear about them from the scientists themselves

Don’t you wish you could be there? I love that they’re taking the results straight to the public and starting the conversation. Of course I and Derek Gow and Paul and Louise Ramsey can’t be there because we’ll be in Oregon presenting at the Beaver Conference! In fact I actually present on the same day! Do you know what that means? They’re 8 hours ahead so for an entire 16 hours over the span of 6000 miles the people will be talking and learning about beavers.More if you count the days before and after! The planet will hum with beavers!

Isn’t that awesome?

Beavers causing headaches for Berrien Co. residents

Bad news for beavers in Berriens county Georgia, which is just a little above Florida. Our retired librarian friend BK says the region is very flat, with lots of beaver problems. Apparently when they rip out one beaver dam the road gets flooded. Say, I’ve got an idea for them! (Don’t rip it out)

Some of you might remember that Berrien county is the home of the beaver-kill tail contest that upset me so much I sent a pack of children’s beaver drawings to the commissioners many years ago. They were from our very first Earth Day event. I even had a friend of a friend in the state send them so it would look like they were coming from constituents. It did no good at all but it made me feel better. Apparently they are still up to their old tricks.

Also there must be PLENTY of alligators to keep their beavers in check!, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Too bad that culvert fence isn’t a trapezoid- or fenced on bottom, because you know beavers will be incorporating it into their dam soon.

Now I thought yesterday there needed to be a better graphic for a beaver conference. And I’m happy with this one.

the gathering