All in a day’s beaver work!

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 15 - 20142 COMMENTS

today1Another fun day for wildlife spent in the beautiful wine country at Cornerstone. Tom and Darren were constantly on their toes running back and forth to keep things smooth.There were birds and badgers and bats and of course BEAVERS. Cheryl, Lory and Ron were unbelievably helpful getting things together there. We made new friends, plugged beaver benefits and positive solutions, and generally talked about what Martinez had done to solve challenges. I love this picture from the morning, not because we’re still bright eyed and bushy tailed, but because it shows off the AMAZING new restoration poster at the back which we never got to show off correctly at the festival because it was improperly hung and ripped down in a nanosecond. Isn’t it beautiful?

A few folk there had seen the Napa beavers, and many wanted to come visit to see ours. Tom and I had several like-minded conversations throughout the day emphasizing how important it is to connect wildlife groups together so they can learn from what everyone else is doing.The photographer Suzy Esterhaus was there, still excited about her upcoming photo shoot of the Martinez Beavers for Ranger Rick, and Susan Kirks of PLAN stopped by to give us our badger spirit award. They are signed by their state representatives, with a big gold official looking seal.

assembly legislature1Thank you Susan for making us feel like what we do matters! I personally love that two politicians had to sit down and personally sign something that said WORTH A DAM in the title.

This was a comment from JoEllen after Saturday, looks like we get Sulpher Creek at the beaver festival!

Just want to thank you again for the outstanding presentation, and for coming “all the way” to Hayward! (You not only educated us about beavers, but about where Martinez is! How provincial we are!!) I will be working on getting Sulphur Creek to the next Beaver Festival.
Thanks, JoEllen

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Touring for Beavers:September 2014

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 14 - 20142 COMMENTS

Sulpher Creek is a secret jewel hidden away in the crowded residential hills of Hayward. It’s entered by a curling driveway between homes that wraps into a loop around a thickly concreted creek arched by a myriad of trees. A narrow bridge crosses the creek to take you to what could be another world, the animal hospital on the right, and the classroom at the left. In between are a cluster of animal pens where unreleasable wildlife are held in airy comfort. We saw foxes, hawks and a screech owl. The class room looks like every classroom you’ve ever seen, with carpet squares on the floor where the little ones sit for learning time, and bigger chairs with adjustable tables in the room after that.

The entire facility has the feel of a delightful ranger station – the old pre-Reagan ranger stations from your childhood where there was always SOMETHING wonderful going on. This makes sense because the land and buildings are owned by the parks department. We were met by the coordinator Sylvia Franke and set up in the well appointed little room.

It was a small group by beaver standards, but very wildlife-savvy and eager to learn more. I felt perfectly at home as I talked about beaver benefits to the appreciative crowd who knew some of the story from the news. I had met Joellen, a docent, years ago at the beaver dam and she had been instrumental in getting us invited. She was there yesterday and kindly said that she still reads the website every day, so if you’re reading this, THANKS!

Now we’re off to the wine-country to talk beavers at Cornerstone. Stop by and say HI!


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The unfinished thought

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2014Comments Off

A beaver lodge sits next to the partially drained pond, water from which was used to control dust from construction of a golf course near the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Editorial: Drained Trinity pond drains confidence

The work recently went off the rails when contractors began draining an environmentally sensitive pond in an effort to control dust elsewhere.

 This pond is a gem of the forest, where threatened wood storks like to fish. The contractors hired by City Hall siphoned it like a swimming pool. A witness, Ben Sandifer, said he saw fish huddled in the mud and remaining water with their backs exposed.

 Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan wrote that, while officials agreed to let contractors use water from the pond, they “never realized the contractor would be so insensitive as to attempt to drain an entire pond.

Right, because  contractors are usually such sensitive souls. I know mine went through a whole box of kleenex watching nature programs when our shower was installed. This is what you did to the Audubon center?  This is bad even by Texas standards.

The good news is that folks are mighty upset about it, so there’s a good chance something might change for next time. Too bad for the beavers and the wood storks though. I guess someone else will have to deliver all those babies to dallas?

(Have you ever seen a wood stork? They are deeply striking birds with featherless black heads and great long beaks. Here’s a photo I took in the everglades. You can bet something enjoyed an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with all those huddled victimized fish – and we know it wasn’t the beavers!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, is it me or has the Huffington Post finally maxed out on beaver innuendo?

HPNobody likes a stinky beaver.

 Just ask the people of Cumming, Georgia, who had to endure the filthy stench of rotting beaver carcasses, after one resident allegedly left them in a parking lot.

Police are fingering Chad Artimovich, 43, as the lead suspect in the case. Artimovich was arrested Aug. 23 after customers of a TitleMax complained about decomposing beaver carcasses in the parking lot, WSB-TV reported last week. Responding officers found several large bags full of maggots, fluid and rotting beaver, which gave off an “atrocious” smell, they said.

Get it? “Stinky beaver”, police are “Fingering” the suspect. Isn’t that hilarious?I mean if you’re a 12 year old boy?

Less funny is the tail bounty offered in Georgia that leads  to someone knocking off a few beaver, snipping free their reward hastily in the parking lot, and hurrying off to collect their 13$ a tail.

No word on when the Huffington Post will be reporting on that.

Oh, and speaking of wasted publications and and incomplete thoughts, how about Nina Keenam columnist for the Andulusia Star News in Alaska whose burning curiosity drove her to exhaustively research beavers – during which effort she determined they were BUSY.

Beavers worthy of ‘busy’ slogan

What animal do some people consider the “outstanding engineer of the wild” and the mammal next to man that alters the environment most to suit its needs? If you answered “a beaver,” you were right.

When I covered meetings of the Covington County Commission for The Andalusia Star-News, one of the commissioners often related stories about beavers in constant battle with his road crew. He said beaver dams caused flooding along county roads and bridges. As fast as crews destroyed a beaver dam, the beavers reconstructed it the same night.

 Beavers are definitely clever and persistent. I learned that beavers cut down trees, gnaw off the limbs, cut the main trunk into the right size, and dig canals so it can float to the dam site. Then it plasters the logs together with mud.

 I would say that the expression “Busy as a beaver” rings true.

I can just imagine those late nights of study, drinking iced coffee and charcoal biscuits next to a pile of ruffled volumes that lead you to this stunning conclusion. No wonder you didn’t have  time to talk about how important they are to salmon, or wildlife, or rivers. Your considerable research skills were already consumed by the jaw-dropping discovery that beavers are “busy”.


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Seeing is Believing

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2014Comments Off


The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the largest such body in the US. And look who’s on the back cover of their newsletter? Thanks Malcolm Kenton for sending it our way!CaptureSure there is nothing about beavers actually IN the newsletter, or partnering with beavers for restoration to repair damaged streams,and that neat tanbark sure looks like the home of a kit in captivity, but heck, it’s a start, maybe the beginning of one of those conversations that keep you up well into the night. There was a nice story from them on living with beaver last year when they noticed they’re population was going up.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve the conflicts without killing beavers, Griffin said. The answer is: beaver deceivers. These are cage-like devices that prevent the animals from blocking the stormwater pipes. The Humane Society has been meeting with state and local governments across the region to convince them to use this and similar technology – including underwater pipes – as affordable and non-lethal ways to foil beaver dams, Griffin said.

“A study we did showed that, over time, it is far more cost beneficial to install and maintain these devices than to kill beavers and then constantly go and clean out culverts over and over again,” said Griffin.

 One of the governments the Humane Society helped to convince to use the devices is Rockville, Maryland, which is planning to install a beaver deceiver in a stormwater pond behind Richard Montgomery High School, according to Heather Gewandter, stormwater manager for Rockville. There, a family of beavers gnawed down several trees, and built a dam and a lodge in a roughly 100-foot-wide urban stormwater control pond behind the school’s bike paths and trash cans. The dam is blocking the pond’s stormwater drainage outflow, threatening an adjacent road with flooding when it rains, and reducing the effectiveness of the whole runoff pollution control system, Gewandter said.

 ”We’ve noticed a real increase in the beaver population in the recent past,” she said. “But we have a live and let live policy for all wildlife – and so that includes deer, coyotes, and beavers. So we want to do everything in our power to co-exist with the beaver. We also do want to honor our obligations, when it comes to water quality. So we are really hopeful that these beaver deceivers will work.”

 The city is also wrapping the trunks of young trees in several parks with short bamboo curtains, to prevent the beavers from cutting them down. Trees, after all, are important not only for scenery and shade in the parks – but also to cool and filter streams.

No word in the article about how beavers are helping the streams you’re trying to save, and filtering the water you’re working to clean, but hey, I’m thrilled you’re using flow devices and wrapping trees. I’m sure you’ll catch on to the restoration story eventually.

On a lighter note Bobby posted this footage of a kit tailslap on the river Tay in Scotland and I had to share. Look at his muscles tense and twitch while he’s obviously gearing up for this heroic feat.

Much more talented than our kit, who wasn’t much younger. Not only does fail to get the required SMACK sound, he uses so much effort that he almost does a back flip in the water!

‘A’ for effort, though. That’s what I call enthusiasm.

Speaking of great effort, here’s a photo just sent from Rusty in Napa  at the beaver pond he’s watching up there. This green heron got lucky, and probably will again soon. I think he’s enjoying a bullfrog tadpole, which means there are more where this came from. If he waits a while he can get some with feet!

green heron catch

Green Heron Catch: Rusty Cohn

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Another difference between Iowa and Washington

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 11 - 2014Comments Off

News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Neighbors Want Solution For Beaver Dam Flooding

Just up the creek from where the water is backing up is a beaver dam, possibly more than one. It’s just north of Interstate 80 near the Davenport Municipal Airport. A resident who lives nearby and is dealing with water on her family’s land took some pictures. The problem is that the dams aren’t on her property and it’s been a struggle to get something done.

 ”It’s been going on since April. We’ve had water up to our knees almost,” said Lindsay Andrews. She says last year there was barely any water in the creek at all. Now there seems to be a bit of a beaver problem.

 ”We’ve seen a couple of beavers. My mother in law seen one. We watched one swim upstream not too long ago,” said Andrews.

 Their dams are leaving stagnant water and a muddy mess in area her family mostly uses for recreation but on a regular basis.

 ”We used to do cookouts, can’t do that. Kids used to ride the trails, can’t do that,” she said, “the bugs are a big concern… Safety is a big concern with the kids.”

My god the horror. Our kids haven’t been outside in 5 months because we’re terrified of the westnile-virus mosquitoes or some such nonsense those rotten beavers have brought into our bright green fertilizer-ruined stream. I have only written about beavers in Iowa once before in 8 years of coverage so that means they aren’t even enough of an issue to hit the news cycle.  I’m honestly not hopeful for these beavers, but I dutifully posted my comment just in case some landowner wants to be in touch about options.

The only other comment is about how dynamite will fix things, so I ain’t hopeful.


A better use of our time is the youtube account of Ben Dittbrenner, who’s dissertation on beavers and climate change was mentioned a couple days ago in the news. He wrote back after my comment and said that he is thoroughly enjoying this part of his work, and his close contact with the beavers. He’s particularly struck by what a mollifying effect their adorable presence has on even the most hardened maintenance crew.

Of course Worth A Dam knows all about that. Remember the crane company that put in the sheetpile?

cooper craneYou should subscribe to Ben’s youtube account right away so you see the cool stuff he encounters during his project. I just wish data collection on MY dissertation looked like this!

Published on Sep 2, 2014

 This video is from our animal husbandry facility. Beavers are temporarily housed as part of the Skykomish Beaver Project. The goal of this research is to relocate nuisance beavers, which would otherwise be killed, into headwaters of the Skykomish River Basin to stimulate habitat improvement and climate change

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Beavers at Sulpher Creek Nature Center

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 10 - 2014Comments Off

From the SF Gate, May 4 2011

Tucked in a woodsy canyon in the Hayward hills, the Sulphur Creek Nature Center treats as many as 900 injured and orphaned wild animals every year. A wildlife education and resource center, it also serves as a permanent refuge for several nonreleasable birds and mammals.

 1. Sulphur Creek Nature Center

 Operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, this center offers classes, a year-round school science program for teachers and their students (preschool through sixth grade), an Animal Lending Library teaching the responsibilities of caring for a pet, and more. (510) 881-6747.

Think Lindsay Museum in Hayward and you’re close. And come this saturday think this:


Beavers are “nature’s engineers” in providing habitat for a diverse eco-system. Learn about this “Keystone Species” from Heidi Perryman, founder of “Worth a Dam” and discover how beavers are “key” to a rich environment.

 28273 18yr+ $18

This all came about because one of the folks who used to regularly watch beavers with us is a volunteer there and after years of persuasion they agreed to finally host a program on beavers. I’m kinda surprised it’s so pricey and ADULT ONLY but I’ll try to be worth it, with lots of after hours adult only information!

(I only have on explicit beaver picture, but I’ll eek it out.)

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Figure 27. Copulation in water, replicated from Ruth Pollitts’ illustration (in Kitchener 2001).

Ooh there’s a new video from the wild beaver folks on the Tay, although I hope the date is wrong. Beavers mating in September means babies in late December? Ohhh just got an email clarifying that the date this was taken was Feb 2. Much better!

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Plot Thickener

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 9 - 2014Comments Off

We haven’t heard much from Devon lately on the  great beaver trapping from DEFRA. If you’ll remember, a slew of citizens and farmers came to the meeting asking that they be allowed to remain.

DEFRA took this opportunity to blow off the meeting and pick up the traps instead. We heard they haven’t been too successful at catching any quarry, and it is  looking like the good guys were winning this round. At least by default.

I guess DEFRA thought it was time for this.

Don’t allow beavers to upset our freshwater ecosystem

 There seems to be a movement in this country to re-introduce species that have long been extinct, of which the beaver is one of many. These people will support their argument by declaring the beaver has only been extinct for 200-300 years. Not so. It became extinct in this country in the 12th century. As Derek Gow says they are great engineers building dams and constructing homes in rivers and streams from trees they have felled. Derek says they create wetlands. I do not think so. The likely outcome is more floods. Surely we have had enough floods in the last two years without additional problems caused by beavers.

 Do not upset the status quo – the freshwater habitat in this country is a fragile ecosystem. Much damage can be done by reintroducing an alien species which the beaver is.  We as humans do not have to feel guilty just because we were instrumental in the destruction of the beaver all those years ago. The world has moved on, so has our country and our rivers.

 The beaver should be considered an alien in this country just like the grey squirrel, coypus, mink and Japanese knotweed. The damage they can do is too great to take the chance.

 Those who put these animals in the River Otter should help the Environment Agency trap them – act now before it is too late.

Alien beavers! Thank goodness the West Morning news printed this ANONYMOUS letter before it was too late! I wonder who penned this thoughtful treatise? (Mr. George Eustice, don’t be so modest!) You should go read the whole thing because it contains a lovely passage from HBN Hynes which makes beaver restoration sound very heroic – and then argues ‘we can’t STAND this much repair in our rivers’! I especially like how it warns us of what’s to come and ends with the recognition that the government trappers have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and need assistance.

(The good news is that I see this morning another very popular badger cull is coming so they’ll have something else to keep them busy for a while.)

Your pro-beaver comment is needed now. I’m particularly of mine.


 And just so you know not all of Europe is ignorant of beavers, I got this from Duncan Haley this morning.Capture

 The Voronezhsky Biosphere Reserve is pleased to invite you to take part in 7-th International Beaver Symposium! The symposium will take place in Russia, Voronezh, September 14-17, 2015

Organizers of symposium:


Department of State Policy on Environmental Protection
Voronezh Region Government
Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming
Voronezhsky Biosphere Reserve

The seventh symposium! And before you start thinking this event is exactly as old as our beaver festival, it’s actually much older, since it’s held every two years. You might remember back when Skip Lisle was invited to the one in Lithuania and our beaver friend Alex Hiller met him there.

Can’t wait to see the lineup for this one!

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