Excellent Forum for ‘em!

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 25 - 2015Comments Off

bb15th Annual Fish and Wildlife Committee Fall Forum

The CCCFWC is who gave the grant this year for our wildlife button activity (The K.E.Y.S.T.O.N.E. Project -Kids Explore! Youth Science Training on Natural Ecosystems). Because I’m never happier than when I think up a good acronym. We haven’t actually received the check yet, I had to send in receipts and a summary after the festival, but I’m sure it’s coming because they just invited me to do a poster session for their Fall Festival, to show off to fish and game  and other folks how cool the event was.

It’s on a night I have to be at the office so I can’t attend, Cheryl says she’ll see if she can go. In the meantime I’ve been working on the poster and thought I’d share it with you. I’m attaching the summary too. I can’t decide between this and an actual 3D collage with our beaver tail and buttons, but I’m thinking an actual graphic that shows them all would be easier for them to manage.


A little bit about the day….

120 Children completed the tail activity, and 60 finished all buttons and the post test. 98% of completed tests show they learned how beavers help other species and parents verbally reported they had a wonderful time doing it. All exhibitors completed the post test too and reports were very positive, with 98% reporting they also learned something by doing it .

I’m attaching some photos of the children with their finished tails and taking the post test with their parents so you can see it was enjoyed!

Thank you again for your support of this wonderful day of learning!

Heidi Perryman, Ph.D.
President & Founder
Worth A Dam

The children’s post tests were my very favorite part of the day. I loved them standing thoughtfully and circling the right answers at my booth. Most of the exhibitors were also very positive about the activity, but one charmer actually wrote in a comment that we should provide the exhibitors water because it was hot that day.  The feedback was anonymous which worked in their favor because otherwise it would have been too much to resist grabbing them by their lapels and saying, “Let me make sure I understand. So in addition to our organizing the event, paying for the insurance, the park, the restrooms, the music, the solar panel, the brochures, the advertising, and renting a U-haul to set everything up for you at 6 am this morning, you’d like us to bring you waters for you because you can’t  plan possibly ahead?”.

Don’t worry. I left that part off the poster.

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 24 - 2015Comments Off

This morning I learned that the kit brought to Lindsay was 2.25 grams (just under 5 lbs). Not even as heavy as a sack of flour.  The yearling was too decomposed to weigh but both beavers brought for necropsy were female.

Which shouldn’t be newly heartbreaking to me but strangely is, so I’m posting this video to give us some perspective. We’ve in the beaver business for a long time. I have to think  we aren’t finished yet.

Friends in USDA places

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 23 - 2015Comments Off

Learn about beaver at watershed meeting

COQUILLE — The Coquille Watershed Association will host Dr. Jimmy Taylor and Vanessa Petro from Oregon State University, who will present “Understanding Beaver in the Beaver State.”

 The presentation will start at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24 in the Owen Building at 201 North Adams in Coquille.

Taylor is a project leader for the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center and a faculty member in OSU’s College of Forestry. His presentation will include an overview of past and active beaver research studies in Oregon, as well as recommendations for managing landscapes that include beavers.

Petro is a faculty research assistant at Oregon State University and conducts field research with the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center. She will present the preliminary results for the Oregon Coast Range American Beaver Genetics Study.

USDA has a pretty bad rap when it comes to beavers, or any living creature whatsoever really, but Jimmy Taylor is an exception, who has worked from the inside to promote and research flow devices, and who a million years ago helped me in fine tuning what to say to our city to let our beavers stay. (I’m not sure he would appreciate being called an exception, but this is my website and I can say it if I want to.) I did an interview with him a while back, which you can listen to here.

Subscribe in iTunes!

If Coquille is a little far off your beaten path, here’s a similar presentation from 2 years ago.

Nature’s Architect

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 22 - 2015Comments Off

What’s the best way to re-wild Scotland? Just leave it to beaver.

 by Jim Crumley

Today’s conservationists are by no means the first people to wonder if it might be a good idea to bring beavers back to these shores. In the course of investigating Scotland’s colourful beaver history, nature writer Jim Crumley travelled to Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, where, in the 1870s, John Patrick Crichton-­Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, apparently conducted an early beaver experiment. Delving into the Mount Stuart archives, Crumley found that in 1874 the Marquess had a walled, four-acre beaver enclosure built on his property with a stream running through it and plenty of trees to serve as raw material for dams and lodges. This he proceeded to populate with Canadian beavers, which he purchased at £10 a pop from one Charles Jamrach, a naturalist based in London.

After a brief period in which they appeared to flourish, by 1889 the Bute beavers were no more.

This book, then, is a passionate argument for letting beavers carry out their ancient role in our landscape, as creators of wetland habitat that will benefit other animals and promote biodiversity for centuries to come. As Crumley puts it, the beaver is “an architect that designs, redesigns, restores, and recreates wildness. For nothing. Forever.” Counter arguments will no doubt be made, but not as eloquently.

This sounds like a fascinating read, and I just bought my copy. I love the history of beavers being introduced by the Marquess. And love the urgency which which he advocates reintroduction now. I also haven’t ever read a book about castor fiber, as all big guns are about our canadian beavers. This should be fun!


Yesterday I read they were fogging for west nile virus at the marina. Something they had already done in July. Were the chemicals they used possibly impactful for beavers? For that matter, could beavers die from West Nile Virus? Horses, dogs and cats apparently do.

The vet at fish and game  asked a colleague about the chemicals. She wrote back that It was Pyrocide, active ingredient pyrethrins. It has a very low toxicity to mammals. So probably not. Hmmm. it was worth considering though.

No new deaths, and we’re still walking the creek every day to just in case there are bodies. Let me know if you can help.

California’s first modern-day wolf pack sighted in Siskiyou County

On Thursday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released photos of five wolf pups with a pair of adults, one of them thought to be the wolf seen in the spring. It is the first confirmed sighting of a gray wolf pack in modern California history.

 California should be very happy to have wolves! 5 pups documented from our very own golden state pack. Which brings our resident wolf population to 7. (For those following along at home, California hasn’t had wolves since 1924.) Now I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, this is a beaver website, why should I care?” But wolves are the single most important helper that beavers have in restoring streams. See, the beavers chew the willow, to make their dams, and the trees coppice, but before the beavers can get back to eat them, ungulates like deer and elk and cows come chomp the shoots. And that’s not good for creek restoration.

But when we have a healthy wolf pack in residence, it forces the deer and elk (and cows) to stay away from the open creeks and they browse more cautiously, meaning that the willow gets a chance to grow up and the beavers get to fell and feed and build more dams and save more water.

And California reaps the benefits. Happy wolf-day, California!


Across state lines…

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 21 - 2015Comments Off

Slightly better article from Fargo, I’m still wary of these beaver saving efforts.

Activists to again voice opposition to killing beavers in Fargo parks

FARGO — Residents concerned with a plan to kill beavers along the Red River will gather at a Fargo Park Board meeting next week to show support for using non-lethal methods to curb the rodents, which park officials say have been chewing through valuable trees.

Kathleen Keene, a member of a local group of animal advocates, said killing beavers is not a sustainable solution because the dead beavers will be replaced by new ones coming in.

 The Park Board in April approved an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cull beavers, citing thousands of dollars worth of damage to trees, particularly in Lemke and Trefoil parks.

 The USDA’s John Paulson said culling methods include a lethal body-gripping trap and another trap that grabs the beaver and pulls it underwater so it drowns.

Such methods are cruel, Keene said.

 ”Just think about if your dog was in a trap like that,” she said. “A beaver’s not much different than any other animal.”

Well, yes. They are cruel. But it’s worse than your dog, Kathleen. Because your dog would drown pretty quickly and it will take a beaver upwards of 15 minutes of suffering to die. Kathleen started the online petition that garnered 58,000 signatures. Remarkable enough that Fargo slowed its grinding wheels of beaver killing.

I’m still a little uneasy with this HS advocate.

Dave Pauli, a senior director for wildlife response at the Humane Society of the U.S., is expected to give a presentation to the Park Board at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at 701 Main Ave. on ways to control beaver populations. Keene said she and like-minded people plan to attend the meeting.

 In an interview, Pauli said non-lethal methods are more sustainable than lethal ones.

 ”The Red River is a challenge because no matter what happens to the beavers, there’s gonna be more beavers,” he said. “It’s a flashing vacancy sign if they just remove beavers constantly.”

 Non-lethal methods include protecting trees with fences and special paint, or by regulating noise and water factors. There is also beaver birth control.

To be honest, way back in 2007, we spent a great deal of time on the subcommittee worrying about the issue of birth control. The Humane Society recommended immuno-contraception and that charming harrigan that advised city staff recommended killing the father so that the mother would be forced to wait until her sons grew up to breed. The looming population explosion was much on my mind during those days.

But the truth we found was, population growth was NEVER an issue.

Since beavers leave to seek their own territory at 2 we’ve only had the one family. And in 8 years with 24 beavers born in our creek, our resident population has never exceeded 9. Not to mention that out of 24 live births, we’ve had 12 deaths over the years. That’s 50% mortality not counting mom. Someone tell that to Mr. Pauli before he starts handing out beaver condoms, okay?


Another escaped beaver, this time in Kentucky. Makes me wonder if he saw the story of little Choppa making a break for it. You know, a copy-cat beaver crime?

Henderson wildlife rehabilitators looking for missing beaver

HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) -Wildlife rehabilitators in Henderson are now offering a reward for information about a missing animal.

 Tyler the beaver from Misfit Island Wildlife Rescue Center disappeared.

The couple who runs the rescue say with help from donations, they’re now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to her return.

 Another $250 will be given for her safe return.

Hmm, who do we know in Kentucky? Ian was on summer vacation, but I’m sure he wouldn’t take a beaver with him back to Cal Arts, right?


Beaver fever: Unique collection may set world record


Bill and Shirley Niese are pictured with a portion of Bill’s beaver-related item collection. More than 700 pieces of the collection will be counted at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Farm and Home Building at the Decatur County Fairgrounds during Greensburg’s annual Power of the Past antique farm machinery show. The Nieses believe the collection is the largest of its kind in the world.

Bill started collecting beavers after his Silver Beaver Award from the boy scouts. They just kept coming.  Now they’re couple is off to the Indianna county fairgrounds for an official counting to see it their collection of beaver items can qualify in the Guinness book of World Records.

To which I say good luck and, um, just 700?

With friends like these…

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 20 - 2015Comments Off

 Humane Society to offer advice on Fargo beaver problem

FARGO (KFGO-AM) — The Fargo Park District will get some advice from the Humane Society of the United States on handling beavers chewing away at trees at city parks along the Red River.

 The park district caused an uproar last spring among animal lovers when it announced plans to hire the USDA to trap and kill the beavers, which have caused thousands of dollars in damage to trees.

 The society’s Dave Pauli says he has been working on similar problems for 30 years and may have some options when he comes to Fargo next week.

He says a solution is “always complicated”

Always complicated? The HUMANE society says that wrapping trees is always complicated? How complicated can it be? You cut the wire and wrap it loosely around the tree and close it up with a bread tie or something. Then you walk to the next tree and repeat the whole process.

Or go to home depot, buy a gallon of paint and a few lbs of mason sand. And throw a pizza party for all the boyscouts in Fargo if they spend half the morning painting trees. It’s not rocket science.

Honestly, maybe this is what progress in North Dakota looks like, but shouldn’t the representative from the HUMANE SOCIETY sound a little more hopeful? “You could try neutering your dog, but that’s pretty hard, and then he won’t have balls.

I think I need to know what Mr. Pauli gets paid, because even in North Dakota they might do better.

I suppose it’s always possible that he was misquoted by some doubting reporter. Maybe he said “It’s never complicated” and they didn’t believe him? Of course the AP picked this story in all the world of beaver news to pick up so I’m seeing it run everywhere including the SF Gate. I guess it’s national news that it’s complicated protecting trees with wire. I’m sure it wasn’t national news when it worked all those times.


Here’s a story to calm us down after all that excitement. It’s a sweet reflection on a half chewed beaver tree. Enjoy.

Radio Diaries: Beaver Tree




Blame the beaver – (Swedish version)

   Posted by heidi08 On August - 19 - 2015Comments Off

Swedish beaver knocks out power for thousands

A spokesman for Sweden’s state-owned energy provider has revealed the identity of the vandal behind a blackout which saw 15,000 Swedish homes left without power.

The households were without power for around an hour and 15 minutes on Monday evening after a beaver chewed through a tree which fell and took down an electricity wire in the Södertälje area – about 30 kilometres south-west of Stockholm.

 “The little rascal. It is really something that should not be able to happen,” Peter Stedt, a spokesperson for Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, told The Local when the source of the problem was revealed on Wednesday.

 “Yes, but he felled in the wrong direction, so we’re going to have to have a word with him,” joked Stedt.

Ahh the Swedes. Even their episode of ‘blame the beaver’ is smarter than ours. Very droll, Stedt. Good to know their media isn’t much smarter. It runs through the usual litany of beaver assaults on civilization, and mentions nothing about their importance to wetlands or wildlife. But still, fairly cute article on a gnarly gnawly topic!

Here’s some actual footage of an actual beaver chewing an actual tree in America, taken by our good friend Rusty Cohn in Napatopia recently. The beaver was determined and the photographer was patient.

Apparently I was on KGO this morning, just got the word from a friend. They called yesterday about the unexplained deaths and we did a phone interview. (A kind of strange phone interview when they asked questions and continued talking even while I was answering them?) But hopefully it wasn’t too confusing. Jon just did the morning sweep and no dead beavers today. A happy looking live beaver chewing on his supper at ward street with a green heron standing guard.  Something like this.