Due to disastrous floods in Napa there has been a lot of flood control work done in the last few years. One of the problem areas is where Napa Creek flows through downtown Napa. Napa Flood Control has done bank restoration in the area after extensive flood control work.  Some existing larger trees have been protected with wire mesh, and some trees have been planted that are left unprotected for Beavers to eat. (note; Napa Flood has been using a heavy duty fine wire mesh with good results although the standard protection is larger 2″ x 4″ mesh)wrapped trees downtownBelow is a Beaver dam that appeared in Downtown Napa across the street from Kohl’s Department store about two years ago.downtown beaver dam

A Beaver is using one of the Napa Flood Control placed logs that is bolted down to reach a favorite treat.Beaver downtown 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 1 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 2 05-18-2016Beaver downtown 6 05-18-2016

Beaver downtown 7 05-18-2016








This year Mink were seen for the first time, along with turtles. So far no Muskrats.

Out the door…

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 23 - 2016Comments Off on Out the door…

Late to the party is better than never coming at all. Here’s yet another report on the benefits of beavers to nitrogen removal.


Knocking Down Nitrogen

Beavers have long been admired for their dam-building skills, which enable them to create ponds and slow the movement of water. Recently, a team of University of Rhode Island scientists has discovered that their environmental engineering tactics also help mitigate levels of nitrogen in the water.

According to Arthur Gold, URI professor of natural resources science, nitrogen levels have been increasing in northeastern streams for many years, due largely to the increased use of fertilizers. When nitrates travel from watersheds into estuaries, they trigger algal blooms that lead to dead zones, fish kills, and the degradation of marine habitats. Gold has spent his career studying the movement of nitrogen across the landscape to better understand how various habitats either remove or retain nitrogen.

“We found in our earlier studies of nitrogen movement that when a beaver pond was upstream it would confound our results,” Gold said. So he and doctoral student Julia Lazar decided to investigate beaver ponds to see what happens to nitrogen there.

They found that beaver ponds create ideal conditions for nitrogen removal, or denitrification. The organic matter that builds up behind a beaver dam plays a key role. That’s where bacteria transform nitrates into nitrogen gas, which dissipates into the air. Some nitrogen is also absorbed by aquatic plants and becomes stored in the sediments when the plants die. None of this would happen without the beaver dam because for substantial denitrification to occur, the water must remain somewhat still and in place for days or weeks at a time. In fast-moving streams, there is not time for the necessary biological and chemical processes that remove nitrogen.

‘The great surprise to us was that beaver ponds are very effective at nitrogen removal,” Gold said. Depending on the pond and the amount of nitrogen present, as much as 45 percent of the nitrogen in a beaver pond is removed from the water. “And most of it goes out as a gas, which is advantageous since beaver ponds are temporary,” he added. “At some point when the dam breaks, the nitrogen stored in the sediments behind the dam moves back into the water, so it’s better when we see it go off as a gas. Then it’s gone for good.”

Nice to see this covered but it’s too bad your readers didn’t visit martinezbeavers.org, because they would have already learned about this in October.

Portland or Bust!

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 22 - 2016Comments Off on Portland or Bust!

The day has finally come, I’ve practiced and adjusted my presentation for the last time,  Jean has officially stepped in to oversee the ongoing muralling, and now all that’s left is the doing and the driving. Stay tuned for some awesome photos from Rusty of Napa, and thanks to Robin for scanning this fun cartoon. There’s nothing to do now but wish me luck!
Rhymes wit Orange

portland flyer

Positive and Negative beaver space

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 21 - 2016Comments Off on Positive and Negative beaver space

negNegative space refers to the space around the image being drawn or represented. Discussing its use happens to be a very fun thing to do when you’re a teenager on a field trip imitating a pretentious critic at a museum. It’s used to define or highlight the object or to make a space for the image that is going to be filled in later either by the artist or the viewer.

So we were delighted to see this yesterday morning:

negI’m sure you’re a normal person and lead a regular beaver-unobsessed life, but  maybe you already recognized that missing beaver is the famous beaver Mario was forced to paint over all those years ago. Ah memories!

mural 001

Well, to paraphrase the words of what’s arguably the most imitated scary movie trailer ever made “He’s back!”

IMG_0998And just so you remember where the original sprang from


Come to think of it, I really need to see it all in on place to appreciate the progression:


It was meet that we should make merry,

and be glad: for this thy brother was dead,

and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Luke 15:32

Egrets…I’ve had a few…

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 20 - 2016Comments Off on Egrets…I’ve had a few…

DSC_6970Mario added a lovely Egret yesterday. Can’t wait to see where he’ll take our bridge today! Oh, and the pretend paper in Martinez wrote a pretend story about the beavers and the mural and got the location wrong, the videographer wrong, and maybe the date wrong. But hey, they say there’s no bad publicity right?

Yesterday there was an sudden flurry of wonderful developments reminding us all that the ninth beaver festival isn’t really far away. First Mike Warner of Wildbryde sent this on our upcoming charm bracelet to teach the ecosystem engineer concept. Isn’t it lovely?

wildlife train charms

Really, All Aboard is going to be such an awesome teaching activity that I should have interested exhibits APPLY for the opportunity to participate! Those bracelets are going to be very popular and by August 7th everyone will know why beaver is considered an ‘Ecosystem engineer”.

I was even more excited about these, however, which owes credit to Erika for the slogan, Beaver Believer’s for the idea of doing a kids shirt, and our long lost volunteer Libby Corliss for her awesome silhouettes from Cheryl’s photos. Oh and Heidi for figuring out how to make them hollow with outlines!

YXSIs that cute or is that CUTE? We got 40 in assorted Youth sizes from XL to XS. (It is all I can do to keep from putting them on the dog.) Historically we have offered adult shirts for a 20 donation, so that suggests 15 would carry a child shirt? But shirts are more expensive than they were 10 years ago and they cost us 8 to make. I know these would sell, but it breaks my heart to think of Worth A Dam only getting a couple bucks for each adorable shirt when I consider that the festival is free and the bracelets are and both cost us lots of $$. Maybe I can find a donor to cover the shirt cost, and then happily offer them for 15? Wish me happy hunting.


I’m just about ready for Portland, with my hour long talk for the ballroom and a short recap for the worker bees at Clean Water Services the next morning. We have reservations along the way and hopefully can do some sightseeing in between preaching beaver gospel and networking with beaver friends. We’ll finish off with a few days by the foggy coast to rest before heading home to see our exciting mural progress and the buckle down to festival planning in earnest in June!

June! Can it be approaching already? Mais où sont les neiges d’antan ?

Closing the Gap

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 19 - 2016Comments Off on Closing the Gap

Mario’s deft handiwork has transformed a dull concrete bridge into a vibrant living canvas. I love looking back and thinking about how we got here. Of course the proper slideshow ought to include multiple meetings, daunting contracts in triplicate and struggles for insurance, but hey, it’s a start!

The narrow gap between ‘sides’ should be closing today or tomorrow, pop by and take a look.

This news story made me remember being a very little girl, and thinking that if I stole my mom’s lighter she might stop smoking. My five year old self nobly committed the crime and breathlessly waited to see whether my heroism saved her. Of course she found it in my drawer later when she came in to put away the laundry, but never suspecting me as she thought it had gotten misplaced in the washing.

I bet the Alberta police never suspect me either. Bwahaha…

36 beaver traps stolen from home in Delhi

Thieves made off with an unusual haul after breaking into a home in Delhi, police say. Norfolk County OPP officers responded to a break-in late Tuesday morning, at a home on Imperial Street.

Taken from the home was Canadian cash, as well as three dozen beaver traps. Police describe all of the traps as being black and rust-coloured. They say they want to hear from anyone who has noticed the traps around the community or has potential information about the theft.

This made me actually laugh out loud when I read the headline. Do you think we’re dealing with some rogue member of Furbearer Defenders? Or an opportunist from Saskatchewan who wants in on the cash prizes?  Surely we were both alarmed to learn there was a Delhi in Canada. Apparently it is in Ontario, just across Lake Eerie from Cleveland and was named for a fond postmaster in honor of what was at the time a jewel in the crown of the British Empire.

Jon will be so proud.





   Posted by heidi08 On May - 18 - 2016Comments Off on APPROVED!

Easy night at the PRMCC meeting getting approval for the ninth beaver festival which was a veritable piece of cake. Committee Dylan Radke even asked, ‘The other day I noticed what looked like a beaver dam down by the corp yard?”  Good eyes! I made sure they had this before I left.

PRMCCNo luck seeing beavers this morning, lots of ripples but nobody surfaced. When they don’t feel like showing their faces they zip back and forth under the water between holes on each side of the bank. How quickly they have gone on about their busy lives and taken me for granted! No baby ducks either, but there was a mockingbird making his dawn chorus all by himself, and that was lovely.

Now onto a nice letter in the paper in Sakatchewan about the kill contest, featuring an extremely rare ugly photo of a beaver. The editor’s must have searched through samples for hours to find the ONE picture that was certain to engender the least sympathetic response. Hrmph!

‘Derby of death’

The beaver is the icon of Canada — historically, for its energy and labour; symbolically, for its ideal of hard-working people and, linguistically, as a byword for the wonderful land we have inherited.

The Saskatchewan government is encouraging the torture and killing of these beautiful animals in a competition for the deaths of these icons — a derby of death.

This is obscene. It is anti-environment and destroys our land and our culture. It teaches children — and adults — that life itself is to be destroyed for profit or reinvented amusement. It encourages the pervert, the psychopath and the inadequate man. It must stop.

Michael Watts, Goderich, Ont.

A cynic might say that beaver trapping is actually the icon of Canada. But it’s nice to see someone saying the obvious. I myself would rather see a letter about the resources they’re throwing away by ignoring beaver benefits to fish, birds wildlife. Certainly I agree the derby is barbaric, and those photos of a truck full of beaver tails knock out my breath, but you won’t catch me saying that in public. I just think it makes it too easy to dismiss the idea that opposition is just from some crazy bunny huggers and therefore doesn’t matter.

I commented this instead:

Even laying aside the massive environmental benefits of beaver dams to fish, waterfowl, game animals; even ignoring the way their dams remove toxins and nitrates, even ignoring the fact that kill contests don’t work and create species rebound the following years — Even ignoring all THAT Saskatchewan should realize that this action is giving them a huge black eye in the world and is showcasing their ignorance on an international level. Why are reasonable solutions successful in every other part of the northern hemisphere but untried there?

Mario is painting his way to success on the mural, with both sides nearly meeting in the middle and a beaver and a turtle added yesterday.

DSC_6930 DSC_6929

Here’s the quarter page ad that’s going in the July issue of Bay Nature: