Cheap and Cheerful Beaver Webinar

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 16 - 2017Comments Off on Cheap and Cheerful Beaver Webinar

I know, I know. Folks are jealous they don’t get to attend the State of the Beaver conference and listen to 24 hours of brilliant discussion about beaver ecology in the middle of a ringing and buzzing, smoke-filled casino in February. You might even be saying to yourself, why does Heidi get to drive 8 hours through the snowy steep grade traffic and eat hotel food just because she will be rambling on about beavers yet again?  I understand.  I realize how fortunate I am to be going at all, and your much-expected envy is the weighty burden of the lucky, I know. But there’s something everyone can do instead. And it means only a click of a button.

webinarThis webinar is scheduled for Mar 22, 2017 12:00 pm US/Eastern.

CaptureStream and riparian area degradation is widespread across the Intermountain West, yet restoration resources are limited. Relatively simple and low-cost alternatives are needed to scale up to the scope of the problem. A renewed appreciation of the role of the once widespread beaver has revealed insights about how this ecosystem engineer affects stream hydrology, geomorphology, riparian vegetation and habitat for other species with its dam building activities. Drawing upon lessons learned about how nature heals degraded systems, conservationists are increasingly seeking ways to recreate beneficial effects associated with beaver dam-building activities where appropriate to achieve a variety of stream and riparian recovery goals. Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) are one low cost, ‘cheap and cheerful’ technique used in beaver-assisted restoration to mimic natural beaver dams, promote beaver to work in particular areas, and accelerate recovery of incised channels. This webinar will provide a brief overview of beaver ecology and hydrogeomorphic feedbacks, beaver-assisted restoration, BDA design and application, and NRCS planning considerations and resources.

A “Join” button will appear on THIS WEBSITE for the conference the 15 minutes before it begins. There is no need to register and attendance is free. You can check if your tablet or PC has everything it needs to participate by clicking here. Course credit is offered for Forest Managers and more. So check if it applies to you. This course is offered in conjunction with the USDA.

If I have my way, someday soon the entire State of the beaver conference will be available online so folks from everywhere can benefit from the instruction. If Tufts can manage it, I’m sure Oregon State can do it eventually. Until then, I will do what I can to keep everyone posted.

beaver strategy meeting



“Beaver Blitzkrieg”

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 15 - 2017Comments Off on “Beaver Blitzkrieg”

A true politician knows his audience. He can look boldly into the face of the crowd and describe the exact same actions differently depending on their particular interests. Behold beaver nonviolence!

Nonviolent beaver management focus of forum

BAR HARBOR — Skip Lisle, president and chief scientist of Beaver Deceivers International, will present his nonviolent, creative approach to beaver management at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in the McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 4:10 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Lisle will share humorous informative stories about ways he has found to prevent beaver damage while still allowing the animals to repopulate and rejuvenate different locations, he said. His mission, he said, is to find creative ways for humans to coexist with these industrious, important creatures.

“Beavers are widely considered a pest to eradicate,” Lisle said. “However, they are our most valuable keystone species.”

Frequent dam construction, the felling of trees and the flooding that results from their building habits often damage property and put beavers at odds with people. In many cases, the common solution to this problem is short-term and frequently ends in the death of the animal.

The goal of Lisle’s organization, Beaver Deceivers, is to change this pattern of conflict into one of coexistence. Rather than resorting to a kill mechanism to remove a costly nuisance, he finds ways to protect infrastructure while allowing beavers to improve the health and natural beauty of an area.

CaptureThree beaver talks in three days. Skip is doing a “beaver blitzkrieg” in Maine and forcing wisdom upon the entire state with a one-two-three punch. Maybe that should be something we all strive for. Just imagine if all the beaver experts we know in every state committed to three beaver talks in three days, (held say around the international day of the beaver), what a dramatic difference we would make to our wetlands.

(Come to think of it, California is very big, we might need two or three experts.)

“With beaver-human relations, it turns out that long-term thinking, creativity, a nonviolent approach and a commitment to craftsmanship can combine for a great investment,” he said.

Maybe we could even get PBS to air the beaver Nature documentary on one of those days. And children’s authors to do beaver readings at their local public library. Heck, if I’m going to dream – dream big. Maybe there could be a cash prize for the city with the most officials in attendance.

Obviously this map needs filling out, but wouldn’t that be a sight to behold?

Before the curtain rises…

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 14 - 20172 COMMENTS

Things are starting to take on a pre-conference craziness. I dreamed last night our beavers were living between two Killer whales at Marine World and I hired Skip to come build some kind of protection for them. When I woke up he had just told me he needed a permit to start work and I was worried how I was going to approach the city without letting them know the beavers had come back.

This morning I got an email from Paul and Louise Ramsay that they were passing near Martinez on the way to Canyonville and they’d love to visit. In addition I got an email from Gerhard Schwab of Germany that he and Duncan Haley were planning a trip after the conference and they’d love to see Martinez and our stomping grounds.

Apparently we’re a beaver flop house.

I suppose things could will get weirder the closer we get too departure. I am already so sure of a snowy drive that we have stooped to trading cars with my mother for the week. (Subaru vs. Prius) We’ll be right on the Umpqua river in nearby Tiller so I’m hoping we won’t be flooded or snowed out!  Hopefully, all will be worth it when the vast mysteries of beavers unfold before our eyes and ears at the conference.

In the meantime there are beaver tidbits too grand to pass up on the menu. First from Tallahassee FLORIDA where it never never ceases to amaze me that beavers and alligators are neighbors.

Orange Avenue construction threatens otters and beavers

Drivers should take caution as construction along Orange Avenue may pose danger for otters and beavers in the waterway underneath the road.

Animals attempt to cross the street to get to the other side of the creek, but due to a cement barricade blocking the area where they try to go around, they get run over by passing cars, said Melissa Ward, a local resident who first saw a beaver dead near the construction site three weeks ago. A week later, an otter met a similar fate. Ward said her mother has seen eight beavers dead in the past few weeks.

As if we needed ANOTHER reason to hate those cement barricades in the middle of busy streets. What on earth are animals supposed to do when they run into one of those? Just jump really high? I realize running into one is probably dimly better than running into a car going the opposite direction, but I’d much rather run into something soft and let wildlife cross safely. Jon was once saved very nicely by all that bottle-brush they tore out to replace with concrete.

A few fun items, one from the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival parade this weekend in New York.homepage logo

The Canoodlers, who wear old-fashioned orange life preservers and do dance routines with wooden canoe paddles, dress as beavers for this year’s parade. They won second place in the competitive independent walking group category, edging out the ever-popular Lawn Chair Ladies. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter

Heh heh heh. Let that be a lesson to you. Be careful of you might end up like this very foolish looking man who dances with canoe paddles.

The beaver that lives in trees

I think it safe to say that everyone knows that beavers live in water, leaving its safety only to forage on land or to sleep inside a lodge. While they eat both aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants, through much of the year, especially in winter, much of their diet consists of the bark and twigs of trees, especially poplar.

Beavers aren’t alone in their fondness for poplar. In the rodent group, there resides another species that also eats bark, twigs, and opening leaves of poplar. Porcupines eat woody material and, like beavers, possess a long intestinal pouch full of bacteria to digest cellulose. Unlike beavers, however, porcupines don’t cut down trees to access meals. They climb trees using their impressive climbing gear: huge claws and rough-skinned feet.

Apart from starvation and falling out of trees, Porcupines face another challenge. Some are shot by humans because they damage trees; others die when they cross highways or stop to glean salt from the asphalt. Porcupines are slow moving animals built for climbing, not running, and thus are prone to being hit by cars. They need not run from predators because they own a powerful defence: modified hairs known as quills.

In the vast history of our natural life, Jon and I have come across only a single porcupine that was hit by a car in the Sierras. Which doesn’t mean our paths haven’t crossed. I was fascinated to read in Dietland Muller-Swarze book that beavers are the only animal where the female young are recorded to disperse greater distances than the males – except for one other. You guessed it, the porcupine. As winter is a great time for spotting them keep your eyes pealed for these “Tree Beavers”.

But there is one silly image out there that is soo foolish I can’t even bring my self to write about it at all. Even if I did, I’m sure you know every single thing I would be likely to say. If you’ve spent any time on this website at all you’ll know IMMEDIATELY where this is. And if you’re new I’ll give you a clue. It starts with a “B”.

Skip tells the truth about beavers

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 13 - 2017Comments Off on Skip tells the truth about beavers

This is a fantastic article about Skip Lisle’s upcoming beaver ecology presentation in Maine. It says everything about beavers you ever wanted to read in print – pointing out their importance to wetlands and wildlife, and challenging folks to be smarter than a beaver and save money by doing it.  In addition to all this it permanently lays to rest the age-old question as to whether the  man that Martinez secretaries once clustered to the windows to watch install a pipe shirtless has, in fact, matured well.

The answer is, yes.

Beaver ecology talks set for Belfast, Liberty

Beaver expert, inventor and entrepreneur Skip Lisle of Beaver Deceivers International will speak in Belfast and Liberty on how to install deceivers and other devices designed to protect human infrastructure, wetlands and beavers.

The assumption is that we cannot outsmart beavers so we have to kill them,” Lisle said in a news release. “I’ve spent my life inventing and installing a number of devices that permanently outmaneuver beavers. I’ve helped communities across the country and in Poland save huge sums of money, and wetlands in the process.”

Lisle’s talk will demonstrate how towns can save thousands of dollars by permanently protecting roads and culverts from beavers. He will also cover the history of beavers in Maine, and the essential role they play in creating habitat and maintaining healthy aquatic systems.

“I don’t know how many people understand just how important beavers are ecologically,” he said. “Without beavers, we basically wouldn’t have wetlands. We can coexist with them; it just takes some creativity and commitment.

“Many people do not know that wetlands are one of the richest habitats, with a greater density of life than anywhere else on land,” Lisle said. “We have to approach the problems we have with beavers intelligently. It is our obligation as stewards. But, we also need to be smart with our money. The human and machine hours it takes to constantly repair roads, destroy dams and kill beavers is really a squandering of public funds. And it never solves the problem because beavers will always return to the site.”

Ahh, Skip, you do this so well. It seems like just the right things to say tumble effortlessly out of your lips at exactly the moment when people need to hear them. The reporter covering this story was obviously impressed because got the entire story down beautifully. Come to think of it, it’s kind of amazing that at both ends of the country there will be important beaver ecology discussions happening on February 22. Now if only we could just get some started in the middle.

This has to be my favorite part of the article:

Of the hundreds of conflict sites where he has worked, Lisle has yet to find one he could not solve. Consequently, he has never had to kill, or recommend killing, a single beaver. Skip serves as a selectman in his hometown of Grafton, Vt., where deceivers are a line item in the budget, and all roads are fully beaver-proof.

Did you read that? I didn’t know Skip was a selectman. When did that happen? I need to pay better attention. But in Grafton EVERY ROAD HAS CULVERT PROTECTION!!!  This is a beaver utopia that we can only fantasize about. In fact I’m fantasizing right now. If it could happen in Grafton, why not all over Vermont? Or New England? Or the country?

“Many people do not know that wetlands are one of the richest habitats, with a greater density of life than anywhere else on land,” Lisle said. “We have to approach the problems we have with beavers intelligently. It is our obligation as stewards. But, we also need to be smart with our money. The human and machine hours it takes to constantly repair roads, destroy dams and kill beavers is really a squandering of public funds. And it never solves the problem because beavers will always return to the site.”

Sometimes I just get that contented feeling of being a child asleep in the back seat after a long day at the beach  on the car ride home. The happy adults are in the front seat and totally have everything under control. There is nothing I need to do, and everything is going to be okay. Ahh
Since I don’t need to be mature right now, I’m going to surrender to the very inappropriate impulse to post this for obvious reasons:

Beaver Kindness and Beaver Ignorance

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 12 - 20171 COMMENT

bob n janeYesterday, our beloved field-researcher Bob Kobres, (the retired UGA librarian who’s always up to date on the latest eco-science) offered to man the website while I’m away beavering in Oregon. You must provide him with every opportunity to entertain, and greet him enthusiastically.  Here is Bob and his wife Jane with Jon when they came to Martinez for the beaver festival a few years ago. I am certain whatever arises in my absence you will learn much and  it will surely not be misspelled. Thank you Bob for stepping up to the plate!

Now we’re off to Scotland for a ridiculous story I hope doesn’t gain altitude. Our friends assure is that it is a year old, and was a non-event when it actually happened (which explains the sunny conditions in the video). It’s in the Daily Mail which is not afforded any regard. Anyway, remember: do not try this at home.

Chef is attacked by a wild beaver after going to investigate a mysterious brown creature on the grass verge

Ross Smith was attacked by the beaver when he investigated the brown creature.Wildlife experts yesterday issued a safety warning – after a chef was attacked by a wild beaver.

Ross Smith was driving along a country road with his friends when they spotted a mysterious brown creature on the grass verge. When the 20-year-old got out of the car and went to investigate, the animal turned nasty and, snarling, leapt at him.

The 3ft long beaver is believed to be one of a colony of the animals living wild in Lintrathen Loch, near Kirriemuir in Angus. xtraordinary mobile phone camera footage of Mr Smith’s encounter now been posted on the internet, prompting a leading academic to warn the public not to approach the furry rodents.

Although it is not clear what provoked the beaver to attack, one of his friends can be heard asking: ‘Is that a platypus?’ Mr Smith, who works in a cafe in Edzell, captured the encounter on his mobile phone and shared it online.

facepalmFirst of all. A platypus? Really? Just how drunk WERE you? And second of all, did you notice that the animal was cornered between you and the hedge? Did you never think it might be a poor decision to corner an animal who has teeth sharp enough to take down trees? And third of all, “the wildlife experts issued a warning?”REALLY? Who exactly are these experts that understand risky beaver behavior? I mean they must be a little long in the tooth themselves since your country hasn’t had beavers for 500 years. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for just making up a sentence like that?

Let’s leave that silly article behind us and talk about Sunday gifts, shall we?  Just in time for their pub crawl story there was a generous donation from a delightful shop called “Cast of Characters” out of Portland Oregon. The artist (Mary Ann Dabritz) does brass creations of animals as door knockers, drawer pulls, etc. And she very kindly sent us this beaver bottle opener which I know will be in a bidding war of its own.  You should go peruse her shop and see the wonders! Thank you Mary Ann.

Back in December I told you about the very special tile I received as a present showing a beaver on a lodge and a couple canoeing. It was made by the very impressive Natalie Blake Studios who do textured stunning Wall Art. Their are hired to do museums and public spaces and their backsplashes and pottery are breathtaking. I wrote them how much I loved the piece and the woman who made it (Cynthia, the second from the left in this photo) actually wrote back. The studio is in Vermont. And she said how her 5 year old son loved beavers, how in preparing  herself for making my tile, she went on a beaver trek with Patti Smith (author of The Beavers of Popple’s Pond) and actually met the old blind beaver Willow and fed her apples.

CaptureIs everyone in Vermont wonderful? This seemed like a sign that I should inquire about a possible donation. It was a long shot, since their tiles are much in demand and expensive to ship. But her son loved beavers, so it was worth a shot. After a little discussion they sent me a lovely 8×8 botanical tile. Honestly the photo doesn’t do it justice. The surface is textured and rippled, and demands to be touched. You will have to come see it yourself. This is very similar to the grouping shown on the left which sells for over 1000 dollars. Here is the tile. It’s only flaw is that it pairs beautifully with the one I was given, which means I might need to bid on it myself.donated tile




Beaver Lessons from Everywhere

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 11 - 2017Comments Off on Beaver Lessons from Everywhere

It isn’t every morning you wake up to beaver appreciation in Pennsylvania, Maine and Delaware all at once. This might, in fact, be the only morning it has ever happened. Let’s appreciate the serendipity and just go along for the ride, shall we?

Starting with our most distant national cousins, there’s a hunting column by the former head of the State Sportsman Alliance – call it a surprising twist from Maine by George Smith.

My father’s wisdom on Sunday hunting, moose, beaver and more

I have had the privilege of living in Maine all my life and being able to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. As we all know, this opportunity is fast disappearing and we must think very carefully before extending open seasons that would jeopardize any species of wildlife.

Leave it to beavers

For those folks who have the good fortune to travel from Readfield Corner to Mount Vernon Village, I have some good and some not-so-good news. I have in the past criticized the DOT for the condition of this section of Route 41 and am more than pleased that they are finally fixing it up. If the weather holds out and the coffee breaks aren’t too frequent, come fall they will have a good stretch of road.

But I am concerned about all the money the fish and wildlife department is spending on a dam by the old chimney at West Mount Vernon. A couple of beavers let loose at that site would have done the job for free. I just don’t understand the thinking of these folks, who are supposed to be so concerned about wildlife.

Just think what a great tourist attraction it would have been to have beaver maintaining a dam and keeping the level of water on Taylor Pond where it should be. Upstream to the north they have two dams and are doing a splendid job of keeping Hopkins Stream suitable for many species of wildlife. Now we are going to have a mess of rocks and cement.

Well, my my my. A man who realizes where water and wildlife come from.  Even though I don’t relish hunting, I can see that this is a man you can form alliances with and get things done. He understands that beavers mean more game for him to hunt, but also just to appreciate. I, for one, don’t think that kind of thinking is a deal-breaker. Even though our ultimate destinations might be far apart, part of the pathway we walk together. So be it. Let beavers do their jobs. This is the kind of hunter that helps you think about focusing on the environmental ‘politics of the possible’.

On to Delaware where a nice Dad takes his daughters out for a nature hike and a game of ‘Shadow Tag’ near a beaver pond.

Beavers, fox skulls and February shadow stomping

We were walking back from checking out fresh beaver activity along Freeman Highway. The new bicycle and walking trail edges up to a marshy area watered by the 16-acre White’s Pond that borders the new Showfield community. Could there be anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon?

The beaver, or beavers, that had felled three or four trees with just their teeth were nowhere in sight. But they had expertly dropped one six-inch diameter tree squarely across a shallow stream that was just barely moving. Fresh shavings from their work surrounded the stump.

While we were admiring the work of the beavers and the fox skull with its sharp white canine teeth, Wayne and Mary Lou happened by. They were off on an afternoon amble. “I spotted that beaver activity back in December,” said Wayne. “My first question and it’s still my question: Where did they come from?” From the interior of Sussex?

We speculated for a while. They had to cross a lot of territory to come east from some beaver pond in the interior of Sussex. Did they grow up along Beaverdam Road, Route 23, that passes a few freshwater ponds – prime beaver territory – as it meanders southwest from Five Points toward Long Neck? Or maybe from Beaverdam Creek? Cave Neck Road and Round Pole Branch Road cross that creek east of Milton where it flows toward the Broadkill River. Beavers dammed it years ago.

Nature yields amazing treasures for those who get out in the thick of it all and look carefully.

Yes it does. And we love how you are raising your children to pay attention to it. The mystery of the beaver finding its way from one body of water to another is not really hard to solve. They travel many miles over land, and even more over water, (and salt water) looking to claim a homestead of their own. Just yesterday there was a young beaver found in a carport in Pittsburg and taken to the Lindsey Wildlife Museum. Resettling an entire continent is a big job, and they don’t have a moment to lose.

Finally an evening of beaver education from Hamlin Pennsylvania. This one without the actual beavers.

Learn about beavers in free, family event

CaptureHAMLIN – On Thursday, Feb. 16, join Audubon naturalist Kathy Dodge, Lindsay George and their beaver puppet helpers in a free family program at the Salem Library in Hamlin from 6 until 7:30 p.m.

The program, titled ‘Chew On This!’ discusses the wonders of wetlands.

Everyone can make an edible beaver lodge to take home.

Well now, I’m not exactly sure that this edible beaver education will include a discussion of their importance to water and wildlife, but it’s Pennsylvania and we’re grading on a curve.   Remember 7 years ago there was a beaver night at a nature center one state over  taught by a trapper, that I mocked so soundly I got mean letters from the trappers aunt. Puppets and naturalists are better that conibears and corpses. Right?

The edible lodge idea is done by The Lands Council folk in Washington.  And it’s on the list of activities on our teachers page. The idea is to let kids use pretzel sticks and frosting to make a lodge, which is  cute – although not wildly sanitary I imagine, since there all sharing tubs of frosting. But laying those concerns aside, I’m not really sure what it teaches exactly. I tend to think there’s an optimal amount of stimulation that kids learn best at. Too much and and too little both produce failed results. But the world’s a big place, and it needs all kinds of teachers and all kinds of lessons about beavers.

Now this isn’t frosting, but dam, its sweet. I stumbled upon it this morning and thought I’d share.

Just born beavers



A right way and a wrong way to teach about beavers

   Posted by heidi08 On February - 10 - 2017Comments Off on A right way and a wrong way to teach about beavers

I have given myself a strict Sunday rule for only posting good news about the silent auction. But this is soooooo good I can’t wait, and also relevant. So I’m busting it. I was crazy impressed by Jen Richmond’s beaver painted on a saw for the exhibit. I had contact information for the curator so I found out how to write Jen right away my plea for the auction. Wednesday, she kindly wrote back and said she’d love to support us and wanted to donate a small saw, which would be easier to ship. Then this morning I saw this in the papers. I just hope I tugged her heart strings successfully before everyone lines up to tug her wallet strings. This is smart work and it will SELL.

beaver saw

Beaver Tales art exhibit supports conservation

Beavers are more than just the mascot of Oregon State University. The beaver is also Oregon’s state animal. And with the help of SPARK, OSU’S Year of Art and Science and The Wetlands Conservancy (TWC), the animal who carries a negative stigma will be brought into a new light in a traveling exhibit called Beaver Tales.

The coordinator for Beaver Tales through The Wetlands Conservancy, Sara Vickerman, hopes this traveling exhibit helps bring awareness to beavers and their importance to the environment.

“We hope to raise awareness of the ecological importance of beavers, increase the public’s appreciation of them and get people involved in conservation,” Vickerman said. “Where beavers cause conflicts, we hope managers will look for solutions that benefit both people and beavers.”

“Our goal is to learn more about how we can coexist and work with beavers to conserve and restore natural systems,” Lev said.


The curator Sara Vickerman sounded familiar so I ran back thru my files and found out that she used to work for Wildlife Defenders. In fact she was the good soul that gave us 50 copies of the issue featuring Sherri Tippie the same year that Sherri donated all those clay beavers, which you may remember. I introduced Sara to our councilman Mark Ross who sherri's gift 003was interested in a local showing of the collection. She said this exhibit was the single hardest thing she ever did, taking many more hours than she was ever paid for, coaxing artists into making beavers plus making sure it would all come together. It was also the thing she loved doing the most and was the very proudest of.   She really feels it will lead to beavers being seen in a new way.  But advised Ross that she didn’t think the collection would travel well and recommended we do one of our own, instead.

Sara, I really, really believe you about the amount of work this took. You did an amazing job. And Mark, good luck with that, is all I can say. As my beaver dance card is filled.

Meanwhile Quebec has a new beaver for show and tell at Science North.

Young beaver latest addition to animal family at Science North

A young male beaver is the latest addition to the level three Northern ecosystem at Science North. The yet-to-be-named animal was born and raised at the Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien in St-Félicien, Quebec. He can’t be released back into the wild.

“This new addition will give our visitors the opportunity to learn more about young beaver behaviour and experience a brand new personality. We are excited to have both beavers at Science North for guests to visit with and learn about,” says Henson.

Science North is now asking for the public’s help in choosing one of three possible Innu names for the animal ambassador. The names pay respect to the traditional territory the young beaver comes from. They are: Kashkuan (cloud), Kashkuanashku (it is foggy), and Kashkuanapan (it is a misty, foggy morning). 

Obviously if the kidnapped sacrifice beaver was going to be ANY use at all, you would want to educate the public by naming him the Innu word for WATER. And teach children how essential saving water is in these days of climate change. But whatever. Go ahead and name him fog and teach that the other beavers have big  teeth like the cartoons but his just haven’t grown in yet.

Hrmph. If you really wanted to educate the public about beavers,  you have an open air exhibit of a working flow device on the grounds with an active beaver colony living in peace. And instead of using a cute gimmick to give a nod to the natives teach by naming him ‘fog’ your program would show how they understood the beaver  was an asset.

But hey, I’m pretty sure I got more native wisdom from my computer game.