KOLO stealKOLO is sorry for their rape and pillage of Cheryl’s photo and now that the story has aired and they have finished making use of their plunder, they inform me they will take it down.

Thank you for your email and bringing to our attention the uncredited beaver photo that was used as part of KOLO’s newscast last week. We apologize for any confusion and we have deleted the picture from our production file. Again, thank you for your email and we appreciate your viewership.

Scott Magruder
KOLO 8 News Now
Assignment Editor/Web Producer

Thank you so much Scott, for your kind apology for the “CONFUSION”. Copyright law is so confusing, how could you possibly know that a beautiful photo you find on the web is not yours to use in your for profit newscast. I’m sure you don’t have access to lawyers or legal advice yourself. And its mighty white of you to offer to close the barn door now that the horses are gone. Thanks.


Beavers Are Gnawing Problem for Michigan Co-op

Beaver-Damage-21A Michigan co-op had to gnaw on this problem: Beavers knocked out power to a distribution line in advance of fast-approaching winter weather along the Betsie River in northwestern Michigan.

“We had a fairly small outage, but when line crews showed up to make repairs they found that beavers had toppled a tree into one of our lines,” said Rachel Johnson, member services manager for Cherryland Electric Cooperative, based in Grawn.

More than a half-dozen birch trees, including some nearly three feet in diameter, had been felled not far from the co-op’s right of way on Nov. 19. Several others also showed telltale hourglass-shaped gnawing characteristic of beaver damage.

Hmm, okay. This sounds like a beaver problem, hourglass is telltale beaver chewing. But wait there’s more.

Some of the trees were stripped of their bark, something beavers do in late autumn as they store away bark as winter food.

Stripping trees of their bark? In late autumn? To store for food? Just the bark?

Well, I’m not the world’s expert on every single thing that beavers possibly do, and I only lived with them for 9 years, but I have NEVER seen them strip bark from a tree. And store it. How would they store this bark? I mean they couldn’t anchor it like branches in their food cache because bark is so light it would float away. Are you suggesting they have a pantry?

I’ve seen them CHEW trees, and bite off branches which they can then strip the bark from to eat. But I’ve never seen them chew bark off a standing tree, and could not find any information about this fanciful occurrence.  There are many reports about squirrels chewing bark, rabbits, porcupines and even a few horses. Bears scratch off bark, and deer and rub it off when they’re trying to remove antlers.

But not beavers.

I’m not sure if this confusion is from the Co-op, the reporter or both. But they apparently mean well which is not what always happens in Michigan.

Co-op employees made no effort to remove them or disturb their lodge sites beyond the pine trees near the river’s edge, said Johnson. “We’re hoping we can all live together in peace and harmony with the beavers.”


Beaver and Taiga

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 23 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

The Boreal forest (or Taiga) is the largest biomes in the world and our  greatest ally in the seemingly unwinnable war against carbon. It consists of hardwood and deciduous forests occurring between the 50 and 60 latitude belt across Canada, parts of North America, Scandinavia and Finland. The climate where it grows has short wet summers and long cold winters. It is always in danger of being logged out, and every time we lose a little of it the earth itself pays the price.

Guess who helps Taiga do what she needs to do?

Beavers restore dead wood in boreal forests

CaptureDead wood has decreased dramatically in the boreal zone due to intensive forest management. Several species dependent on dead wood have suffered from this decline. Beavers dam water systems, raising floods into surrounding shore forests. The flooding kills the trees due to oxygen deprivation.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, compared dead wood quantities and types in southern Finland. The shore forests of beaver sites had significantly larger quantities of dead wood compared to non-beaver sites. Beavers use wood for nutrition and as the building material for their nests and dams. This wood resource is used up by the beavers’ actions within a few years, forcing the beavers to change location. This creates several dead wood hotspots in the area, benefitting a large number of species.

Certain dead wood types have become exceptionally rare in managed forests, e.g. standing dead trees (snags) and deciduous dead wood. Beavers create a wide variety of dead wood types, but they particularly produce standing and deciduous dead wood. The dead wood-dependent species living at beaver sites may differ from those found in managed forests or fire areas.

BP.orgHonestly beavers have been featured in so many Phys.org articles this year I think they need a new section entirely. Don’t you? How much more proof to we need? Wait, don’t answer that.

I’ll see if I can float the idea, but in the meantime, you should amuse yourself with the grisly native story sent to me by Dorrie Langley of the Martinez Arts Association. See if you don’t read it as a hard hitting metaphor for the devastating fur trade. It was collected and published by Russell K Greater.

why 3 why 4 Replace the word ‘eat’ with the word ‘consume’ and it works for me. Trappers definitely stink. And besides it certainly explains this!

The importance of counting beavers

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 22 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

KOLO steal

First a sorry follow up to the Sparks NV beaver story, I heard from Sherry of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition that 5 beavers were reportedly trapped over the weekend. And just for added insult the news station chose to STEAL Cheryl’s lovely photo of happy urban beaver to discuss why urban beavers couldn’t possibly be tolerated. Letters were written.

Speaking of the bumpy path of urban beavers, I was realizing that our chapter would have more weight if we could say something about how common this issue is in the country. There isn’t any data base that would possibly tell us that, but one special place that I happen to know of and have access to. I went through and did a spread sheet of all the beaver stories in or near cities I reported this year on the website. Now mind you, I don’t cover EVERY SINGLE story, but consider this a minimum. Cities all across the country, from Bakersfield CA to Ackron OH, San Marcos TX and Cumberland RI. There have been 107 so far in 38 states, with various complaints including flooding and chewing trees. The vast majority end in depredation, but it was heartening to see that a fair number ended this year in mitigation.

2015 map with wordsCalifornia and Massachusetts are apparently numbers 1 & 2 on the list, although assume some observer bias because one is the state I live in and one is the state Beaver solutions lives in. I’d love to have this data for the past 5 years, so we could spot trends and changes, but I don’t think I’m that patient. Even the states missing this year I know I’ve reported on in the past.

Well, except Hawaii.

This was a lot of work, so now a treat from the Cheyenne Zoo via LK. Heartening to see Ginger doing what she can do, regardless of the odds.

Fascine party!

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 21 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

restoring the creekWorth A Dam got a grand lesson on urban creek stewardship yesterday, from the woman who literally wrote the book on the subject (New books coming out in January). Ann Riley of the SF Waterboard came out for a workshop and planting with some interns from the Watershed Steward Program of the California Conservation Core, and many friends who wanted to learn her techniques. Our eager city engineer showed up as well, and Worth A Dam was there with boots (er, sandals in Jon’s case) on the ground to make it all happen. Check out the grand photos by Ron Bruno.making fascines First off they took a field trip of the standing willow by the corp yard, then did many cuttings of the nearly dormant trees, then fastened the bundles into “FASCINES” that they planted into trenches around and above the beaver habitat. Meanwhile Jon got Cottonwood stakes from a friendly stand on pacheco and they pounded them into the moist soil. trenchThere were nearly 20 helpers in all, and the major work was done by midday, when Riley was headed to lunch with local Flood Control . Theoretically the bank should be stabilized and covered with new growth by March, because things will be dormant and rooting undergound as they should be for a while. It was a good feeling day, and everyone was cheerful and excited about the project. Here’s what it should look like when it grows. Wouldn’t that be tempting if you were a beaver?

In lots of places, school groups are used to fashion the fascines. How would this day be if you were a second grader in Quebec? Never mind the French, this is easy to understand.

Seems like old times…

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 20 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

There’s been a confusing amount of good news lately. A reader of this website could get the mistaken impression that things were all rosy for beavers and beaver understanding everywhere. You might think that everyone wants them in urban and rural settings to take care of amphibians, water storage, and salmonids. You might think that people had stopped blaming them for power blackouts and giardiasis outbreaks.

But you’d be wrong.

Beaver Blamed for Taking Down Utility Pole

A State Trooper spotted the tree down on the wires at Circle Drive in Roaring Brook Township early Tuesday morning. Crews on the scene tell Eyewitness News, a beaver living in a nearby pond gnawed on the tree, toppling it on the lines. It doesn’t appear anyone lost any power, and the tree will be removed.

Now that’s more like it….blaming a fallen pole on a beaver even though the power company is supposed to trim away anything that can fall on lines during a storm. Anything in the standard nuisance line? Maybe with a euphemism about ‘removing’ them instead of admitting the lethal truth?

Plans to Remove Nuisance Beavers in Sparks

SPARKS, Nev. – The City of Sparks has obtained a permit from the Nevada Department of Wildlife to remove nuisance beavers from a drainage ditch along Sparks Boulevard.

beaver4“It’s basically the North Truckee drain and it’s the end of that rather elaborate irrigation system that comes off the Truckee River and heads into Spanish Springs and then the water drains back towards the Truckee River,” said Chris Healy of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

“When they build the dams they need material to do it and they start in on the trees. Some were wrapped and they still did damage to the point where we lost that tree,” Healy said. “That’s the real tragedy because what about the birds that utilize the area, use the trees to roost in and nest in. It’s a better area when we have trees surrounding waterways.”

“We do not allow beavers to be moved; you could be moving disease to a healthy beaver population,” Healy said. “Also, too many beavers in one place leads to trees being felled by those beavers. Anywhere there is appropriate habitat in the state of Nevada, beavers are there.”

Bonus points for getting NDOW to call it a drainage ditch, I’m sure that’s what you wrote on your permit, and they’re just reading it verbatim. Good work enlisting the services of Chris Healy to turn environmentalists against each other and spread the lie that you need to kill beavers to save birds. Near as I can tell Chris is the public [dis]information officer for NDOW, which has a swanky website promoting what a great place Nevada is for everyone that’s not a beaver.

And they TRIED working with residents to do this humanely, look how hard they tried! 2 and a half feet of chicken wire! If beavers had been chickens this would never have happened.


Sparks is just outside Reno, which puts it firmly in Sierra Wildlife Coalition territory. In fact the article features a slanted interview with a beaver defender who calls them ‘wonderful creatures’ and says that traps are inhumane. If I can get a hold of her I’ll advise her to call them out for calling a living stream a drainage ditch, and show them some data on how beavers help birds. My personal preference is always to try and be ‘less huggy, more sluggy’ – to coin a phrase.

The fact that the beavers will be killed doesn’t sit well with some residents. A small group gathered at the corner of Rock and Victorian Avenue Thursday night with signs they hoped would get their message across.

“Beavers are our friends, they are nature’s engineers,” said Connie DeAngelis. She’s heard that the traps are going to be placed underwater.

“A beaver can stay alive up to 15 minutes underwater so for them to put a beaver through this is tortuous treatment to kill it and eliminate it because it’s eating trees, because it’s doing the things it’s supposed to do, it’s just hideous,” DeAngelis said. “It’s sickening and there are other ways to relocate beavers, there has been a lot of studies done. The fact that they wouldn’t look for a more humane way to do this is very disappointing to me and to a lot of people that don’t know about this yet.”

I just friended Connie on Facebook. Lets see if we can sent a little beaver help her way. The thing I don’t understand is why the news knows about the permit. It’s not like every depredation permit is reported on the 5 oclock rundown. Even though it should be, since you’re taking the beavers away from everyone. The best possible explanation would be that some friend at NDOW let it leak. But I doubt that. I can’t imagine the city has to announce when they are getting a depredation permit. Martinez certainly didn’t.

So how is this public? Hmmm.

Tree planing today. Wish our heroic workers luck!

Beaver, Urban Settings & You (B.U.S.Y.)

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 19 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver, Urban Settings & You (B.U.S.Y.)

BUSYYesterday was the first official conference call for the urban beaver chapter of Pollock’s next restoration guide. While I was eagerly waiting for the call I made this very fun graphic and fielded dates for the followup meeting of the art committee of the PRMCC. Then I met my coauthors, Greg Lewallen and Kaegan Scully Engelmeyer. Greg is a Master’s of Environmental Management student at Portland college one of the four authors of the initial guidebook. Kaegen is the Urban Land steward for The Wetlands Conservation, which is partially funding the paper.

I should have known the conversation was going to be  weirdly ideal when it started out with an alarmed discussion of two beavers that were mysteriously killed on conservancy land, and how upsetting and confusing it was. It would be Kaegen’s job that day to go find out what he could, and we discussed bringing our kits for necropsy at UCDavis and whether there was an equivalent facility in Portland.

As the conversation proceeded, I found out what was expected of our 20 page segment and when the important deadlines were coming. We went over a rough timeline and I mentally marked those places where I would disagree or have something to add. I didn’t say them aloud of course because my coauthors were so new to me I wanted to get a read on them before I leaped into the fray. I always struggle with myself to sound science-y and not too beaver-huggy, even when I’m conferring with people I regard as friends. I needn’t have bothered. Every single contribution I offered was listened to and regarded as important.

I was regarded as important.

The work we had done in Martinez, all nine grueling years of it, was regarded as groundbreaking. All the ways we had focused public support and educated about beavers. I was an expert – THE expert – on urban beavers. If I had been anyone else I’m sure I would have been suffused with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Instead I felt like this:

falling_grand_piano_cd_cover_by_kvirtanen[1] Jon had zero idea how to reassure me afterwards, because he was enormously excited and thought I should be. I tried to explain that I had cultivated my beaver acumen entirely in opposition. Raiding information stores and firing blasts of information at slow-moving establishment tanks like a rebel on the run. It’s a vast, vast understatement to say I’m unused to being a welcomed voice among brilliant beaver colleagues.

By the end of the two hour conversation, I had signed up for the introduction and lit review, the segment on outreach and education, and the segment on beaver challenges, and obviously any beaver photos that might be needed. We are supposed to have a rough version by the first of the year. We set up another call and they wondered what financial arrangement I would need to be willing to come to Portland next year to present our work in person because there would be so much interest in the work we had done.

So I guess it was a good day for urban beavers.


Beaver Mural in Martinez?

   Posted by heidi08 On November - 18 - 2015Comments Off on Beaver Mural in Martinez?

Last nights presentation at PRMCC was very cheerfully received and recommended for committee. The art review will make a recommendation then to City Council, and address any concerns or funding issues. I like all of these most responsible participants, and they were gracious and informed. One member asked if we knew anything more on the fate of the beavers.


Right at the end of the presentation Mario walked in the door complete with a mini mural for display, which he brought up to share with the committee  to oohs and ahhs. I love the brightness, the flow device, the children and the beavers. We’ll do some tweaking with the rest. But imagine how well this was received.

Tbeaver closehe very best part about last nights meeting was the coordinator clarifying the location and saying “oh I thought you meant the Martinez-Benicia bridge”

Hahahaha, I told her I planned to start smaller, but someday, someday.

workNo wait, I lied. The VERY best part of the meeting was when I saw this. I didn’t notice it until we were back at the house. In case you don’t recognize it this is the same kit Mario was forced to paint over originally. When I pointed this out, Mario beamed and said “He’s Back!”

littlemural 002