I must be a very suspicious person. Because when city council members say their policy is to “relocate” beavers who are causing problems and not kill them I immediately think of parents telling their child the family pet went to “live on the farm”.
In other words: I don’t believe it.
They’re are extra delicate around the public in Langley, apparently. which is in British Columbia just between Washington and Vancouver. Folks are primed there for beaver outrage and require a pretty detailed story to have their alarm buttons turned off.
Ted Lightfoot was walking his beagle, Homer, along the trails near 56 Avenue and 272 Street in Gloucester on Jan. 7, when Homer caught wind of something near West Creek.
The dog darted off the perimeter path toward the water, leading his owner to the scene of a large beaver, lying motionless inside a hunting trap, with a second unsprung trap close by, just inches below the water.
“I was just appalled to see this beautiful animal with its broken neck in a trap,” said Lightfoot’s wife, Lynda, who came out to see the beaver shortly after it was found.
“I mean this is — on top of everything else — this is the start of Canada’s 150th birthday, and what are we doing but killing these beavers? In my way of thinking, they are not a nuisance issue here. They’re not flooding a farmer’s field or a house or anything.
A typical opening to a beaver story. Man walking his dog is horrified to come across a dead beaver in a trap. A typical start to the ‘why do we need to use traps’ story. Cue the city worker who can explain how destructive beavers are and its the only way.
According to the Township, a professional trapper was called in after multiple beaver dams were discovered at the detention pond in December.
The dams were backing up the storm water system on 272 Street, and following “typical beaver management practices,” the Township first attempted to remove some of the dams by hand, said Aaron Ruhl, Township manager of engineering and construction services.
“We’ll monitor the site and then if things are being rebuilt fairly quickly, then we’ll look at maybe putting in pond levelers, which at this detention pond site isn’t feasible because of the size, the (number) of beaver dams in there and the importance to the storm water system,” he said.
You see we tried taking out the sticks but those darned beavers just kept putting them back. And we really, really need that pond for the storm water system. Because you know, it’s our concrete system for slowing water down and it doesn’t work well with a series of natural systems that would do the same thing. Understand?
There are two poem fragments I hear in my head when I read these kind of stories. It is just the way my mind works. This is the first one from Dr. Seuss’s Grinch:
His fib fooled the child, he patted her head
gave her a drink and then sent her to bed
And when cindy loo hoo went to bed with her cup
He went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up.
The second poem fragment actually bothers me more. Because its the”tearful response of the person who voted to cause harm in the first place”. I’m on the city council but I’m shocked! shocked to learn that we voted for beaver trapping! It’s from the Alice thru the Looking Glass and its just as apt.
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Councillor Petrina Arnason, who also witnessed the dead beaver, said she is very upset that the rodents are being trapped.
“I’m extremely unhappy. I think that on a number of levels that this is not something that the Township should be doing,” she said.
In particular, Arnason said she is upset because council recently passed her motion to have an integrated storm water management plan created for Gloucester.
“So the idea behind that is … prior to any further redevelopment in that area by Beedie — who’s the primary land holder there, which is why they are charged with doing this — they have to create a holistic approach to how it is that they are going to manage that area as a watershed,” she said.
That includes wildlife and the beavers, who are attracted to the wetland habitat of the area. Arnason believes trapping them now, prior to the storm water management plan being adopted, is premature.
“I’m just honestly incensed that in light of this, and in my expectation that this (storm water management plan) is being done in order that meets that commitment that council put forward, that we are now going out there and trapping beavers.
“They are what’s considered to be a keystone species, and there is lots of literature that indicates that they are very much a part of an integrated approach to how to manage wetlands, and that conflict resolution with beavers, a progressive approach, would not look at ‘let’s just exterminate them.’”
Even my wounded suspicious nature gets confused by that last paragraph. When I hear words like that I so want to see a potential beaver hero. What if she was outvoted and really wanted to use other means to control the problem?
She’s still a ‘walrus’. And I will tell you why. Because she uses words like ‘holistic’ instead of words like ‘pragmatic’ and ‘cost saving’. In this instance, holistic is a synonym for ‘bleeding heart’ and ‘don’t listen to me‘. If she wants to get their attention she should be talking about investing taxpayer dollars for a temporary solution.
The entire region is full of beaver polite doublespeak. Which just terrifies me.
In the Langleys, beaver-proofing can include installing metal mesh wraps around tree trunks, and modifying their dams to reduce flooding. When the beavers can’t be discouraged, sometimes they have to be relocated.
And that’s when licensed trappers are called in.
“Trapping is our last resort.” said Aaron Ruhl, the Township’s manager of engineering and construction services. “We prefer not to.”
Ruhl says at any given time, the Township is monitoring multiple beaver dams with the potential to cause problems. “We’ve got sites we visit weekly,” Ruhl told the Times.
Before a trapper is called in, Township policy calls for trying alternative beaver management methods that can include installing fences and or barriers around culverts, drains, structures, and trees to keep beavers away as well as wrapping heavy gauge wire mesh around trees.
Arnason points to the SPCA best practices, which state that the organization “does not support killing beavers for nuisance reasons.”
Instead, the SPCA suggests methods such as relocation, putting up fences to deter them from building dams or running flexible corrugated pipe through existing dams to control water levels.
Kyle Simpson, Langley City manager of engineering operations, said a colony of beavers recently had to be rousted from the Baldi Creek area after alternative beaver-proofing methods failed.
“They (the beavers that get relocated) are treated very delicately,” Simpson says.“They will not be harmed at all.”
Right off the bat, when folks discuss relocation FIRST and installing a flow device SECOND they are just plain lying that the beavers are well treated. I’m sorry, but they just are. This isn’t Yakima or Sherri Tippie that comes in a relocates the entire family to safer ground. It’s Jake from ‘Critter gone’ who uses a snare to trap the single beaver and dump him into some bigger pond where he’ll have no family and no food cache for the winter and will likely die.
What worries me is that when the civic powers use flowery ecological language to describe what they’re doing they put to sleep the exact kind of public outrage that could be ignited to motivate real beaver action. That’s why they use it.
Also it just bugs me when they use Cheryl’s lovely photo (taken in an urban setting where beavers were successfully managed) to do it.