Beaver in our Midst

A guest article by Mike Settell

 

Beavers

Beavers

 

On June 26th, 2010, I inspected the South Fork of Mink Creek to document conditions of the Box Canyon road culvert that was being plugged by beaver.  Like many roads throughout the west, the South Fork Road parallels the creek and so problems with the road-creek interface are, at best, managed.  From its confluence with the West Fork of Mink Creek, the South Fork extends to its headwaters near the southern flank Scout Mountain in southwest Bannock County.  In the spring of 2010, I had seen no less than 25 beaver dams as far as the headwaters.   I was eager to see how the beaver were doing.

As I followed the South Fork upstream, I noticed that the dams I had seen the previous spring were failing, a sign that the beaver were no longer working in the area.  As I rode towards the Box Canyon Crossing, I observed more and more abandoned dams and receding water levels.  By the time I reached the end of the road, four out of five colonies were abandoned.

I continued riding through the canyon up to the gentle plateau that forms the upper South Fork drainage.   It was here that I hoped to see again the massive beaver ponds and the expanded willow acreage that ten years earlier was little more than dead sticks surrounding a marginal trampled, eroded stream.  Now, these colonies were also gone.   What once was a stream with approximately 35 potential cutthroat rearing ponds is now a silty, slithering stream, losing velocity and flowing muddily towards the Portneuf River.

At the Box Canyon road intersection, the plugged culvert was potentially damaging the road but Castor canadensis had created wetlands and deep ponds suitable for Yellowstone Cutthroat upstream of the culvert on the South Fork for two years.   Seeking a more synergistic approach, the West Side Ranger District’s biologists Chris Colt and I wanted to install a “Beaver Deceiver”.   A wire mesh panel attached to steel stakes, the Beaver Deceiver discourages beaver from plugging road culverts by confusing beaver’s hydrologic instinct.  It was the first such deceiver installed on the West Side.   When we arrived, there was no sign the beaver were in the area.  We installed the Deceiver in hopes that it might prove useful in the future.

 

Beaver dam in Box Canyon

Beaver dam in Box Canyon

 

Toponce Creek, Box Canyon, East Fork Mink Creek, and Rapid Creek are other streams where beaver were two years ago and are now MIA.  The Box Canyon colony created a pond that was so large that kids and parents were seen leaping from the top of the road and landing with a splash in the pond.  Now, it was little more than a mud pit for motor heads.  What happened to the beaver?

There are a number of plausible beaver removers.  The Caribou National Forest may want to remove the beaver that keep the maintenance crews busy digging out the mass of trees, mud and rocks from the culvert.   Recently, however, the District Ranger, Jeff Hammes, proposed relocating parts of the troublesome South Fork Road up and out the flood plain in part to allow beaver to co-exist in the Forest.   Indeed, the Caribou District has completed other non-lethal control measures such as wire wrapping beavers’ favorite trees near the Bannock Guard station to accommodate the beaver.  It was not consistent for them to trap them out.

Hobby trappers are another likely candidate.   Streams in the region are open to trapping so some folks kill and skin the beaver for fun and (some) profit.  During the last “Rendezvous” I attended at the local trapping supply hut, the regional buyer was paying on average $25 for a large pelt.  The buyer claimed his company’s warehouse in Burns, Oregon was full of unsold pelts.   There are a few trappers who seek the historical connection with trapping but in reality few of today‘s white trappers would survive long during the trapping hey-days of the 1820s.  But that‘s another story.   Some trappers might be induced to poach and are akin to hunters that kill a trophy buck, cut off the head and leave the carcass.  That said, poachers run the risk of getting caught.  Somewhat.

If the laws and rules are violated, trappers can be fined.  Some rules are found at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/ug/furWeed.pdf (Yes, that’s “weed” in the address.   Beaver are ranked with knapweed, thistle, and dyer’s woad).  In summary, these rules state trappers must:

  • label their traps with an indentifying tag that trace the trap to its owner;
  • purchase a trapping permit from IF&G;
  • trap within the season (approximately November through April),
  • complete a trapping report at the end of the season,
  • not trap in areas closed to trapping.

Toponce Creek was closed to trapping by IF&G five years ago and a trapper should know that it’s closed.  Admittedly, it’s not easy to find the regulations for trapping, so it’s understandable that a trapper may be unaware of closed areas, however, that has seldom been an effective defense for fish and game violations.  Violations for other game species are severe.

For taking an elk out of season, violators face a $500 fine, six month’s jail time, and loss of license for life.   Take a beaver illegally, and violators may lose $25 fine and loss of trapping privileges for a year.  Depending on the time of year the infraction occurs the poacher could trap again within one season.     (Idaho Fish and Game may levy a $1,000 fine for possession of an illegally taken animal, but I could find no record of that applied to a beaver poacher).  While there is scant deterrent for poaching, the low pelt values elevate the risk above the reward.  Who else might afford to take the risk?

 

Beaver dam in Box Canyon

Beaver dam in Box Canyon

 

County road crews dig out plugged culverts, golf course groundsmen save trees on the 17th fairway, riverside campground operators prevent flooding, riparian-sited hobby farmers keep fences up, and city managers work with residents whose apple trees have been cut by beaver.  Ranchers historically have shot beaver on site, but more recently, ranchers are teaming up with beaver because they recognize beaver keep water on the range.  Animals are also removed by car strikes, predators, disease, natural attrition and migration.  But typically, if the beaver have suitable forage such as occurs in the South Fork and other drainages, colonies will survive these other threats.  Who else would have an interest in systematically removing entire colonies in a reach?

Idaho Statute Title 36 Chapter 11, Section 36 (http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title36/T36CH11SECT36-1107.htm) requires the Idaho Department of Water resources certify whether the landowner is losing water flow due to beaver.  From this, one can see that water users might be culprits in beaver eradication.  Not to say that such filings don’t occur, but I have never heard of one and neither has the local Fish and Game conservation officer.   Hiring a water lawyer for 15 minutes would cover the maximum poaching fine if a poacher were caught.  In no case are water users justified in trespassing on Federal ground to remove beaver.  That’s due to a little known rule called Federal Reserve Water Rights, but more on that later.

In the past, some Idaho Fish and Game offices have issued a so-called nuisance permit to kill beaver with no follow-up or documentation on the number, location, and time beaver were killed.   When I conducted an informal survey of the eight regional offices in 1999, I found only two that maintained records of the nuisance permits.   Some offices reported issuing permits, “over the phone” with no documentation at all.  Indeed, it is most likely that many animals taken by water users are well below the population statistic radar and are lost to oblivion.

When working his last years for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Peter Skeene Ogden became remorseful about the declining population of the beaver.  He had reason to feel bad.  At that time, beaver were the equivalent to the oil of today and whoever controlled the beaver controlled the land.  So, in a vain attempt to keep Americans out of the Oregon Territory, the British government told the Company to embark on a scorched earth program and exterminate the beaver.  The effort failed, we got the Oregon Territory but in the process nearly all of the beaver were wiped out.  It must have felt like suicide for Ogden who trapped an average of 4,000 beaver per year for 10 years.

In describing his first visit to the Portneuf River near present day Pocatello in 1826, Ogden wrote,

“…when we encamped on a fine large fork commonly called Portneuf’s Fork in our travels this day our first four miles was over a low swampy country so much so we could not find a [camp]” and, “A finer country for beaver was never seen and not only in appearance but in reality, we shall certainly on our return pass some nights here, when the waters have subsided”.

(From “Snake Country Journals, April 2-3, 1826).

In Ogden’s time, it was an over-abundance of water that caused newcomers problems.  Today, it is the ever critical shortage of water but in both cases, it is the beaver that was and is the benefactor.   Will we amend our laws and statutes to save this animal?   Does it need saving?  Instances have been reported of irrigation companies dynamiting beaver dams on public land in order to increase the flow of water.   In southeast Idaho, court cases wind their way through the courts attempting to assign water flows from Federal land using practice that remains controversial because conservationists believe that America’s Forests are imbued with an inherent water right for wildlife and fire suppression.

To get more water companies can inflate flows temporarily by killing a beaver, breaching the beaver dam and then measuring the flow as the water gushes out for a short period.  This artificial high flow could inflate the flow rate for long enough to increase a junior users diversion rate.   What happens when the ponds finally drain?   This is the exact same scenario that occurred during the turn of the century with the Colorado River.    Flow was estimated during the wettest spring on record and consequently a small farm community called Los Angeles Basin swelled into a megalopolis.

While it’s not certain that this is the sole reason for the loss of the beaver in my area, the fact that the entire population was “trapped close” could have the effect of increasing the flows.  In any case, the beaver has to bear the brunt of man’s short-sighted foray into watershed management.  Only time will tell if folks get interested in an amazing furry rodent considered less valuable than weeds by the state.

What is needed:

  1. Become aware of Federal Reserve Water rights and fight for those at every opportunity.  (Call Senator Simpson)
  2. Lobby Idaho Fish and Game for a meaningful census….not an estimate of beaver populations in Idaho.
  3. Implement a moratorium on nuisance permits.  Consider resuming this program after the census is completed.
  4. Beaver should have their own page on the IF&G web site; do not list beaver management rules with weeds.
  5. Post Roads leading into closed areas.
  6. Lobby your legislator to increase the penalty for Poaching beaver to $1,000 and loss of privileges for life.
  7. Oppose flood plain development at every turn.
  8. Support re-location programs for beaver rather than kill trapping in problem areas.
  9. Volunteer to help with relocation programs in your area.   If you only help beaver, you help dozens of wildlife species.

34 Responses to “Beaver in our Midst”

  1. JerryBlack Says:

    Thanks Ken for writing this informative article.
    Beaver contribute not only in providing rearing habitat for fish, nesting areas for birds and lush riparian areas for wildlife, but also beaver ponds act as fire breaks and increase humidity in valleys that actually slow the progress of fires. Also, the monetary value of the water stored in beaver ponds and gradually released to recharge the aquifers is huge. They insure late season water flows for irrigation, animal browse and fish habitat. In other words, the economic benefits lost to beaver trapping makes no sense.
    Here’s more info, for those interested, on the beaver deceiver. This workshop was held adjacent to my property in King Co. and was sponsored by the county. They recruited Skip Lyle, a biologist who was working on beaver deceivers for Native American Tribes in Maine.
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/beavers/solutions/control/pond_description.aspx

  2. JimT Says:

    Ken, back in Vermont and New Hampshire where beaver are thriving again, there have been some conflicts. Have you seen or tired the perforated pipe that is inserted through the dam to allow for water to continue, and seems to minimize the tendency of beavers to repair any efforts to breach the dam.With the tremendous loss of wetlands and species that are wetland dependent, beavers can help restore these wonderfully rich ecosystems.

    Thanks for the long and informative article. Always a joy these days to read something besides a quick comment or Tweet. :*)

    • Carl Says:

      Ken, I have used the perforated pipes that Jim T mentions on several different roads. We refer to them as beaver bafflers. Although they aren’t successful 100% of the time they do work about 80-90% of the time. It seems like that with time the beaver figure them out and plug them up. After you clean them out it seems like they are good again for a few years before they get plugged up again.

  3. Virginia Says:

    Great and interesting article. Depressing as well that the beaver has so little respect as to be compared with weeds. I wonder why it is we wait until it is almost too late to do something about these serious wildlife issues. No answer to that. Thank you for sharing this article with us. I hope something positive for the beaver comes of this.

  4. pointswest Says:

    I’ve read that it is beavers that have created many of the meadows in the world since silt loads in streams are deposited in beaver ponds and create flat and level stream bottoms with a “sub” ( a sub is high water table that provides the surface vegitaion with water). Without beavers, many streams will channel down, the water tabel will drop, and much of the vegitation along streams will die for lack of water creating added erosion and silt problems. Also, the silt load will just be carried downstream into the first man-made dam to fill it up and creating economical loss.

    I watched a documentary about beavers once that showed that what stimilates a beaver to dam or repair is the sound of splashing or gurgling water. The researches placed a speaker on a perfectly good beaver dam and played a recording of gurgling and splashing water and the beavers immediately began covering up the speaker with branches and mud.

    Codes generally require culverts and bridges be designed for what is called the 100 year flood. That is a flood that can be statistically predicted to occur once every 100 years. Without beaver ponds, that flood becomes larger and will be added cost to states and counties or forest services who build roads since they will need to use larger culverts and build larger bridges. So the beavers have an economic value and I belive most civil engineers know this.

    If there is a problem with beavers daming a culvert or outlet, they only need to redesign such that whatever controls the flow of water does not make sound. I am not sure if civil engineers understand this.

    • pointwest Says:

      You know, it is pretty well understood by civil engineers, I believe, that beavers improve the flooding and silt loading characteristics of a particular drainage. It was talked about in my hydrology classes at UNM. I, personally, am in the building industry and do not work on roads and bridges but I’m sure that many or most of the civil engineers that do are aware of the economic benefits of having healthy beaver population in a drainage. Some may even be able to calculate the real cost of not having beavers. There will be added costs in washed out roads and bridges, to soil erosion, and to the silting of manmade dams. The silting, by the way, can be a problem downstream for hundreds of miles and have substantial cost.

      So if prowolfers could show that overpopulated elk destroy beaver habitat and that wolves control elk, they could have an argument that wolves have substantial economic benefit to our roads, bridges, and dams…let alone the ecological benefits…just some musing on my part.

      • Ken Cole Says:

        There has been evidence of beaver repopulation in the northern range of Yellowstone since wolf recovery.

        Also, cattle do impact beavers by destroying habitat. Some ranchers even have been known to get rid of beavers for some reason.

        I’ve found lots of evidence of historical beaver activity in the southwest Owyhees but there aren’t any there now and in some places they would be hard pressed to return anytime soon because there is nothing left for them to eat due to the fact that not only is there no food but that there aren’t any riparian soils left for them to grow in and they are still being grazed.

      • Brian Ertz Says:

        beaver floods the feed …

    • JimT Says:

      PointsWest,

      It isn’t just the pipes and culverts. The waters can back up over private land and some folks take exception to that, but it is a relatively rare case…

  5. Mike Says:

    $10 a gallon gas is the beaver’s friend.

    • pointswest Says:

      Automobils will soon all be electric vehicles…EV’s. EV’s will be cheaper to drive and will cost less to manufacture. I am expecting there to be more of them. They will be much friendlier to the enviroment except there will be an increased demand for electricity and there will be even more demand for roades and bridges.

    • Ryan Says:

      You sound like a broken record mike..

  6. SEAK Mossback Says:

    One likely sign of recent trapping activity would be a stake or pole driven vertically in a pond just out from shore. Also, one thing I’ve noticed over many years of capturing coho salmon smolts coming out of the same ponds is that beavers will abandon a dam and let it deteriorate if they run out of accessible food (your photo looks like that’s probably not a problem at that location). Anyway, I’ve seen dams deteriorate and ponds drain down for a few years (with resulting substantial loss in salmon production) until willows and cottonwood growth come up substantially in the drained area and surroundings, and then they will come back and build the dam up to reflood the area and use the food for another decade or more. Other times, they will suddenly build the entire dam up a foot or more and increase the pond perimeter enough to access more food that way.

    I agree that insuring viable occupancy in all areas should come above trapping, although they are prolific and trapping is not likely to be a problem in areas with large contiguous habitat — certainly at current prices. I’ve seen unbelievable numbers in little oxbow rivers in the dry, high plateau country in interior B.C. (interior Taku watershed). One evening I counted 7 in the water in one section between bends and if you floated quietly down the stream after sundown they (some of very impressive size) would just about scare you to death charging out of the willows and doing belly whoppers feet away in the river. They’re pretty alert to get to the water fast because the wolves work those same sections of river very hard and their scats indicate nothing but beaver once the chinooks are gone and before the cohos.

    More isolated colonies in generally dry areas of the west should be given specific management protection. Unfortunately, for most of the public the first thing about beavers they notice is when they are pointed out as the cause of a flooding issue. Perhaps they need an emissary like Grey Owl in the 1930s (played in a movie by the same title by Pierce Brosman) who traveled the country extolling the benefits of beavers based on his observations in eastern Canada “You’ve got a flood control system 1,000 miles wide!!!”

  7. pointwest Says:

    It was interesting to me to hear that there were no beavers in Yellowstone Park until recently. As Ken mentioned, it has been speculated that it was due to an over population of elk eating all the aspen and willow shoots in the meadows.

    There were beaver in the nearby Gravelly Range. I can remember one beaver pond, in particular, as far back as I can remember…about 1962. I suppose this is because there was hunting in the Gravelly Range and not as many elk as in Yellowstone. I don’t know what else could explain it.

    • Nancy Says:

      PW – http://www.yellowstonepark.com/MoreToKnow/ShowNewsDetails.aspx?newsid=179

      Would love to see beavers back in my part of the country (southwest Montana) but thats not gonna happen as long as the simple distruption such as a pond, could impact the chain of water rights when it comes to ranching the land where a creek runs thru it.

    • Salle Says:

      Perhaps it’s all those overgrazed allotments up there. Every time I go up to the Gravellys, there are so many sheep and cows there that it significantly detracts from the desired experience by witnessing eroded marshes, streams and riparian areas, even up near 10,000 ft. elevation.
      not to mention dodging all the grazing livestock, their fecal remains and biting insects that accompany them.

    • bob jackson Says:

      Points,

      There have always been beaver in Yellowstone…at least well before I arrived there in 1969. In 69 there were beaver on Yellowstone Lakes S. Arm Chipmunk Creek and also in the SE Arm Yel. river Delta area.

      I saw fresh beaver sign on Outlet Creek (over the top of Chipmunk in headwatewrs of Snake in 1972). I’d see beavers swimming the southern shore line of Yell lake while conducting creel census in 69-72.

      N. of Yellowstone Lake there were beaver in upper Pelican Valley on Raven Ck. in 1972.

      I don’t know much about the N. Range but I guarantee if I had patrolled there then I would have found beaver (both kinds). I take that back … I saw fresh beaver sign at NE entrances Trout Lake in 1970 while doing a lake survey for Bureau of sport fisheries.

      In the western part of the Park there is a little Secret Valley (its name and I followed it because it had a “secret” old time poacher trail of blased trees) that had so many generations of beaver colonies the then dormant dam had a waterfall 8 feet high…from all the silt built up in that twenty acre meadow above it.

      Beaver are one of my fondest animals….and I think all those early mt. man and Indian beaver trappers were just the same as todays farmers and ranchers…just exploiters of the resources. They might as well have been trading in slaves (which they did) while swapping for pelts. To me it is the same lack of respect. Supposedly we can forgive them for what they did, but i don’t know if I can buy that. I use to trap in high school and don’t forgive myself for being so ignorant of the abuses I committed. Yes my father trapped, my grandfather did and his cousin was a year round trapper…the “best hunter, trapper, and varmit sharp shooter in the midwest. My dad told me Lou wore out the barrel of a 22 in one weeks of employment shooting black birds out of farmers crop field. He could hit them in flight with those guns. In fact so “good” Remington Arms paid him big bucks to show bystanders how he could shoot 1000 glass balls in a row …with three people throwing them up.

      Oh our history, but I believe each one of us has the responsibility to analyis what we are doing to see if it is “right”. And if we don’t know we have the obligation to dig deeper. Being “fat, dumb and happy” ….or following our bosses and supervisors orders ….. doesn’t cut it.

  8. Connie Says:

    It’s hard to change old attitudes about trapping beavers. I’ve been dealing with this for over 2 years now. In my neighborhood, trappers were hired to remove our beavers. But a group of us formed to stop this dangerous practice and encourage co-existence with the beavers. We’ve spent many hours cleaning culverts, painting beaver repellent on trees, and generally assuaging homeowners fears (you know, about the pet-eating 50 lb. beavers). The results have been astonishing. New riparian areas are teeming with life. And bottle-feeding one orphaned beaver was a trip!

  9. Ralph Maughan Says:

    I feel really bad about this. The restoration of beaver to the Mink Creek watershed seemed to have just about everyone on board, even the Pocatello Cattle Association. The local newspaper has done a number of articles the welcome changes the beaver have made.

    Idaho Fish and Game should withdraw or seriously regulate the recreational taking of beaver from all the forks of Mink Creek

  10. Ken Cole Says:

    I remember sitting at my folks place eating Thanksgiving dinner and looking out over the Payette River near New Plymouth and along come a boat of hunters. One of them saw a beaver swimming on the river so he took a potshot at it which is totally illegal. I called the IDFG hotline and left a message with them with the license plate number of the offender of the vehicle they got into and a description of the hunter but I never heard back from them. I even worked for IDFG at the time.

    • Salle Says:

      Ah yes, Idaho’s agency for some fish and some game and to hell with all other living creatures… except livestock, of course.

  11. Ralph Maughan Says:

    If folks want to have moose, the presence of beaver ponds is often a necessary condition.

    One of the factors serving to decrease the moose population in NW Wyoming, especially around and in Yellowstone, is the decline in beaver. The land dries in the riparian areas, and snowmelt and thunderstorms floods erode the stream bank causing a drop in the water table.

    As beaver ponds increased around Pocatello, Idaho the number of moose slowly increased. I hope these people or person don’t trap out the rest of the area — talk about one or a few people can decimate fish and wildlife!!

    • JimT Says:

      So true, Ralph. When I saw moose in Vermont and Maine, it was usually in or near a bog or a pond. The one time I did see one on relatively dry land, it was with my two Labs who were very anxious to go and say hello…I think they thought it was a neighbor’s horse that had gotten out again.

      I discouraged the social encounter…;*)

    • pointswest Says:

      I notice in the Rexburg Journal, yesterday, that they are putting up a mountain man statue somewhere there in Eastern Idaho. Eastern Idaho is increasinly interested and proud of its mountain man and fur trapping era. This is done in part for tourism. It seems like they might do well to celebrate the beaver a little bit too and make sure there are plenty of beaver ponds about for everyone to see.

      They are so proud of Beaver Dick (Richard Leigh). My family is proud because my great grandmother Jane Powell was the first white child born north of the Snake River and Beaver Dick’s squaw wanted to hold her so bad she began to cry. She showed the parents (my great, great, grand parents) her skin to prove she was not dirty and even rolled back her sleaves to show that her blouse sleaves and arms were clean. They let her hold the baby, of course, and became good friends and neighbors with Beaver Dick and my great grandmother and great uncles and aunts played with Beaver Dick’s halfbreed kids.

      Some people like fishing those beaver ponds. I can remember seeing a book in Denver (did not buy it) that was about how to fish Colorado beaver ponds. I am not sure about the GYE, but in Colorado, you could catch lots of brookies in beaver ponds. I tried it once. They ash cook nicely. You just throw them onto the ashes and turn them a few times, and then they just peel open and the meat pulls away from the bones. Very easy and very tasty. Some larger beaver ponds might support cutthroat where they otherwise could not survive…maybe. It may depend on elevation and water temp. Too many beaver ponds may increase water tempurature and be bad for trout in some cases. Not sure.

      Beaver ponds are certainly good for waterfowl.

      I don’t understand why Eastern Idaho would not want to protect beavers and do whatever it takes to ensure that they are in every available stream.

      • Ken Cole Says:

        Beaver ponds actually help keep water temperatures lower and greatly improve water quality.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eco.163/abstract

      • Salle Says:

        Leave It to Beavers?
        Nature’s water engineers can restore river channels.
        Document

        http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/water-solutions/leave-it-to-beavers

      • pointswest Says:

        The Ecohydrology article is clear that their research shows that beaver ponds reduce water temperature (and increas zooplankton) downstream but they do not explain why. These ponds were in New England.

        I am not cetain the same would be true in the West. Many streams run off from 10,000 ft mountain ranges from snowmelt or cold springs. Ponding this cold water, it seems to me, would only give it time to warm up, especially if the streams runs into a low-elevation valley that may be warm and sunny in the summer.

        In New England, the streams may not come from a high mountains or be especially cold. Neither to do they run down into warm desert valleys as they do in the West. I honestly cannot understand why a pond would cool water. There may be colder water, from earlier in the season, that is stored in the pond, but I do not see how a pond could cool water.

        I still like beaver ponds, however, since they provide habbitat for many fish, birds, and animals.

      • bob jackson Says:

        Points,

        I think the researchers are talking about downstream temperatures….downstream of the beaver pond. The idea is; quiet water stops sediments. Thus less dirty water downstream of a beaver dam…and less absorption of sunlight in the water.

        Now for mt. impact. Yes I have skinny dipped quite a bit in 8000 ft elevation ponds. I liked beaver ponds over natural ponds mostly because there were less leeches in them. The natural ponds were a bit warmer but even the beaver dam ponds were warmer, especially if they were off to the sides of the main stream. Those blocking the entire stream were not as warm but there always was a bit of temperature gain in still water than the main rush of water causing all those goosebumps ….and shrivelling up of…..

        Of course one time after a day of cloudless sheep poacher scrambling and a lot of sweating my partner and I said we were going to dive into that pond by our stake out camp. Yes, November but ir really did seem hot. Reality, or we thought it did when we came onto that supposed welcome water…. but actually that pond froze over during the day. Young and dumb prevailed however and both of use dove in from the rocks above through that ice. God, the worst cold headache I ever had in my life… worse than fast sucking in a slushy through a large diameter straw.

        A yes, high mt. ponds and all that goes with them, beavers or not.

  12. Nancy Says:

    pointswest Says:
    October 15, 2010 at 10:38 AM
    I didn’t know beavers had to respect water rights. Do they?

    They don’t and that’s where the problem comes in PW. I think I mentioned in another post awhile back regarding a nice little beaver pond on the meadow across from me. The people who owned the meadow (a small part of a much bigger ranch) were kind of lax about patrolling their water rights but a ranching neighbor downstream must of noticed a difference in the flow because “the little blue truck” showed up one day and then continued to come back for a several weeks. Found out later he was a local trapper, I’d seen the truck around but didn’t realize who he was.
    The pond is long gone and the only time there’s a noticeable difference in the flow of the stream is when its being diverted :(and depleted) in the spring for the numerous hay fields.

  13. Nancy Says:

    Putting it into perspective on water rights:

    http://www.bandersnatch.com/water.htm

  14. frank renn Says:

    On Friday October 15 my son and I went up Box canyon to hunt forest grouse. There was a sign on the gate explaining the road would be closed on the 18 to install a new culvert. The question I have for Mike is will the new culvert improve the situation. I have known Mike Settell for years and have always appreciated his passion for Beavers


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: