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Are Martinez beavers moving away on their own?

By Gary Bogue
Friday, April 18th, 2008 at 6:48 am in Beavers, Martinez Beavers.

This quote from Lisa White’s story in today’s Contra Costa Times:

“Mary Tappel, an environmental scientist who has a long history of helping communities manage beaver populations, said it appears the Martinez beavers have practically depleted the creek banks of their favorite foods and seem to be moving downstream. ‘Beavers always move,’ she said, adding that city leaders should not believe they can keep the animals in the location in the creek where they have built their dam.”

Wouldn’t it be ironic if, after all the raging and ranting and fussing about whether to let the beavers stay where they are … or to trap and relocate them … or to kill them … the beavers just thumbed their noses and slapped their tails at us interfering humans and paddled off downstream and into the sunset on their own?

Should we be in “favor of keeping the beavers,” … or take the viewpoint that “relocation is still an option?”

Maybe we should ask the beavers.

Unlike the rest of us humans, they seem to know what they’re doing. /Gary

Read Lisa White’s complete story about the Wednesday night Martinez City Council meeting on the beavers at

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No Responses to “Are Martinez beavers moving away on their own?”

  1. Pat in Antioch Says:

    Hi Gary,
    Can’t say I’d blame ’em if they left; they seem to be pretty intelligent little guys! Received this via email a few days ago….you think it would make a difference if our beavers took out a permit?? :-)

    Pat in Antioch

    *The Dam *

    This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond
    on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
    Quality, State of Pennsylvania . This guy’s response is hilarious, but read
    State’s letter before you get to the response letter.

    SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

    Dear Mr. DeVries:

    It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that
    there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel
    of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or
    contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

    Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet
    stream of Spring Pond.

    A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A
    review of the Department’s files shows that no permits have been issued.
    Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation
    of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and
    Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being
    sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws,

    The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially
    failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream
    locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and
    cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist
    all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow
    condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream
    channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31,

    Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a
    follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply
    with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may
    result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..
    We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter.
    Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


    David L. Price
    District Representative and Water Management Division.

    Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

    Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

    Dear Mr. Price,

    Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond to. I
    am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane , Trout
    Run, Pennsylvania

    A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing
    maintaining two wood “debris” dams across the outlet stream of my Spring
    Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I
    think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of
    natures building materials “debris.”

    I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam
    project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state
    there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam
    resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam
    determination and/or their dam work ethic.

    These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do
    not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit
    prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

    My first dam question to you is:

    (1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or

    (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam

    If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the
    Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other
    applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.

    (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland
    Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act,
    Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of
    the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

    I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren’t the beavers entitled to
    legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and
    are unable to pay for said representation — so the State will have to
    provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department’s dam concern that either one
    or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is
    proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to
    protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone
    rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

    If you want the stream “restored” to a dam free-flow condition please
    contact the beavers — but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously
    did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read

    In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their
    unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water
    flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy
    Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental
    Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources
    (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers’ Dams).

    So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred
    for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2006?
    The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no
    way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

    In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real
    environmental quality, health, problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears
    are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be
    persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are
    going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not
    careful where they dump!

    Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact
    you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam



  2. Sherry Cartmill Says:

    Has any one noticed a lack of ants? Not that I want a million of them in my kitchen. My neighbor has also noticed, no ants, not when you dig in the yard, not when you put new humingbird nectar out. What can this mean environmentally to us? Like the diminishing honeybee, can this be a bad thing?

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