That being said there is some good news.
Southland beaver recently passed 20,000 page views!! That might not sound like a lot but this is a fairly niche blog and it's not exactly click bait posts that I like to write so I am happy that the blog, even when I go away for it for awhile is still getting a pretty constant trickle of hits and views. 20-40 hits per day is pretty good when I am not regularly updating. And maybe some strands of the populace are waking up to the potential for beaver not only in California but other arid climes. I have made contacts with people from Arizona and Spain who have similar storylines invovlving beaver in arid lands.
I will be going on a month long beaver safari!! I just landed a month long filed position in Monterey county on the Arroyo Seco tributary of Salinas river. I am really looking forward to this one as it is an un-dammed, native trout/steelhead creek with some interesting herp fauna to boot. We will be investigating the use of non-natives in beaver ponds. I know that this a controversial topic for beaver enthusiasts because it has the potential to paint beaver in a bad light as crayfish, bullfrogs, bass, carp, and other introduced species do find potential habitat in beaver ponds BUT as I have discussed before here there is potential for beaver ponds to actually mitigate alien species by concentrating them at specific sites which allow top predator herons, mergansers, raccoons, otters, garter snakes and other predators to move in and gobble up the non-natives. Look at it this way if you are a hungry great blue heron you can gobble up one or two big bullfrogs and be full or hunt all day long to find smaller, more cryptic native California tree frogs. A big, mucky carp is a lot easier for a raccoon to catch than a nimble, wary rainbow trout. Predators do have optimal foraging strategies and many non-natives are readily gobbled up by our native predators.
|Native Black Crowned Night Heron catches non-native large mouth bass in native beaver pond Napa CA credit Hank Miller c/o Martinez Beaver|
Let me reframe the debate concerning non-natives. I am in touch with a lot of people in the bird world. One of the most devastating actors that thwart native passerines is the brown headed cowbird - a nest parasite. Now although it is not strictly an introduced species in California- the proliferation of pastureland has increased its presence in many parts of the state. This has created the implementation of trapping programs to diminish the brown headed cowbird. But, interestingly, there is some thought that complete eradication of the cowbird is not wanted. The reasoning is that if there is not some pressure from cowbirds the native birds will never evolve defensive strategies to thwart them.
|Cowbird trap Vern-Freeman Diversion|
I have a variety of new and interesting thought pieces on beavers biology and ecology.
I want to explore the "hidden" diversity of semi-aquatic herps in California and how the loss of beaver habitat may have negatively affected these species.
I plant on presenting a new and exciting theory for how beaver cope with and survive in drought prone habitats. Stay tuned, southland beaver world exclusive.
And I want to lay out my idea for "intentional living" with beavers. A novel and exciting idea I have been gestating upon to not only restore beaver to wild lands but deliberately use beaver in tandem with water diverting methods to maximize wetland restoration, aquaculture production, groundwater infiltration, agriculture, and generally safeguard human water resources while simultaneously increasing available wetland habitat.
As a little hint for my next post I want you to look carefully at the next two pics... see anything in common?
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