Monday, January 11, 2016

An Open Letter to Bill Reid

Dear Bill,

On January 9, you wrote an article for the Norwich Bulletin, titled Exploring The Last Green Valley:Beavers are nature's engineer.  For the most part it was a positive article which gave beavers their due respect as engineers and agents of positive ecological change.  On the negative side, you also express your love-hate relationship with our common friend and the actions you had to take; namely trapping and killing them. 

Indeed, when beavers come in conflict with human interests and income, there can be frustration that results in short term relief to the two legged interests, but rather negative consequences to the beaver who are trapped and killed.  However, as you noted, the relief is short lived, because the beavers are soon replaced by others.  What most people don't realize is that there is a better solution.

I'm sure as you look down the road, you see a picture of ongoing conflict, beaver trapping, and the associated expense and time involved in protecting your interests.  We were once in your shoes.  Trapping has been a solution for hundreds of year, but now there is a better way.   Let me present you with another picture; one in which the pond is maintained at it's current state, future growth is stopped, the beaver population is maintained at about the current level, and you build a long term relationship with your furry neighbors.  You might even get to know them by name.

The reason trapping is a short term solution, is because of a fact you missed in your article.  Beavers are very territorial and they self limit their population.  When their kits become about 2 years old, they are sent packing.  They will travel up to 50 miles in search of another pond. often falling prey to predators along.  So when you trap beavers on your pond, all you have done is put a big Vacancy sign of the Reid Pond Motel.

The reason beaver populations grow is because, as ponds grow they will support more beavers.  The two year-olds just move to the far end of the pond and stay out of mom and dad's hair.  The secret to limiting beaver populations is to take advantage of the two pieces of information; namely that beaver move on in two years and if the pond doesn't grow big enough to support them, they will move elsewhere.

If that sounds like the ravings of an animal nut, I would have to plead guilty to the animal nut part, but believe me when I say I have not been partaking of any illegal substances, nor am I diluted.  You see, we here at Sherwood Glen have been peacefully co-existing with beavers that inhabit our pond since our first conflict in 2009.  We have done it through a program of culvert protection and pond leveling devices.  The beavers have done the rest, and we have done a lower expense and less aggravation than trapping.  You can find all about what we have done, what we are doing, and what we are planning for the future by exploring this blog. 

You can probably do the same sort of thing on your property and like us, save money and aggravation in the long run.  If you would like more information feel free to contact me or check out the Facebook Beaver Management forum.  They provided me with all I needed to get our program underway, not to mention the fact they also pointed me to your article.

In closing, I want to thank you for the positive recognition of the beaver's role as a keystone species and encourage you to look into the idea of maintain and managing the pond, rather than trapping the beavers.  This will allow you to build a long term relationship with the current residents and will give you plenty of material for follow up articles, beginning with one that details the installation of your own flow device.

Best Regards,
Art Wolinsky