Get involved with your watershed. Check out our M.A.R.S. program for chance to help!
(Pocatello). Drought. It's a nasty word if you are a farmer, but it's a worse connotation if you are a consumer of agricutural goods such as produce, diary or livestock. If farmers can't grow food , we don't eat. While it is possible that parts of the country can grow food without irrigation , it is n the arid west where irrigation is the lifeblood of the farm and the foundation of the 1 billion bushels of produce delivered to your supermarket from the west every that worries me. Beavers can help reduce the impact of drought as this article from the LA Times indicates, yet the reticentce to make room in our ecosystem for beavers from Game management agencies is steady, persistent and misdirected. Trapping is a right and in Idaho it's actually imbedded in the State Constituion. What can a a reasonable person do? There are answers:
Frequently documents of this type offer a blueprint for future management goals and approaches. Their are no rules or obligations promulgated (enforceable actions). Where Watershed Guardians scope is keeping beaver in Portneuf River watershed, we are not focusing on the trapping of other species such as wolverine, fishers, bobcats or other Threatened or Endangered (T&E) species. That doesn't mean that you can't.
How many beaver can one trapper trap in a season?
How long is the trapping season?
What are controlled trap zones?
Who is responsible for setting the season?
How frequently are the rules open to the public for review?
Are beaver pelts valuable?
What can I do to help beaver?
(While these plans are not enforceable rules, they public record and can be a basis for requesting changes in management. They also let IDFG know that the public cares about beaver). Watershed Guardians comments are as follows. Watershed Guardians is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to preserve, protect and maintain the Portneuf River Watershed, One Beaver at Time". I have read the furbearer management plan as it related to beaver. Regarding the beaver, I am hopeful that the words contained in the plan are sincere and will see more than superficial nods toward beaver and accept the Department's responsibility to ensure that beaver lasts in Idaho’s watersheds for a very long time. I ask that IF&G: SUMMARY
1. Immediately develop and implement a sound beaver relocation plan.
2. Place bona fide non-lethal mitigation program in the top three goals over the next year.
3. Immediately modify the nuisance trap permit program to require a regular trapping report.
4. End so called “Open ended” nuisance permit that extends for a months or more.
5. Develop a fast response “trap and drop” program that approved trappers can implement with minimal oversight to connect nuisance and restoration programs.
6. Validate the Department’s trapping CPUE model with emphasis on small populations and streams.
7. Increase the season setting review frequency for beaver trapping from bi-annual to yearly.
DETAILS The rationale and details of these recommendations are : 1) We support the department's efforts to establish relocation protocols for beaver. Many of these details have been worked out such as those in the Methow Valley in Washington State. There is little need for much delay in implementing these protocol with the exception of public notification. Adjacent public needs to be educated of the risks and benefits of having beaver nearby. 2) We applaud the Department’s inclusion of non-lethal mitigation in this Plan. Including non-lethal mitigation solutions for beaver management is a great way to immediately improve stream flows for users, native fisheries and wildlife. Please ensure that it is fully funded. When devices such as BeaverDeceivers (tm) and PondLevelers(tm) are constructed according to standards, great things happen. In contrast, construction of home-made versions of such devices do more harm to the public's perception of the devices and the Department. Build them according to standards such as those by www.beaversolutions.com and others, and they will work. 3) Depredation trapping continues to be a data "black hole". While Region V has improved data collection and management, it is our understanding that not all regions are collecting, maintaining and using depredation data. 4) Because the trend is to let the landowner, etc. to have a long time to complete the nuisance trap, either the report never gets completed or the length of time to trap the beaver is so long, that almost everyone forgets about it. It is sometimes interpreted as an open-ended permit. 5) A well-developed program that efficiently links depredation and translocation takes the pressure off of the landowner, the trapper and the Department. Small streams will need prep work, but large rivers (eg: Snake, Clearwater and lower Salmon) require no prep work and beaver can be relocated at will, during any season and will continue to provide a trapping opportunity. In areas where beaver are relocated for restoration, the trapping season needs to be reduced or eliminated to ensure that the relocated beaver are not trapped out before they have a chance to stabilize the system. 6). As an organization that has measured beaver activity in the same drainage for 10 consecutive years, Watershed Guardians has observed a disconnect between the allowable take and the beaver population in that drainage. Even with very limited trapping, the population has decreased to the lowest numbers on record (2022). We attribute this to an over-estimate of reproduction rates and undocumented takes (vandalism, under reported trapping). Despite there being a controlled trap zone, the Department's over-reliance on trapping reports or CPUE needs to be validated with population monitoring as well as educating the trapping community on the wide variability of reproductive rates that may occur in a short season. 7) Regarding season setting, the review period of 2 years between season setting is a relic from a bygone era. We request that the Department increase season setting to yearly. We have made detailed comments using pdf "comment" feature and will forward that to the state furbearer's office. Warm regards,
Files coming soon.
We believe that artificial beaver dams are a poor substitute
The Idaho Fish and Game is proposing to construct 50+ Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) on the South Fork and 30+ BDAs on the West Fork Mink. We have our oppinion which I will share on this page in the coming days, but in the mean time, I encourage all interested parties to take a look at this scoping document. See our summary and FAQs below
This pdf file contains the scoping document which summarizes the proposal. Please review and email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also send them to the address listed in the scoping document. See the project overview below.
This project is a proposal to install man-made, temporary beaver dams in the South and West Forks of Mink Creek. Though listed as a "beaver restoration" project, the goals are to create more riparian habitat and ponded areas for fish. Beaver Dam analogues or BDAs as they are known in some academic circles, are temporary. To see our comments on this approach and what "beaver restoration" means, please check out our blog. ~54 BDAs are proposed for the South Fork and ~33 are proposed for the West Fork of Mink Creek.
In addition to the Scoping document, a joint permit (IDWR/ACOE) is also completed. This document contains more details and maps
Make sure that you are on our mailing list. You mail email your comments here. You can add to this or write your own. Be sure to sign your name at the bottom
We will be posting updates on facebook, but in the meantime, if you know someone who is interested in this topic, share the info with them.