Behold, the beaver — rodent beyond compare!
True, he is built low to the earth, where he spends much of his time working in the muck, giving him perhaps the most pruned toes in all of existence.
His lodge is not very lovely, his dam a snaggle-sticked, muddy mess.
And yes, he has been body-shamed — not to mention tanned and turned into hats for eons.
But Mother Nature’s chainjawed little logger may be part of the solution to our salmon and steelhead woes.
While we fill out paperwork, he fells trees.
While we fester over designs, he dams.
While we hold public meetings, he holds back water.
While we put plans out for review, he creates fish habitat.
While we scrounge under couch cushions for project funding, he’s working off the clock, 24/7/365.
And when we finally get around to Doing Something, he’s back in his lodge, popping a cold one and binge-watching Leave It To Beaver.
Just imagine what a whole pack of these guys could do!!!
That last bit was the nut of Mike Sevigny’s testimony yesterday before the Washington Senate’s Natural Resources and Parks Committee hearing on HB 1257, which would allow WDFW to keep Westside beavers on the Westside.
Currently, the agency can only translocate them to the Eastside or kill them, and according to Sevigny, who is the wildlife manager for the Tulalip Tribes, WDFW is forced to kill the vast majority.
But it sounds like there’s a fair amount of habitat they could be put to work in and on.
Sevigny said that a Tulalip project — the tribes aren’t subject to the same restrictions WDFW is — placed 100 nuisance beavers at 13 sites in the Skykomish drainage.
And that’s just one valley. The Westside’s full of waterways, many of which beavers can’t get to because they’re cut off from the habitat, Sevigny said.
State representatives appear to agree, having already passed the bill out of the House 98-0. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife supports the bill.
This is not to say that beavers should be air-dropped everywhere, like what Idaho Fish and Game did back in the day, as beavers do cause problems for property owners when they make dams where people don’t want dams.
But having been a beaver believer for some time, now I’m helping spread the gospel — preach, Brother Sevigny!
Here’s his testimony from TVW: