For the past three years, I have been watching as a family of beavers fight the city of Surrey. In the spring of 2009, I wrote:
"The Canadian Beaver is Canada’s national symbol. ... (It) is symbolic of independence, creativity, and determination ..." (From ArticleClick.com)
The beavers have plans for this small lake (Cougar Creek Park); they've been building dams and enlarging the waterways since before people decided to turn it into a park. Their ideas conflict with the city's pretty schemes, and the two parties are feuding. The beavers build dams; someone clears away the piles and removes felled trees. The beavers build again.
The city (Surrey) trapped and killed a male about this time last year; in family-raising time. The female raised her brood, and during the winter, they dammed the creek leading into the pond, widening the creek and gathering enough water to wash away the trash that littered its bed. The dam, and much of the topsoil was stripped away. The beavers felled more trees, and started over. Wire fences went up around the biggest tree trunks. The beavers chopped down a row of new alders and dammed the outlet.And here's a photo from January of 2008:
|Extending the present lagoon.|
They are at it again. They have more or less succeeded at enlarging the lagoon; the mouth of the creek that feeds into it is now a pond. But that wasn't enough for them; there are two families now, and they need more territory, so they have annexed the bush on the far side of the bridge. What was up until now a narrow, sluggish, muddy stream, meandering through the bush and alongside another stretch of lawn, is now a wide, calm pool.
|The blue shape shows the area now underwater.|
This time, they have a larger construction crew; they have built dams higher than any of their previous attempts, and two at once, each raising the water level behind it about three feet.
|One of the dams. A trickle below, going on to fill the next pool, a still pond above.|
As the beaver families have gained workers, they have also become more ambitious; the trees they fell these days are much larger than any of the previous year's material.
|Mallards rest on a small remaining patch of grass.|
|Lumberjacks at work. The trees they're cutting now are around 8 to 10 inches at the base.|
|Smaller alders with their feet and reflections in the new pool|
|Reflections and fallen leaves on the banks of the creek going under the bridge, swollen as it enters the second new pool.|
We talked to a neighbour; he was quite incensed by the "depredations" of the beavers, and hopes that the city will get rid of them. I must admit, my sympathies are with the beavers. After all, our human housing developments are spreading into all the vacant land around the creek, with ever bigger houses, more fences, more streets. Turn about's fair play.
In the last bit of third-growth timber, a stone's throw from the edge of the park, we saw a coyote. A sign at the street, "KEEP OUT", claims this piece for some new housing scheme.
The coyote can't read, so he's not worrying. Yet.