by Joyce Deming
On July 2, Scott Murdoch, a District Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, addressed a small, but enthusiastic group at our monthly ECHPOA meeting.
Scott said Parks & Wildlife (P&W) would be glad to help us reintroduce beavers to our wetland/beaver pond , but cautioned that is wasn’t as simple as trapping beavers from another area and moving them here. First, ECHPOA would have to gain permission from property owners a mile above and below the wetland area whose properties are adjacent to the creek. This would include the National Forest Service. If one property owner objects, P&W would not import any beavers.
In addition, P&W would perform a habitat assessment prior to reintroduction to ensure there was adequate habitat and to see if there were already beavers in the area. Reintroductions are generally not successful if there is already an established beaver colony.
If permissions were obtained and the assessment showed the area to be adequate, P&W would introduce 4-5 beavers in the spring. Scott said they transplant that many beavers because it’s very hard to determine a beaver’s sex as their sex organs are all internal. He indicated we are too late to import beavers this year as they would not have time to build up ample food stores before winter.
Scott said if we decided to try and repair the dam ourselves, we would first need to get a 404 permit from the Army Corp of Engineers. (The permit gets its name from Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.) These permits are required anytime work is done in a wetland area. We would also need to get permission from The Denver Water Board as they own the water rights.
In other wildlife news, Scott warned us to be very careful of moose in the area. He said there have been a number of human/moose “interactions” across the state including one fatality. He advised everyone to keep their dogs on a leash. The majority of moose attacks occur when an off-leash dog runs up on a moose and the moose chases it back to the owner.
As far as bears are concerned, Scott said they need to eat 20,000 calories a day, so it’s important to make sure you’re not inadvertently providing those calories. Keep birdseed, horse grain, and dog food in metal containers in secure locations. Avoid putting your trash out the night before collection. There is lots of good information about bear-proofing your home on the P&W website at: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Education/LivingWithWildlife/BearproofingYourHome.pdf
Thanks to Jeff DeBerry for arranging Scott Murdoch’s visit.