Beaver . . . in Lochwood Park?

Short answer, Yes! While I did not see the beaver(s) he or she left their calling card in an unmistakable way – here.

Beaver gnaw-marks on a tree stump
Beaver gnaw-marks on a tree stump
A tree beaver have cut down
A tree beaver have cut down

There is no other animal, not even a human, who can chisel wood in this distinctive pattern. And while this stump is not in Lochwood Park, it is beyond it. So unless this beaver was hitching a ride to this location, it had to have come up the creek through Lochwood Park.

This would not be the first record, either. Conan West, whose home overlooks beautiful West’s Pond, has told me stories of beavers in his yard from many years ago. I assume they make their way up from White Rock Lake. And while I have never seen a beaver on WRL either, others certainly have. This fellow, president of the Enclaves of White Rock Lake Homeowners Association, an area not too far below the spillway at the end of WRL says “With White Rock Creek, we’ve got the NAFTA superhighway for wildlife.” Beaver were starting to gnaw on their trees, but a mixture of paint and sand applied to the trees seems to have made the bark unpalatable.

The Nature page of the White Rock Lake Conservancy also lists beaver as residents of WRL.

Beaver, or beavers, if you prefer (even the Oxford English Dictionary can’t make up its mind) are one amazing animal. The second-largest rodent in the world (next to the capybara, which you will only meet naturally in South America) there are only two species of beaver in the whole world. And the other one lives across northern Europe.

Almost unrecognized until recently, beavers are not only incredible engineers, but they work has a powerful effect on the entire ecosystem, and even slows global warming.

Beaver can return an almost desert area to a find riparian woodland, they are being reintroduced in many areas of America to help build wetlands and control the runoff of ground water. PBS Nature has a very well-done documentary on the environmental work that beavers do that is available on-line. It documents all over America how when beaver return to a landscape, there is a substantial improvement. One of the most dramatic involves Susie Creek in Nevada. About twenty-one minutes in to this documentary, you can see for yourself how beaver have changed a muddy desert creek into a wetland wildlife habitat. The Bureau of Land Management also has a web page about the astonishing transformation of Susie Creek. Here you can see pictures of what it used to look like, and how in only twenty years, beaver have created a whole new riparian ecosystem in a once-barren creek bed.

One could go on and on. There is a huge community of people interested in beaver, not least of which is a whole blog devoted to the beavers of Martinez, California.

So, if Beaver shake your tree, Google them!

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