They’re back! 'A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek'

Capital News Service
A beaver family’s reappearance near the Detroit River after the species’ disappearance more than a century ago inspired a book that appeals to both adults and children alike. Author and illustrator Gerald Wykes tells the story of the beaver family’s 2008 astonishing return in his book, “A Beaver Tale: The Castors of Conners Creek” (Wayne State University Press, $18.99)

Beavers appeal to children and adults alike, according to Wykes, who lives in Monroe, Michigan. “Beavers alter their environment to fit their needs, like people do, so it’s easy for readers to identify with them,” he said. His full-color illustrations and kid-friendly text create an easy-to-follow narrative of the discovery of beavers at the Conners Creek Power Plant on Detroit’s east side after residents noticed trees being mysteriously cut down. On the surface, it’s a children’s book, but Wykes’ storytelling is highly informative, even for adults.

U.P. study shows long-term impact of beaver “engineering”

Capital News Service
LANSING — The North American beaver has been called “the quintessential ecosystem engineer,” and any doubters can look at the animal’s long-term environmental impact in the Upper Peninsula. Many of its engineering feats are still evident on the landscape after more than 150 years — longer than such other engineering marvels as the Eiffel Tower, the Mackinac Bridge, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and Toronto’s CN Tower have stood. The proof is visible in the continued existence of dozens of Ishpeming-area beaver ponds first mapped in 1868, according to newly published research. “This study shows remarkable consistency in beaver pond placement over the last 150 years, despite some land use changes that altered beaver habitats,” ecologist Carol Johnston wrote in the study. “This constancy is evidence of the beaver’s resilience and a reminder that beaver works have been altering the North American landscape for centuries.”
And in an interview, Johnston said a major lesson from the study is that beavers come back to the same spots on the landscape and reuse them time and time again.

Fur dealers could trap beavers under proposed law change

Capital News Service
LANSING – Licensed fur dealers could trap beavers under legislation recently introduced by lawmakers. The Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association pushed for the legislation that is sponsored by Sen. Thomas Casperson, R-Escanaba. Beavers can be trapped now, but this measure would allow fur dealers to trap- something that has been outlawed at least as far back as the early 1900s. “It is a law that we don’t need anymore,” said Scott Harbaugh, director for the trapper association’s northern Lower Peninsula region. “It was to keep the fur buyer from adding more beaver to his lot by using the bag limit of another seller, but now we have no bag limit on beaver trapping.”

Before it was removed in 1983, the limit was 25 beavers per person, said Adam Bump, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources bear and furbearer specialist.