Thursday July 23, 2015 Jenner CA.
It was looking pretty nice as I put my boat in the water this morning. Low wind and some sun shining through a bit of cloud cover.
I noticed some harbor seals hunting in a group right in front of the visitor center as I started to cross over the river. I don’t have any idea what they were after.
I headed on up the river noticing there weren’t many birds around today. I didn’t see any whiter pelicans and very few cormorants.
Here I am paddling along headed for that big green redwood log up ahead were I like to sit and watch.
Eventually, I continued on up the river along it’s south side going by here, just below the turkey vulture nest area.
I paddled on up to the Muskrat area and sat around and watched and enjoyed the day.
I’m paddling along and still wondering were all the birds have gone. Not even any biologists around to pester, so I continued on down the river to this spot and sat for a good long time.
Some terns came by and were diving and fishing in front of me. I saw them dive repeatedly, but didn’t see them catch anything. Here’s a tern, just after it’s dive and it’s just jumping out of the water. Empty beaked.
The wind came up as I sat there, so I decided to head in for the day and went on home. Here I’m crossing over the river to the boat ramp looking down river towards the ocean.
When I got home, I found a comment from Pete, a local fisherman which follows.
Bob, hey this is Pete, I think your Beaver idea would be great for the wild steelhead, but not the hatchery steelies, wild ones are hatched and raised in the creeks along the river, but the hatchery fish are hatched and raised at the hatchery tanks and released into the river directly when they are big enough (6 to 12 inches) to swim and go into the ocean, and the hatchery fish folks release the steelhead smolt when there is plenty of water in the river for them to get to the ocean. But it seems the Beavers would help the wild ones in the creeks to have more water and forage while they are growing to be big enough to make the swim to the ocean.
I think the best answer for the biologist’s question would be to get the seals and sea lions out of the river and estuary in a reasonable manor, that would be best for the Coho, salmon and steelhead and the seals would be out of so much human contact and influence as well, which would be much better for their life in the wild as well. Nobody in their right mind wants it to be a half wild, half man made zoo. And us allowing seals and sea lions to rule the roost in the river this past decade or more, is very damaging to the already low population of Chinook and steelhead and Coho. Another opinion, but an educated one :)
My reply to Pete with a bit more added
I agree with the wild fish thing and that’s mainly what I was referring to as far as the beaver go. Beaver retain water in the system which both provides more water, food and habitat for fish to grow big and strong and able to survive. Hatchery fish will also mostly always be fodder for all the predators which is not really a good thing as they attract and support more predators then should be in the system, which means there are more predators to eat fish than there should be.
I also agree with what you say about the seals and sea lions in the estuary, lump rivers otters with them too. Only problem is, with the laws protecting them and people’s attitudes about them means we likely can’t get them out of the system, so the only thing we can do is provide better habitat for fish and that’s where the beaver shines. The beaver can do stuff we humans can’t, especially with the current laws.
I was thinking fife creek, by my house, wouldn’t be good for beaver, but I think I might be wrong about that. Fife creek is what beavers fix. Fife creek goes dry in the summer. They might start at the top and eventually hold enough water back to make dams in the parts that now have no water through the summer. I’d like to put some in the pond just above the park at Pond Farm. They could start there and spill into the creek in it’s upper reaches and young would have to move into the creek from the pond as it’s small. Do you know where we could get some beaver?
Beaver for flood control
The beaver in fife creek could also slow the winter waters down to help prevent flooding in the lower parts which is now a big problem. Flooding is a problem because when it rains hard, the water rushes out of the hills and down the creek too fast for the creek to handle it and the creek over flows it’s banks and causes flooding.
The reason the biologists would like to close the mouth and rise the estuary water level is mostly to give young fish more fresh water to help them survive the predation down there. Let’s think beaver and get the fishing guys talking about getting it done. :O)
It worked on wild turkeys
I know the wild turkeys were started by the California fish and game. And it wasn’t long before land owners started getting wild turkeys from each other and really speed up the process of getting the wild turkeys back. It would be nice if we could do the same with the beaver.
Thanks Pete for your input.
I spent the evening getting my new engine gauges mounted in the van and just sitting around enjoying the yard.