Beavers - benefits for your rivers and streams

lhomme

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Anyone thinking we can manage nature better than beavers has lost the plot. Beavers have been doing the same thing for as long as we know and never threatened nature, we've only had a real impact on nature for about 250 years and it's a mess already. And then there are a bunch of anglers, who put more hatchery fish in the rivers and lakes to have a good time and say beavers don't fit in the picture. Their distorted view of nature has become completely anthropocentric and denies the fact it were animals like beavers that created and preserved "their" nature. Humans can't even do that, but they are very good at pretending. Some even have strong opinions on beavers without ever having seen one at work in the real world. How could they? They have been wiped out of their manicured nature for centuries, like many other annoying animals. If it doesn't fit men's purpose it has to go and never come back. We have enough pictures and video footage to teach our children what's not there anymore. Provided they don't want to bring them back, otherwise smarter men will tell them why they can't do that. Human pragmatism rules the world and nature too. And we still call it paradise.
 

boisker

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Speytime it is called Farmer Bashing and is a UK sport. The answer is to let the moaners have a go. When I was married the first job on Christmas Day was feed the livestock then get cleaned up for the days festivities and in the evening check said livestock again. Give it a go see how you get on because during the winter it was every day come sun or rain or snow
I’m not farmer bashing... I’ve worked with farmers my whole career, currently manage over 2000ha of land....
rather than the lazy ass accusation of ‘farmer’ bashing, you should get an understanding of the systems being used and their systematic failure...
John’s correct the whole system is f@@ked....
look at the Otter catchment (beavers) or the adjoining Axe catchment.... people worried about the effect of beavers on the Otter... they should walk it in river, after or during rain and then assess the relative probs of farming practice or beavers.... whole farms claiming BPS at over £200 per hectare, which demands the least stringent or minimal environmental protection... and yet still you get ploughing down contours, maize to the rivers edge, continual low grade pollution from poor slurry management... and we the tax payer shell out ££££‘s for it.... a failure of Agri industry and government policy.
sitting in a lambing shed for an evening it isnt.... ruining the river otter it is.
 

Prolifichare

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If I could just set my record straight.
I'm not denying the effort farmers put in for their work, the unsociable hours, the rain, the poor yields due to weather and all the rest of it. It is a hard job and I am not taring every farmer with the same brush.

However if you look past the fact, we've paid the subsidies for so long it's become the norm, why is a privately owned farm any different as a business to say a bakery, or a metal fabricator, or a small shop selling lingerie? I appreciate farmers produce food, which we all eat, but so does a baker, or an abattoir, or the greengrocers. So why does the farmer receive the taxpayer funding but not the other small struggling businesses?

My issues isn't so much about the money paid to support these farmers, it's about the money that's wasted or misspent. E.g. the Range Rover that is an essential farm vehicle, bought tax free. Grants to replant trees, that 20 years ago were cut down under a different grant scheme. There is no long term view for how these grants should be spent, it's all short term hand-to-mouth stuff (one of the problems with a short term electoral government).
The other big issues I have is the pollution in the rivers. I challenge anyone to the next time they fish a river to make a note of all the plastic they see. I bet well over half is silage wrap, bailer twine and stuff like that. And this isn't to mention the pollution caused by bad management of slurry.

So I'm not having a go at farmers and I try and support local farmers where I can, buying local etc. But I do think that if they chose to manage the land by farming and receive subsidies to do so, then they need to held accountable for the way it is managed and the bigger picture environmental issues that is caused, for good or bad.
 

Dingbat

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This is one of my biggest bug bears with modern farming. Couldn't agree more.

Farmers who I know for a fact are receiving taxpayers funding (subsidies) are also for a fact digging stone out of the river in the middle of the night and washing slurry back into it. Reported to the EA and nothing been done.
Farmers sometimes get a rough deal and glueman has a point. The problem with farming is that there is a large proportion of farmers who can't make enough to survive well without subsidies - which is why the subsidies scheme was setup in the first place. Added to which farming communities are largely socially static over generations and you are quite literally born into a hierarchy from which there used to be little escape. Its a business where the only lasting asset is land, equipment as an asset has a ten year lifetime and where the movable (mobile?) assets - where the capital generally is invested, are high risk - I'm not sure there is even a dedicated accounting model that can handle it - and where you are largely dependent on factors outside your control. Therefore every little advantage can matter and that attitude pervades into daily life. The only reason the environment is an issue is because many of us enjoy our day in the countryside - as the saying goes, you cant eat the scenery. This is universal whether you are a dairy farmer in England, sheep farmer in Mongolia or a shrimp farmer in Thailand.

I had a young PhD student in front of me once at a conference who couldn't understand why traditional rice farmers in Japan were turning to other crops - it (the separation, or possibly over-abstraction, from reality) got even worse when I got into an argument about attitudes to sex in Asian farming communities. The middle classes sometimes just don't get how close life, death and destitution can be.
 
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boisker

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one catchment in Devon... SSSI/SAC.... custodians of the countryside???


if you can’t be bothered to read the report... how about this, years of SPS/BPS and pillar2 schemes, years of advisory visits without enforcement... so what state had we got to-

“......Despite over a decade of advisory visits in the period up to 2016, the catchment continued to decline and there were no significant improvement in farming practices. 95% of farms did not comply with storage regulations and 49% of farms were polluting the river Axe......”
 

glueman

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Wrong...customers always set the price. It's called supply and demand in the free market. If no one buys a Ford, they reset the price or go out of business. Agriculture has become a subsidised, managed market and that's why farmers now have less control. If you become used to living off a subsidy, where is the incentive to run an efficient modern business? Like anything - those farms that diversify and innovate have done better, those that don't struggle.
Please get some facts,livestock is sold at auction so the buyer sets the price, crops you have a shed full of say wheat so you phone a merchant who says today's price is whatever and you accept it or wait and hope. The farmer does not set the selling price. In the case of sugar beet as there is only one buyer an annual rate is set. Wool is the wool board and you get the average for the year. Do you want me to go on.
 

4wings

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I have to smile when "Beaver" is mentioned on BBC Breakfast, Charlie Stait looks away from Naga Muncheti who is grinning from ear to ear!
 

glueman

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I’m not farmer bashing... I’ve worked with farmers my whole career, currently manage over 2000ha of land....
rather than the lazy ass accusation of ‘farmer’ bashing, you should get an understanding of the systems being used and their systematic failure...
John’s correct the whole system is f@@ked....
look at the Otter catchment (beavers) or the adjoining Axe catchment.... people worried about the effect of beavers on the Otter... they should walk it in river, after or during rain and then assess the relative probs of farming practice or beavers.... whole farms claiming BPS at over £200 per hectare, which demands the least stringent or minimal environmental protection... and yet still you get ploughing down contours, maize to the rivers edge, continual low grade pollution from poor slurry management... and we the tax payer shell out ££££‘s for it.... a failure of Agri industry and government policy.
sitting in a lambing shed for an evening it isnt.... ruining the river otter it is.
You managed a farm so have not put your money where your mouth is. My ex wife owned her farm and as i worked part time (evening and weekends) in it and did a lot of the paperwork I have a good idea what I am on about and it was our money not some one elses
 

baca157

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I see the discussion went astray so I will attempt to bring it back to the main topic - Beavers.

I knew that Beavers were released in Tay catchment few years ago and seen some beaver damage on trees on the river Tummel before, but only this year I have actually seen them myself.

First time was two weeks ago on the river Tay below Grantully. I was standing waist deep in the river when I suddenly heard an all mighty splash few feet behind me. It was like someone had thrown a paving slap into the water. I almost **** myself and initially thought it was a large salmon. Same thing happened couple minutes later and then a head popped up from The water about 30 feet away from me, then another and another. It was a family of three and they didn‘t seem to be bothered by my presence at all.

Went again this Sunday and this time was fishing in the middle of Aberfeldy and lo and behold another beaver makes an appearance and swims past less than 15 feet away from me and proceeds to munch on vegetation on the opposite bank.

That’s two beaver sightings in two visits.

I have to say that I felt a bit uneasy about their presence as I heard stories about anglers being attacked by them in Central Europe. I certainly wouldn’t like to be bitten by those massive fangs!

I have no idea whether they are good or bad for the rivers and fish but read views ranging from really bad to extremely good. One thing that worries me is that they have no natural predator in Scotland, and since they are protected their numbers will explode which will definitely not be a good thing.

Cheers,
Sebastian
 

mrnotherone

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Please get some facts,livestock is sold at auction so the buyer sets the price, crops you have a shed full of say wheat so you phone a merchant who says today's price is whatever and you accept it or wait and hope. The farmer does not set the selling price. In the case of sugar beet as there is only one buyer an annual rate is set. Wool is the wool board and you get the average for the year. Do you want me to go on.
No please don't.....you clearly no nothing about pricing and markets. The customer at the auction decides the price based on demand, the merchant is the customer and sets the price, commodities pricing is set by supply and demand. You have contradicted your own previous comment. Customers set prices.
 

mrnotherone

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I have no idea whether they are good or bad for the rivers and fish but read views ranging from really bad to extremely good. One thing that worries me is that they have no natural predator in Scotland, and since they are protected their numbers will explode which will definitely not be a good thing.

Cheers,
Sebastian
I guess, over time anglers will adapt. I do agree without predation numbers could be an issue and that may take some future management. I also think that you are privileged to have had a close encounter.
 

Dingbat

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I don't buy the flood control argument - a bit too complicated to be solved by an overgrown rat. What are the other arguments for bringing them back?
 

boisker

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You managed a farm so have not put your money where your mouth is. My ex wife owned her farm and as i worked part time (evening and weekends) in it and did a lot of the paperwork I have a good idea what I am on about and it was our money not some one elses
i never said I managed a farm...

I obviously bow to your vast experience... a successful multinational business man, farmer and land agent.... you’re a man of many talents 😂 😂 😂

yes... there is absolutely no doubt your evening and weekend experience on a farm dwarfs mine....

.
 

boisker

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I don't buy the flood control argument - a bit too complicated to be solved by an overgrown rat. What are the other arguments for bringing them back?
there’s a whole load of biodiversity benefits....

I don’t think anyone is arguing that beavers are the complete solution to flood control, rather that they have definite benefits that with other actions... such as changes to upland management.... cumulatively improve flood control...
 

speytime

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So er...do beavers benefit river systems?
It stands to reason they would improve water quality, slow moving water dumps its silt more readily, the dams will act as filters as well, I can't see how they wouldn't benefit water clarity if there,s a problem with it.

Al
 

ohanzee

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Sounds positive, rodents breed fast though and there is no real wilderness left to develop into, and no real predators, so they would need controlled at some point, who does that when the inevitable time comes?
 

lhomme

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So er...do beavers benefit river systems?
They certainly manage their habitat better than humans. Who started building dams? Who taught who? It's only when men started building them for their own reasons rivers were altered, in many cases negatively. Beaver dams don't kill rivers. In that perspective they definitely are a bigger benefit to rivers than most humans. And that is only one aspect of their knowledge. "Long ago, when the animals used to talk" is a saying without meaning, animals still talk, the saying should be: "Long ago when men understood animals", because that capacity has practically vanished in mankind.
 
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williegunn

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there’s a whole load of biodiversity benefits....

I don’t think anyone is arguing that beavers are the complete solution to flood control, rather that they have definite benefits that with other actions... such as changes to upland management.... cumulatively improve flood control...
I always felt it was important to live downstream of the beaver dam, controlled flooding, filtered water etc etc but upstream must be a nightmare, a sodding great pond in your basement.
 

boisker

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Sounds positive, rodents breed fast though and there is no real wilderness left to develop into, and no real predators, so they would need controlled at some point, who does that when the inevitable time comes?
they are very territorial and live in family groups.... the size of the territory depends on food availability...
 
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