Wednesday, 4 November 2009

No Beaver News is rarely Good News

At the last ‘Stakeholder’ meeting on 21 August, I requested that more information was made available via the Beaver Project web site or blog. On the website there are Beaver Project Reports and minutes of the stakeholder meetings but you have to dig deep to find them. The latest ‘Breaking News’ headlined on the first page is dated 6 August. On the blog, recent entries have been about project members rather than the beavers. The information from the project is managed so that we only hear the 'good news'.

You would think that the discovery in September of one or two of the missing Creag Mhor beavers might have made it into ‘Breaking News’. It was front page news in the Argyllshire Advertiser but not worthy of a mention on the front page of the Beaver Project website. Over six weeks later, these ‘easily caught’ beavers remain at large, causing damage on private land. Failing to catch missing beavers is definitely not good news.

The only way to get reliable information is to get your wellies or waders on and check out the beaver release sites.

The Coille Bharr beavers have moved to the Dubh Loch. Even frequent walkers around Coille Bharr might not have noticed the shallow marshy loch on the other side of the path. You can’t miss it now as it extends into the woodland and across the path to where the beavers have dammed the outlet into Loch Coille Bharr. The flooding continues to expand with about 120 metres of path now impassable on foot and many trees now under water and likely to be killed by the flooding. A pipe inserted into the dam to lower water levels has been ineffective and the beavers continue to raise the level of the dam. This area is designated a Special Area of Conservation and is protected from human activitiy, but not, it would appear, from the effects of beaver activity.

Up at Loch Linne, the dam on the outflow burn has been removed. The water levels had flooded the fishing jetty but apart from that, it is hard to see why the flooding should be a cause for concern here where there are no paths to be flooded and not at Coille Bharr. It would be relatively easy to raise the level of the pier compared with the logistics of opening up the Coille Bharr walk. Loch Linne is also in the Special Area of Conservation but for some reason it is being treated as a little bit more special than Coille Bharr.

When you look at what two families of beavers have achieved in six months, it is clear that an expansion of beaver populations in Scotland will be problematic and costly. We are told that beavers will provide a 'free' land management service which is a little at odds with the current budget of £1.7 million.


  1. Nothing on the 'official' Beaver blog since the 11th of September ~ So much for keeping us informed.