Beavers vs the Army Corps of Engineers

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that North America was once ruled by giant beavers.  It should also come as no surprise then, given the state of things today, that there are many people who wish for their return.  These peaceful, bear-sized rodents reigned for quite a long time, from 1.4 million years ago to 10,000 years ago to be exact, likely because they knew how to take care of themselves and refrained from the common vices.  They went extinct anyway, and left the land to the common beaver, whose vices are legion.  Do not under any circumstances call this beaver common to its face however.  It is second only to humans in its ability to manipulate the environment, but first in its ability to carve anyone who disagrees with its work habits into a totem pole.

            By contrast, engineers in the Army Corps of Engineers are neither giants nor rodents, nor have they ever been.  They have always been more or less the size of the more common humans, and although they can blend in quite easily, they are actually fairly uncommon.  At last count there were only 37,000 of them.  Do not underestimate them either, as they fear neither beavers nor permits.  Organized in a military hierarchy and trained in modern battlefield tactics, they are more than capable of attacking and subduing the environment, and have 740 trophy dams to show for it.  They refer to these engagements as conservation, or stewardship.  Beavers refer to Army engineers as rookies, or bulldozers.

            Beavers have been building dams for far longer than has the ACE, and have never received a penny from the Government.  They don’t let this stop them.  In fact, nothing can stop them short of a bulldozer, or a bad toothache.  Dynamite works well, though it is short-lived, for there are more beavers in this world than would seem possible.  It has been this way ever since the species was declared a keystone by those who should know about such things.  According to conflicting sources, this either means that beavers are a wedge-shaped rock at the crown of an arch, the State of Pennsylvania, or a species that creates and maintains habitats that many other species depend on.  For the record, Pennsylvania denies it is a beaver, although admits the issue can be confusing.

            Engineers from ACE are not one of those species that depends on beavers.  They depend on the Government.  But the Government also depends on them, for besides dams, they also built the Pentagon, NIKE missile sites, and military recruitment centers.  Of course, this could also be a brazen attempt to secure keystone species status for themselves.  If so, no other species are backing them, and their suspicions appear to be justified.  They likely know that ACE has very few water control projects that have environmental flow management strategies, and that should anything go wrong, as it surely did during Hurricane Katrina, ACE can not by law be held accountable.  They have thus already witnessed ACE’s end run to gaining protected species status.

            Beavers are renowned in the natural world for their multi-disciplinary talents, being unique combinations of planner, architect, hydro-engineer, contractor, and building inspector, all rolled into one.  Some people say this arrangement is a little too cozy for their liking, but beavers feel they have no need of independent review agencies, and point to natural laws when cornered.  They do not take criticism well.  It is for these reasons that people suffering from an infestation of beavers sometimes turn to ACE for help.

            ACE doesn’t care what either beavers or people think.  When they are given a mission, there is no force on earth that can stop them besides a change in administration, and on rare occasions, environmentalists.  ACE also feels it has no need of independent review agencies, and when they are cornered, point to environmentalists.  They thrive on criticism.  It is for these reasons that people stop caring about the environment and turn to fantasy novels for help.

            Interesting facts about beavers:

  • Beavers like gnawing on trees, practical jokes, and scaring the daylights out of other animals by loudly slapping their tails on the water.  Beavers dislike flowing water, coyotes, fur hats, laminate furniture, and dentists.
  • Beavers are said to be monogamous.  Given their booming population however, there is much more that needs to be said about this.
  • Beavers emit a chemical compound called castoreum from castor sacs located next to their anal glands.  Castoreum is an FDA-approved natural flavoring, said to taste like vanilla, with lovely floral overtones.  There is also much more that needs to be said about that.

            Interesting facts about the Army Corps of Engineers:

  • The author would like to apologize for being unable to find any interesting facts about the Army Corps of Engineers, but notes that no one has yet volunteered to check its engineers hind quarters for flavorings. 

Published by boblorentson

I am a retired environmental scientist and an active daydreamer. I love one-legged air dancers (I think that's what you call them), and I still hate lima beans.

21 thoughts on “Beavers vs the Army Corps of Engineers

  1. I never knew that beavers could be so interesting. Or is this the magic of the writer? ‘Laminate furniture’ – That made me laugh among the other details that you have so wittingly mentioned. I’m not sure that there will be any volunteers for searching those behinds. Also, beavers are fiercely territorial, so I’ll keep my distance. I wonder if they read blogs… A good one, Bob! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pennsylvania (where I lived several beaver lifespan’s ago) has a Beaver County and two towns with the name Beaver in them, but I never heard it referred to as a beaver (not that I give a damn — hahaha).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another interesting fact about ACE is that our property borders on ACE land where the beavers are constantly building dams and the ACE is constantly ripping them down, at taxpayer expense.
    Your article was spot on-beavers are a pet peeve of mine. Whatever good they may do, I think they cause more harm in the process. Probably true of ACE engineers, too. Keep up the good work. This is the best story yet!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s so true. So true. I heard that there used to be millions and millions of buffaloes, countless blue pigeons in North America one or two hundred years ago. And one needed not to go fishing in the Great Lakes in those days. One just needed to carry a bucket and randomly dip the bucket to get the fish. It feels like a mythical place.

    Yes, the beavers are genetically wired to build dams. Even if they are raised by humans, their dam building instincts are still there–and they build dams using the household items they can get their hands on.

    Liked by 1 person

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