August 13, 2023

Blog Stew with Mountain Lion (Tastes like Pork, They Say)

Just a lion walking past a trail camera two years ago.

•  The culinary side of mountain lions (cougars) is not covered in this Colorado Parks and Wildlife video series, but you get one legally, be my guest. (Or should I be yours?)

• What is chronic wasting disease and why is it a problem for deer, elk, and msein the Rockies? Two more videos here from CPW.

 • Yes, beavers are great! Beavers in every drainage!    

SILVERTON, Colo. — Colorado’s San Juan Mountains are home to about 15,000 abandoned mines, according to Rory Cowie, the president and owner of Alpine Water Resources.

Several hundred of these abandoned mines are in need of a cleanup, which is something multiple federal agencies are working on. Cowie refers to these mines as “legacy mines”— mines that are no longer in use.

“They either have draining water that's of poor quality, or they may have a bunch of mine waste or tailings ... near them,” Cowie said. “And so, for the past 25 or 30 years, there's been efforts to clean up these mines, but there are a lot of them and it takes a lot of funding.”

But Cowie has a low-cost, natural solution in mind: the American beaver.

But be careful. As Ben Goldfarb writes Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, mountain lions look at newly dropped-off beavers the way that you might look at a cheeseburger. There is a video embedded.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

Beavers and mines:

In the summer of 1980 I was working at the Climax mine atop Fremont Pass. I had just moved from Summit County to Lake County, living in a small settlement of log cabins near the foot of the pass on the Leadville side. Day shift had ended, the usual shift change rush hour was heading down the pass. They were treated to the view of a 'tidal wave' emerging from the mouth of a ravine to the south of the highway, hitting a new cabin just built by the owner of the settlement. The rush of water blew the cabin into the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The two miners living in the cabin lost everything, luckily they weren't home at the time.

The mine shipped molybdenum via rail, from the top of the pass down to Leadville and points south. The afternoon train rounded a corner only to see that the track was washed out just ahead. Turned out some enterprising beavers had dammed the culvert supporting the track as it crossed the top of the ravine, producing one heckuva beaver pond. Water pressure on the culvert blew it out and down the ravine, producing the tidal wave. The train couldn't stop in time, the locomotive and several cars made a right turn and headed down the ravine. I hiked up the ravine a couple of days later to see the destruction. A rail crew was rebuilding the line, I don't know if they ever did get the locomotive and rail cars pulled out--they were in a huge jumble a ways down the ravine, very steep where they stopped. No word on the fate of the beavers, I assume they rode the rocket all the way down to the Arkansas River. That was my introduction to living in Lake County.