They were disturbed by a pickup truck that approached too quickly. I heard them 1/2 a mile away. Hollering.
They were rerunning the bean field, finding what the combine had left behind. When I arrived at the pond in the field adjacent to them, not surprisingly there was evidence they had been there, too. But not as much evidence as the beavers had left. OH MY GOODNESS.
Beavers had been working hard making tunnels through the dam, enough so, they are bypassing the pipe set in to regulate the pond level. They had built a home over the top of the stand pipe, so much so, there was soil enough on it to grow grass, and strong enough to STAND upon. It is funny to imagine how beavers have the ability to take down real trees using their teeth. It made me feel inadequate with my useless teeth incapable of such effort. But beavers have to develop their craft.
This pond had evidence it is a training camp for young beavers. The pups, if they may be called that had their own smaller version of a sort of demonstration dam, made from smaller parts of trees and branches, partially built, as well as a small wetland still in the development stages. At the other pond, which because of the beaver work there, I have gotten a lake. They have expanded the surface water there rising the water level a couple of feet. It is enough to make one shake one's head. If you are in need of developing a wetland on your property, this team is available to take the challenge.
The Department of Agriculture meeting was held in Oklahoma City in their headquarters near the Capitol on the 11th to decide on the Emergency Rules for Poultry Feeding Operations. That meeting began at 10 o'clock and at 4 minutes till, I got one of the last seats available in the room. Many of you must have submitted your comments making sure our voices were heard and we were heard! The board voted NOT to approve the rules but did vote to continue the suspension of approving any new applications until the end of May 2019. We cannot go to sleep. We must work to get our legislators to make decisions that will be protective of our land, our water and our public health. It will be hard, we have to put our minds together as one and keep pushing.
Our new EPA is also finding ways to protect BIG AG. Comments are due on the 14th on the exemption they are going to give Agriculture on reporting air emissions from animal waste at farms so they never have to report air emissions that are hazardous, like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, smells you know. This change would include emissions from animal waste that is mixed or commingled with bedding, compost, feed, soil, or any other material typically found with such waste. This means it would NEVER be reported, as if it had ever been measured and reported here at all. This would be a great benefit to our air emitters but also to the new poultry feeding operations.
On the same day the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Board voted to continue the suspension of approving new poultry feeding operations, the EPA announced a new definition for "Waters of the United States." Last summer when J-M Farms had the release that killed the fish we didn't know were in Tar Creek and the wood ducks disappeared, the black water went into a dry weather draw or what could be called a ditch, that then flowed into Tar Creek. Because of the Clean Water Act every agency that dealt with water and fish kills responded as soon as it was reported. The new Clean Water Act would not kick in since the proposed change would limit protections only to wetlands and streams that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger “traditional navigable” bodies of water. With the new changes citizens would also lose our right to sue the polluter to protect a waterway. Your comments will be needed soon on this.
We got a reprieve with one issue, only to face a new challenges, right?
Another challenge is BF Goodrich. Since the Department of Agriculture meeting ended so quickly, while in Oklahoma City, I went to the Department of Environmental Quality and requested the documents they had on BF Goodrich. Hundreds of documents have arrived by email. We are reading each, taking notes, and noting questions. Former workers are needed to explain how the plant operated.
There are so many questions and there are folks here that can help make more sense out of it. We want the site cleaned up, let's make sure the investigators know where else to look. We could use your help, call LEAD Agency at 918-542-9399 or come with information or help us read these files and make sense of them.
With all these challenges we have to ask, when are we going to raise our voices like the geese can and let it be known we are mad? Oklahoma City is going to have to hear us say, "We are not going to take it anymore."
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim