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Martinez Beavers: What, Exactly, Is The Problem?

Sure, you might not care about the creek-dwelling critters, but why the active cry for their demise?

I was at Luigi's Deli on Saturday, ordering a sandwich. In front of me in line was a gentleman having a conversation with the counter clerk. The subject was beavers.

"I haven't seen them in a while," the clerk said. 

"I think they're gone," said the guy. 

"Oh, no. They are still there," I butted in. "There are four of them - a father and three kits." 

"Oh. I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part," said the guy. 

So tell me. What is that about? Why would this person wish the beavers away? What have they done to him that is so egregious that he even pays attention to them at all? 

This is Martinez, where even aquatic furry critters become lightning rods for politics. But I don't understand, now that the fears about the beavers bringing floods and doom to downtown have passed, why they are still the target of so much animosity in some. What have they done other than ? Created an active creek eco-system that now includes muskrats, turtles, and other denizens? Brought us national publicity

The city spent some money on preserving the beavers, sure. But it spent a lot more protecting the businesses downtown from the real threats of flooding, which have to do with tides and creek flows, not with beaver dams. The latter, rather than create floods, with last year's first big storms. 

So why this petulance towards beavers? I honestly don't understand it. Not caring about them is one thing - I'm not all that much of a cheerleader, either. But wishing they would go away? Why? That I do not understand. 

But, this being Martinez, I'm quite certain there will be at least a few folks who will tell me in the comment stream. So have it, beaver-haters. Enlighten me.

JT May 30, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Is Martini a troll? What twaddle. I would have never given Martinez a passing thought until I heard about the beavers. Now I come for the beaver festival and spend money in your town. I'm not the only one. Be grateful for those little buggers, folks.
Linda Meza May 31, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Here's hoping Jari Osborne, the documentarian, did more than play to the videographer's ego and emotions and came back with substantially more than the initial 1k offer for hours, not clips, of video. Pretty horrid, really, playing on someone's emotions in order to deny them fair compensation. But hey, #justsay'n
Kathi McLaughlin June 01, 2012 at 05:32 AM
The beaver family symbolizes all that is right and wonderful about Martinez, and much of what is so wrong. Right is how the community came together (Thank you Heidi and Jon!) to save the beavers and disprove the "expert" opinions about how they would create flooding and erode (pun intended) the good work done to control flooding. What's wrong is the rush to judgement and the assumption that the only way to deal with nature was to "depredate" it (a fancy word to hide the fact that killing was the only option considered)! Also wrong was putting in a sheet pile wall, at a cost of over $300,000, in front of another sheet pile wall that was uncovered during the installation of the newest one--and all based on faulty consultant reports that were changed to support a pre-conceived belief that the beavers were somehow destroying a concrete wall that was already well beyond its effective life! Hard to believe that the ill will and falsehoods about the beavers are still alive and well, despite the obvious benefit they bring to our beloved city. Everywhere I go I hear about the beavers--their fame has traveled far and wide. And as a previous comment noted, the beavers are bringing people from around the state and around the country to Martinez. Isn't it nice to be famous for something positive, like the beaver family and the part they have played in restoring and strengthening our riparian habitat, rather than infamous for having destroyed such majestic creatures?
Sara Orrick November 29, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I would love to see you film of otters!
Sara Orrick November 29, 2012 at 07:00 PM
It is so true that the beavers' fame brings visitors to our town in a positive way. I am a public works contractor and Martinez resident. I have been asked about the beavers on various occasions by department managers, etc. in nearby cities who planned to take their families to see the Martinez beavers as well as use Martinez as a model to address similar issues in their cities.

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