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Bad times for the Martinez beavers

smile again

Dear Gary:
The city of Martinez approved all resolutions Wednesday night, including the exemption of SEQA. Bids for the creek work open at 11 a.m. today.

The city responded to comments for citizen inclusion in the process with an offer to set up an oversight committee including Worth A Dam, but then discussed it with the attorney and city engineer, who advised that any oversight body could not make decisions, slow any decisions, or influence them in any way. I declined to participate under those conditions.

Supporters of the Martinez beavers were in tears at the meeting’s end, including myself.
Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., President & Founder, Worth A Dam

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Posted on Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | 6 Comments »

The Martinez beavers’ lodge may be in danger!

beaverbabe1

I received the following e-mail from Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., President & Founder of Worth A Dam, the organization formed to help the Martinez beavers.

Gary: There are two pieces on the tonight’s agenda for the Martinez city council. Part I discusses pursuit of a grant to implement the recommendations of the beaver subcommittee.

The more alarming Part II is a plan for emergency bank stabilization. This involves the construction of a wall of sheet pile directly through the beavers’ lodge. The city is claiming that damage from the beavers tunneling has created an emergency situation and that the work qualifies for an exemption from CEQA. They are are budgeting half a million dollars for the project.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | No Comments »

City of Martinez is NOT making it easy on the beavers

poor beavers

Dear Gary:
The Martinez Flood Plain project was intended to improve the capacity and health of the creek, and reassure downtown property owners that high waters could be managed.

Beaver supporters expressed concern about the plan to remove all vegetation from the east bank of the water between Marina Vista and Amtrak. We were initially offered a 2-foot strip of vegetation preserved, and eventually this was increased to six feet.
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Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008
Under: Animal Politics, Animal welfare, Beavers | No Comments »

Congratulations Martinez! It’s a beaver!

beaverbabe3
Heidi just e-mailed me these photos of a NEW baby beaver taken as it fed on top of
the beaver lodge in Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez!

The photos were taken by Moses Silva (thanks Moses!) Heidi says there are at least TWO new youngsters at the site and they are less than a foot long. Cute doesn’t touch it!
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Posted on Thursday, June 5th, 2008
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | 2 Comments »

Are Martinez beavers moving away on their own?

This quote from Lisa White’s story in today’s Contra Costa Times:

“Mary Tappel, an environmental scientist who has a long history of helping communities manage beaver populations, said it appears the Martinez beavers have practically depleted the creek banks of their favorite foods and seem to be moving downstream. ‘Beavers always move,’ she said, adding that city leaders should not believe they can keep the animals in the location in the creek where they have built their dam.”
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Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2008
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | No Comments »

Martinez beavers need you now!

Your presence is requested to assist the Alhambra Creek Beavers in Martinez

Please join other beaver lovers when the Beaver subcommittee report will be presented to the full Martinez City Council for review and possible vote.

WHY: Your beavers need you. The City Council may decide to make a decision about the beavers at this meeting. Trap and relocate the beavers to a place where they may not survive? Let them stay where they are? Other? The beavers need your support!
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Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2008
Under: Beavers | No Comments »

Martinez beavers are worth a dam

Hey beaver lovers, I just received the following update on the status of the beaver family that lives in the downtown Martinez (CA) area of Alhambra Creek.

Apparently the plight of the Martinez Beavers, made famous through YouTube videos, national news outlets and this very blog you are reading, still hangs in the balance.

Check this out:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
In response to overwhelming political and special interest pressures to relocate the beavers, and out of a sincere desire to create workable solutions that allow for coexistence, “Worth A Dam,” an association under the umbrella of Land4Urban Wildlife has been formed.

MARTINEZ, California — Worth A Dam (http://www.martinezbeavers.com) — Worth A Dam, hosted by the 501(c) Land4Urban Wildlife and headed up by Heidi Perryman, will tackle the ongoing challenges of beaver coexistence. The non-profit will act as the fulcrum between City Officials/Staff and community volunteers. The first order of business will be the redesign of the existing Martinez Beavers Web site to allow for individual contributions to projects such as willow tree plantings.

“Ultimately, though, our charter hinges on the outcome of the City Council vote to either keep or evict the beavers,” says Perryman. The City Council meeting on April 2 is the date being floated for that final vote.

As if to emphasize Ms. Perryman’s concern: in an e-mail response regarding publicity for the upcoming meeting, Martinez City Council Member, Lara DeLaney wrote, “ … we will need all the public support we can get to pressure those members of the Council who are leaning (strongly) toward removal/relocation … ” Those members referred to are Mayor Rob Schroder, Council Member Janet Kennedy and Council Member Mike Menesini.

While it appears that the vote will fall on the side of removal/relocation of the beavers, Ms. Perryman is still optimistic about the beavers’ fate.

“The Sierra Club strongly opposes any attempts to relocate or euthanize the beavers that have colonized the downtown area of Alhambra Creek, as well as any attempts to irreparably harm their lodge, dam, and surrounding habitat,” Perryman said. “Clearly a good many of you have already embraced the idea of stewardship concerning these animals. That can easily broaden into a larger ecological awareness that creates personal and civic pride in living in harmony with nature.”

Noting a recent mention by the San Francisco Examiner which characterized November’s meeting as a ‘“grand protest,” Ms. Perryman acknowledges the upcoming City Council meeting on April 2 needs an even greater number of attendees.

“Cheryl Reynolds just shot a picture of what appears to be a very pregnant female beaver. Even if we were going to relocate them, the experts agree that fall would be a much safer time.”

You can see the pregnant beaver photo at http://martinezbeavers.com/wordpress/

ABOUT WORTH A DAM
Mission statement: Maintaining the Martinez beavers through responsible stewardship, creative problem-solving, community education and involvement.

Anyone who wants the beavers to stay where they are in Alhambra Creek should obviously attend that very important April 2 Martinez City Council meeting. They need all the support they can get.

Please add your comments or ideas about the beavers below. /Gary

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2008
Under: Beavers | 7 Comments »

Martinez beavers

On Feb. 2, an e-mail from Bob Carlton of Walnut Creek in my column in the Contra Costa Times mentioned he had seen a “huge cage in the back of a city truck” one day when he went to observe the Martinez beavers and the beaver dam. I responded, “kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” The inference being that the cage might have been there for the beavers. (There’s been concern in some areas that the city might relocate the beavers.)

WRONG!

I received this e-mail from Joe Becker of Martinez on Thursday (Feb. 7):

Dear Gary:
It was just brought to my attention that a City Employee and a City truck were seen at the dam with a huge cage in the back of the truck, according to the blogs in last Sunday’s paper. Just for everybody’s information, that was my personal truck with my dog carrier for my Lab. I was just driving by when I noticed fellow crew members working on the dam when I stopped to see them.

Whoever made the comment about my truck and cage needs to grow up. I have attached a picture of my truck and cage, and it is very clear that the truck (it has no city markings /Gary) does not belong to the City. Maybe Mr. Carlton should get his eyes checked. I do not understand why we, the maintenance crews, are being harassed. We have done everything to help with “Beaver Lovers, Haters, merchants, etc.” We are just doing what we are told. People need to get their facts before they make their comments, and before they are in print.
Joe Becker, City of Martinez, Maintenance Lead Worker

Sorry, Joe! /Gary

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2008
Under: Beavers | 2 Comments »

Rescued Martinez beaver is sick — an update

Here’s an e-mail I received from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum on the condition of the immature male beaver that was rescued from the banks of Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez Thursday afternoon and taken to the museum’s Wildlife Hospital for care:

January 3, 2008, 5:30 p.m.
At about 2 p.m. this afternoon, Contra Costa Animal Services brought an immature, male beaver from downtown Martinez to Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

This beaver had been reported to be exhibiting unusual behaviors including swimming in circles and bumping into things in the water. The beaver attempted to get out of the creek and was reportedly helped out by a bystander. The animal control officer who picked up the beaver noted that it did not attempt to get away, appeared weak and lethargic and could not stand.

Dr. Nancy Anderson, the museum’s veterinarian examined the beaver this afternoon including taking radiographs and blood samples. There were no obvious physical wounds or trauma. The beaver may have a kidney problem and has a mild infection. The exam also showed a nervous system disease that is most likely centered on the right side of the beaver’s brain. The animal is also blind.

The beaver is receiving antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and fluids. Blood samples were sent to a diagnostic lab for additional tests. Those results should be back in the next two days.

The beaver’s prognosis is extremely guarded. Any wild animal that is this weak with a serious underlying disease has a slim chance of survival. However, the animal will continue to receive medical care and we hope that further diagnostic testing will help determine an effective treatment.
Sherrill Cook, Director, External Affairs, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Here’s another pertinent e-mail from Heidi Perryman of the Martinez beaver people:

Gary: Lots of talk about the injured beaver in Martinez, just wanted to check in and let you know that we have always had one kit with a kind of “swimming limp,” which has suggested a neurological condition.

It’s possible that the stress of the night exacerbated this, and I let  the Lindsay Museum know while he was being examined. There is no reason a healthy beaver would have been out poking around that cage, and its doubtful that this caused his injury. Skip Lisle (Vermont beaver expert installing a water flow device in the beaver dam/Gary) feels sick about this, as do I, who have been worried about that little one since the beginning. …

Honestly the mood yesterday was so hopeful, and the City did everything as Skip recommended. Skip is very well respected by every beaver expert I’ve spoken too. Updates will be available as I get them on the http://www.martinezbeavers.com Web page.
Thanks gary, Heidi

Dear readers:
I’ll keep you updated here as I hear anything new about the sick beaver. You can also monitor the Martinez beavers Web site above. They are posting a lot of up-to-date information on things that are going on with the beaver dam and the beavers. If you have any comments, or information to add about the beavers you can do so by clicking on “add a comment” below. Thanks. /gary

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2008
Under: Beavers, Lindsay Wildlife Museum | No Comments »

Animals vs. the New Year

SOME OF THE ANIMAL-RELATED THINGS HAPPENING IN 2008:

Senator Carole Migden and former Assemblyman Joe Nation have endorsed a letter asking U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein and U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey to put a moratorium on deer killing at Point Reyes National Seashore until 2010. The National Park Service has hired a Connecticut-based group, White Buffalo, Inc., to kill non-native deer in the park. There are an estimated 950 European fallow deer and 250 Axis deer in the park. The NPS claims the non-native deer are competing with the native black-tailed deer. More at: http://www.solaswebdesign.net/wordpress/?cat=5

The issue of feral cats vs. wild birds is rearing its ugly head in Benicia. In an attempt to balance the needs of feral (wild) cats with a diverse and sensitive wild bird population, city officials and local animal advocates are crafting new regulations for undomesticated felines. The cat people want to set up trap-spay/neuter-release programs and feed cat colonies throughout Benicia. Local bird lovers say this conflicts with the protection of local wildlife because the cats will eat the birds. This cat fight isn’t going to end anytime soon, if ever. The full story: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_7861999?nclick_check=1

Bay Area conservation groups are launching an interesting program in 2008 to reconnect residents with the natural resources and values of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) with the first-ever “GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year. The year-long event is aimed at connecting GGNRA visitors with the 33 endangered species found in the park, through individual exploration and guided expeditions, and to encourage participation in conservation action items that will prevent species from going extinct. You can find out more at http://www.ggnrabigyear.org

Speaking of the Martinez beavers — A special flow device is expected to be installed in the Martinez beaver dam this week, hopefully before the BIG rains that are expected this weekend. This device is supposed to control the water level behind the dam to keep Alhambra Creek from flooding. Let’s hope they get it installed before the rain … and let’s hope that it works. You can keep an eye on things at http://www.martinezbeavers.com

This is just a tiny sampling of all the animal-related activities that will be going on in 2008 around the country and the world. You can find out more at the Web sites of some of the more active animal-protection organizations:

The Humane Society of the United States: http://www.hsus.org

Defenders of Wildlife: http: //www.defenders.org

National Wildlife Federation: http://www.nwf.org/wildlife

Center for Biological Diversity: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org

Just one New Year resolution:
Figure out a way to take my couch pillow back from the cats so I can watch TV. /gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
Under: Animal Politics, Animal welfare, Beavers, Birds, Cats, deer, Endangered species | No Comments »