By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, June 11th, 2007 at 10:36 am in Contra Costa politics.
The happy beaver couple that built a dam in downtown Martinez and turned Alhambra Creek into a pond has apparently started a family.
“Yes, there’s a baby beaver,” said Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder.
All together now, “Ahhhhhhh! How cute!”
The beaver pond has become a tourist attraction in downtown Martinez, drawing school children and residents to the beavers’ expanding real estate. There’s even footage of the beavers on You Tube.
The pond has grown so large that city officials are talking about dumping a batch of mosquito-eating fish in an effort to stem the pesky insects’ voracious reproduction cycle.
The mosquitoes aren’t the only critters with big appetites. Schroder recently saw one of the adult beavers chow down on trees growing on the creek bank near Starbucks.
“The beaver didn’t seem to care at all about the people gawking at it from the sidewalk,” Schroder said.
The beavers are on borrowed time.
If the pond threatens to overflow and send water into the streets, the city will have no choice but to destroy the beavers’ dam.
If the beavers burrow into the riverbank and erode the ground underneath near businesses or create sinkholes, they’ll be moved out toot sweet.
If the dam blocks spawning fish from heading up Alhambra Creek, the beavers could find themselves evicted.
If the beavers start eating the city’s expensive creekside landscaping, well, that won’t do.
State and federal fish and wildlife experts typically recommend that cities relocate beavers for all these reasons.
But before the beavers are whisked away to a new creek, Martinez should seize the marketing potential like any good capitalist American city. That means T-shirts, bumper stickers and specialty drinks and sandwiches in the local restaurants named after the famous critters.
What, you say? They have no names?
Well, that’s the first order of business: Hold a contest to name the beavers.
But the city had better move quick before Lt. Gov. John Garamendi gets wind of it.
Remember how swiftly Garamendi held a press conference to name the whales, Delta and Dawn? The last thing Martinez needs is to get slapped with a sappy country and western song title.