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It was really a very small beaver.
September 30, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

When a family of beavers moved in to a creek in the bayside town of Martinez, CA, in 2006, they gained both fans and detractors. Concerned about flood control in the struggling downtown area, the city council formed a Beaver Subcommittee to explore the options, including extermination, relocation, and engineering fixes.

The beavers have survived the political in-fighting, construction surrounding their creek, and a winter storm that destroyed their dam. (The mother, however, died last year of an infection. *sniff*) They've inspired a bluesy ballad, a nonprofit organization, and an annual beaver festival.

The beavers, however, did not survive on a new mural depicting the town's history.
posted by mudpuppie (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know what it says about me that my first reaction to the mural story is to think about what a great show Parks and Recreation is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:44 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's because I have had a stressful day but the phrase
Not one person said, 'Hey, I have an idea, let's put a beaver in there.' made me laugh out loud. I may have to say that the next time today someone gives me a completely outrageous request.
posted by pointystick at 9:52 AM on September 30, 2011


Wow! Life imitates the pilot of the sitcom Benson!
posted by TedW at 9:53 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe they can put the beavers into a little beaver zoo or something? I would go to a beaver zoo. Beavers are the bees knees. With their little buck teeth and that paddley tail and their wiry white whiskers.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:55 AM on September 30, 2011


Now I got BOC's "Don't Fear the Beaver" going through my head. Thanks!

What?
posted by Man with Lantern at 9:57 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


at once, immediate and crystalline, in my head was a vision of a pomo 80s college sex comedy in which there is a dude in the background, wearing sunglasses despite being indoors at night, with a gray tee shirt featuring black blocky letters reading: BEAVER SUBCOMMITTEE
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:58 AM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


"The beaver, officials said, ... does not belong on a prominent downtown mural alongside such Martinez greats as John Muir and Joe DiMaggio."

Why would Joe DiMaggio be incompatible with beaver?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:58 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought I was TV obsessed as a kid of even remembering Benson and the third comment here pulls out the exact episode from over 30 years ago. Nice work and thanks.
posted by DU at 9:59 AM on September 30, 2011


Sorry, FAMOUS MONSTER, but the tee shirt clearly says, BEAVER INSPECTOR.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:59 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am hoping that some creative and fearless Martinez residents get busy with a beaver stencil and add a beaver or two back in to that mural.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:02 AM on September 30, 2011


Maaaaaan, it'd be way funnier if it were Mickey Mantle instead of Joe DiMaggio.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be on the beaver subcommittee. The possibilities are wide open!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:07 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would Joe DiMaggio be incompatible with beaver?

Maybe Marylin shaved?
posted by Forktine at 10:12 AM on September 30, 2011


I've done battle with beavers. I live in the Beaver Valley, just above the Beaver River. There's the Beaver Motel down the road and Beaver Gas at the mouth of the Beaver. I've tried Beaver Bafflers and Beaver Deceivers, and none of them worked. The Beavers come and go as they please. Eventually they left of their own accord.

Now I sort of miss them.
posted by unSane at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2011


I've tried Beaver Bafflers and Beaver Deceivers...

No Beaver Cleavers?

Oh man, I never put that together before. Beaver Cleaver. Was that the winner of "what we can we get past the censor" contest?
posted by DU at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was that the winner of "what we can we get past the censor" contest?

No, that would be "Ward, don't you think you were a little rough on the Beaver last night?".
posted by TedW at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2011


Hey I worked on that creek! I'm a hydrologist. My firm was hired to design the restoration of this creek back when it was a concrete channel. I even built a computer model of that beaver dam for the city who was worried that it would make flooding worse. Not many people realize that this creek was restored for wildlife habitat and to serve as an amenity for the city. Guess it was too successful!
posted by chevyvan at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


They should be glad its beavers and not a Nutria infestation... then they'd really have a problem.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:28 AM on September 30, 2011


I thought the Beaver Subcommittee was renamed the Arcadia Subcommittee. Did I hear wrong?
posted by dhartung at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2011


Beavers are cool and a lot more common now than ever before. The furry ones with tails build dams which create ponds. In nature the dams don't go away unless the beavers leave. If the beavers and dams remain the pond eventually silts in and reroutes the water course making the dam useless and the pond a meadow. In a dense growth of Aspens this is very cool in Martinez not so much.
posted by shnarg at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2011


No, that would be "Ward, don't you think you were a little rough on the Beaver last night?".

I think if you think about it, mine is at least twice as dirty.
posted by DU at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2011


There's the Beaver Motel down the road and Beaver Gas at the mouth of the Beaver.

How am I supposed to find someone willing to go into that musty old claptrap?
posted by hal9k at 10:45 AM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Funny town, Martinez. There are only 39 police officers, and yet they account for 25% of all city spending, at about $10m a year. I'm not sure how much that is in beavers.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:24 AM on September 30, 2011


I suspect that if the beaver dams had been removed quickly, or the beavers themselves had been relocated as soon as they showed up there would be no public outcry. As soon as they established themselves the conflicts arose.

Here in Seattle there are beavers in Lake Washington. Some months ago I saw a newly built beaver lodge beside a floating platform. It didn't last long, as later the platform was moved and I no longer saw the lodge. There was no public outcry as far as I know, as the parks department acted quickly.
posted by Tube at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2011


They should enlist Dennis Messner.

Sorry, I can't read about beavers without immediately thinking of that article.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2011


There's a road just up from our house that was washed out a couple years back from a broken beaver dam. Our county is so broke they decided that just leaving it washed out was all they could do.

(You can see the pond if you look at this google map; the pin is just west to the washout; NW of that up by Cultus Bay Road you can see the big square pond. In the winter they have possibly tens of acre-feet of water behind their dam.)
posted by maxwelton at 11:34 AM on September 30, 2011


Was that the winner of "what we can we get past the censor" contest?

The champion remains a line spoken by Buck Henry on December 13th, 2007, in his portrayal of Dick Lemon on 30 Rock.

posted by Capt. Renault at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2011



Now the beavers are showing their remarkable abilities to create habitat for other species as well. Beaver watchers have spotted mink, otter, steelhead trout, and a variety of bird species near the intersection of Castro and Escobar Streets. [...] Not only do the beavers attract other species, but they also help create the conditions of a healthy watershed.

posted by linux at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2011


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