Beavers, salmon returning to Los Gatos Creek

Nature lovers in the South Bay are excited an on-going clean-up has brought a beaver back to the area and they've got video to prove it.
January 27, 2014 7:59:52 PM PST
Nature lovers in the South Bay are excited that an on-going clean-up of Los Gatos Creek in San Jose and Campbell has brought a beaver back to the area and they've got video to prove it. Hard work by volunteers is paying off after months of removing debris to make the habitat more inviting to native species -- and it's not just beavers making a comeback.

Steve Holmes was determined to make a difference. He's the founder of "Friends of Los Gatos Creek." The creek was filled with debris like discarded drink cups and plastic containers, all of which makes for a hostile environment for fish and wildlife. Now, something has changed.

"You're seeing that the beaver have come through here and they're eating the bark off the trees because they eat plant matter. So the trees, the bark, that's their source, food source," he told ABC7 News.

Night-vision video shot just last week shows a beaver foraging for food and dragging tree branches to help build a dam. The exact location it was shot is being kept under wraps so humans don't disturb the animals.

"I think that we're going to find that there's going to be more signs that nature wants to return if we give them a place where they can settle, and the creek has been repaired," Holmes said.

By "repaired" Holmes means clean-up. Friends of Los Gatos Creek has mobilized about 500 volunteers to pull debris from the creek and the volume may surprise you. "We pulled four tons of trash out at Park Avenue," Holmes recalled. There was about 8 tons removed from the site where the beavers have been spotted.

It appears the clean-up, started nine months ago, has led to Chinook salmon sightings going upstream and that has Holmes watching out for discarded batteries that can put heavy metals into the water. The discovery of beaver and salmon is a big reward for volunteers who had hoped their efforts would pay off.

"This has really touched, I think, a chord with the community. And we have found that people want to give of their time for this," Holmes said.


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