Martinez beaver dies overnight

January 4, 2008 2:02:19 PM PST
A beaver dam in Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez isn't causing flooding-related problems and won't have to be removed, Martinez City Councilman Mark Ross said today.

Ross, in a phone interview conducted while he was at the site, said the beaver dam was lowered a few days ago in anticipation of this week's major rain storm and is only half its previous size.

He said that a "beaver deceiver" device that was installed several days ago to allow water to flow through the dam without beavers noticing has floated to the side of the creek and will have to be reinstalled after the rains stop and the water level goes down.

The device is designed to prevent the beavers from thinking they need to patch their dam.

In a sad footnote, Ross, who sits on Martinez's beaver subcommittee, said that a baby beaver, known as a kit, got sick and died overnight.

Ross said it appears that the kit suffered from neurological problems and a necropsy will be conducted.

The kit's death leaves two adults and two kits at the dam, he said.

Alhambra Creek, which is the primary drainage channel for a 17-mile watershed upstream from the dam, used to overflow and flood downtown Martinez every other year on average until the city completed its $9.5 million flood control project.

In November, the City Council discussed killing the beavers after a hydraulics study determined that the dam was negating most of the flood control efforts.

But public outcry prompted city officials to first work to get a permit to relocate the beavers and then to come up with ways to keep them in the creek.