Heavy rains damage beaver dam

January 27, 2008 12:58:59 PM PST
The controversial beaver dam is once again the talk of Martinez. That's because the dam is nowhere to be found.

The city insists rains washed it away, but some in town aren't convinced.

The beavers are still in Martinez, everyone hopes. But the dam is gone. The beavers were spotted on Saturday night, as many people visited the creek.

A lot of people want them to stay, but now the question is: What exactly happened to the dam?

Two months ago, the Alhambra Creek beaver dam was nearly seven feet high. Friday's storm washed much of it away.

But some Martinez residents say they saw city crews with a pitchfork tearing down half the dam that still stood this morning.

"They weren't supposed to touch this, move this, unless there was a threat of a flood. There was no threat of a flood," said Martinez resident Michael Alford.

Another Martinez resident witnessed a city crew at work this morning.

"My understanding in talking to the crews working this morning was that it was all Mother Nature. There's been no directive to take the dam down," said Mike Menesini from Martinez City Council.

In a written statement, Martinez city councilman Mark Ross told ABC7 news: "That most, if not all of it was Mother Nature. The crews took out a truckload of debris because we were afraid in coming rains that it would catch more."

"I would liked to have seen it left alone so we could see if the storms really took the dam down and I think too much human involvement makes it so we can't see what nature really could do," said Julian Frazer from the Martinez Beaver Subcommittee.

The city is currently studying the effect of the beavers on potential flooding along Alhambra Creek.

"If we have to relocate them, and I emphasize relocate them, then we might have to do that. I know there's an Indian tribe up north that has offered graciously to provide a home," said Menesini.

But members of the beaver subcommittee says the tribe told him they don't want to get involved in a political battle.

Many beaver watchers want them to stay.

"In three months these beavers have brought more people to this city than the Chamber of Commerce and downtown committee have done in 10 years," said Alford.

"They'll build the dam back; we've seen it twice already. I think they'll stay, we'll find out," said Frazer.

An intact beaver family of four is still swimming around the creek in Martinez. What happens next depends on the city, depends on the beavers and ultimately depends on the weather.