It looks like curtains for the Martinez Beavers as we’ve known them (type “Beavers” in the search box to see more blog entries about these wonderful animals): the City is planning to remove their lodge in order to do creek bank stabilization (which means, in this case, putting more concrete and rocks into the east bank of the creek). It’s an all too typical story, stretching back a few decades in this case: first, property owners hem in a creek by building closer and closer to it on each side. Then, the creek floods, and the property owners and/or the city build retaining walls to contain the creek. During non-flood years, the walls give the property owners the sense of security they need to justify building even closer to the creek; eventually they’re right on top of it. Then, something happens — a high water year, or some beavers that build dams and a lodge, or just aging of the infrastructure — that threatens the retaining walls. The property owners sue the city, the city caves, and public money is spent to mitigate the problem. We’ve seen it in New Orleans and Galveston on a large scale, and we’re seeing it in Martinez on a small scale.
Personally, I can’t say one way or the other whether the beaver lodge is actually undermining the retaining wall next to the creek. I can say that I think it’s ridiculous that people were allowed to build a building four feet from the creek bank, as they did. A better solution than trying to maintain a permanent wall there would be to add some meander to the creek to take it away from that wall. Apparently that isn’t even being considered, I’m not sure why.
There’s no plan to kill the beavers, just to wreck their home so they have to move elsewhere. I hope they move somewhere else where they are more welcome; although they have had many great, great fans and helpers in Martinez, the city as a whole has treated them badly right from the start. It’s sad.